Are Succulents Poisonous to Cats | Succulents Safe for Cats

Ralph Astley is a retired gardener from Philadelphia who specializes in outdoor plants and trees. With years of hands-on experience, Ralph not only cares for a diverse range of outdoor flora but also shares his extensive knowledge through well-written articles and social media posts. A trusted authority in arboriculture, he's committed to helping the community grow healthier, more robust gardens.
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Are Succulents Poisonous to Cats? Should you grow them indoors? Find out the answers and get your doubts cleared!

Are Succulents Poisonous to Cats

Are you a fan of jade plants, sempervivum, or echiveria? If yes, then do you have any idea whether having these plants around a kitten might be safe or not? So, Are Succulents Poisonous to Cats? Don’t worry if you don’t know! We’ll tell you!

Check out Succulent Care Tips here

Why Some Succulents Are Poisonous for Cats

Why Some Succulents Are Poisonous for Cats

When it comes to creating an indoor garden, or even the outdoor one, succulents are often a popular choice. Their low-maintenance nature makes them perfect for people who lack a green thumb. However, if you have a feline companion, you might want to exercise caution.

So, are succulents toxic to cats? Some succulents are harmful to cats and can lead to various health issues. In this article, we delve into the reasons behind the toxicity of certain succulents to cats and explore the compounds that make these plants hazardous.

Succulents may contain specific toxins that are harmful to cats. These can range from naturally occurring chemicals to synthetic compounds that the plant produces to deter herbivores or inhibit the growth of surrounding vegetation.

The Toxins in Succulents

1. Saponins

One of the most common toxins found in certain succulents is saponins. These chemical compounds can disrupt cellular activity and lead to gastrointestinal distress in cats.

2. Alkaloids

Another toxin present in some succulents is alkaloids. These nitrogen-based compounds can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and in severe cases, nervous system disorders.

3. Oxalates

Plants like the Euphorbia species contain oxalates, which can cause oral irritation, difficulty in swallowing, and excessive drooling in cats.

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Signs of Poisoning in Cats

If your cat has ingested a toxic succulent, it may exhibit various symptoms, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing

Immediate veterinary attention is essential if you notice any of these signs.

Succulents Toxic to Cats

Wondering what succulents are toxic to cats? Here are the ones. 

1. Aloe Vera

aloe vera Are Succulents Poisonous to Cats 2

It’s a very common succulent and used widely for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. While it’s completely harmless, beneficial, and edible for humans, it’s toxic to cats. It’s because of the compounds Saponins, and Anthraquinones found in aloe vera.

When ingested, these compounds can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. In true aloe, anthracene, anthraquinones, and glycosides are present, which can cause the urine color to turn red and vomiting.

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2. Euphorbias

best Succulents Toxic to Cats

The succulents from this family are commonly known as poisonous succulents. The white sap in the leaf seeps out once it’s picked; direct contact can irritate the skin. Rashes, itching, and redness on the skin are some of the common symptoms.

For a cat eating succulents, euphorbia causes irritation in the mouth and stomach, which causes them to vomit.

Note: Not only the cats, the sap of Euphorbia species is also toxic to humans. If entered into the eyes, it can cause serious medical consequences. Always be extra careful when working with plants like pencil cactus and crown of thorns. For more information, read this scientific article.

3. Kalanchoe

Succulents Poisonous to Cats 5

Kalanchoe is a florist’s favorite plant, and without a doubt, it’s one of the best flowering succulents. While it’s non-toxic to humans, it’s toxic to cats, dogs, and livestock.

Due to the taste, your pet will not ingest it to the lethal level, but it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or abnormal beating of the heart. If you don’t trust your cat, make sure to place it out of their reach. Don’t forget to read this informative article here.

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4. Chinese Jade

As per ASPCA, this plant is toxic to both cats and dogs. Its ingestion causes nausea, vomiting, retching, and stomach upset.

If your cat is showing any abnormal behavior, such as drunkenness or tremors, eating this succulent might be the reason.

5. Jade Plant

Succulents Toxic to Cats near Window

The famous low-maintenance jade plant can be toxic to cats. Vomiting, depression, and incoordination are some of the signs your cat might show if it has ingested it.

Although the ill effects may subside with time, still the affected cat might fall off while climbing or do something stupid. So keep a close watch on them in the first 24 hours.

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6. Senecio

Succulents that are Poisonous to Cats

Senecio genus has beautiful and famous succulent plants like String of pearls, Blue chalk sticks, and String of bananas.

All these succulents can be mild to moderately toxic and ingesting them can lead to temporary medical consequences such as depression, anorexia, vomiting, and diarrhea.

A more severe problem is liver damage, which occurs if eaten in a large amount. Usually, these plants are grown in hanging baskets; this way, you can keep them out of reach from your pets.

The Purr-fectly Cat Safe Succulents

Ah, the eternal struggle—trying to keep your garden or home looking Instagram-worthy while also ensuring Mr. Whiskers doesn’t end up at the vet because he decided to snack on your favorite succulent. The good news?

Not all succulents are out to get your cat. In fact, some are as harmless as that ball of yarn they love to chase around. Don’t know what succulents are safe for cats? Let’s delve into the succulents safe for cats that get two paws up from your feline friend!

1. Christmas Cactus

The Purr-fectly Cat Safe Succulents

Santa isn’t the only one coming to town; your Christmas Cactus is a welcome guest, too. These plants are non-toxic to cats and add a pop of color during the holiday season.

2. Echeveria

best The Purr-fectly Cat Safe Succulents

Beauty and safety rolled into one. It’s the George Clooney of succulents, charming yet non-toxic to your fur baby.

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3. Burro’s Tail

hanging Purr-fectly Cat Safe Succulents

If you can get past the fact that its name sounds like an item from a Tex-Mex menu, Burro’s Tail is a safe bet for both indoor and outdoor settings.

4. Zebra Plant

Succulents Poisonous to Cats 32

If your cat decides to take a nibble, don’t worry. These are safe and stylish—kind of like feline-friendly haute couture.

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5. Hens and Chicks

Purr-fectly Cat Safe Succulents

These plants are so harmless they could join a nunnery. Plus, their reproductive style is a lot like a soap opera—dramatic and constantly unfolding. Totally safe for cats!

6. Ghost Plant

amazing The Purr-fectly Cat Safe Succulents

Boo! Just kidding, nothing spooky about this succulent. If cats had thumbs, they’d give this one two thumbs up.

Why Are These Succulents Safe?

Why Are These Succulents Safe

While we’re not planning to send any of these succulents to medical school, they are notably lacking in toxic saponins and compounds like anthraquinones that give other succulents their nasty bite. In simple terms, these plants just didn’t make the cut for the “Poison Ivy League” of dangerous greens.

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Final Thoughts

To achieve harmony in a home or garden filled with both succulents and cats, all you need to do is choose wisely. Stick to this list of feline-friendly flora, and your cat will be purring in botanical bliss while you enjoy a lush, worry-free environment. What’s not to love? Happy planting!

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