Are Spider Plants Toxic to Cats?

When you care for pets and houseplants, at times it can become tough since caring for both can be conflicting as there are plants that are toxic to pets.

This is especially the case if your pet is a cat, and you have spider plants as houseplants that are deemed to be toxic to cats. It’s a tricky situation to handle as cats like spider plants and is very attracted to them.

It is not unusual for cats to chew the leaves of plants, use the plant pots as litter boxes, or sleep in the potting soil of houseplants. But when a cat sees a spider plant, they tend to immediately attack the plant and start to nibble its leaves. It is very important to make sure this is safe for your cat and that there will be no harm caused.  

This article contains all the necessary information about whether cats should nibble on spider plants and how harmful spider plants could be to cats.

Why are Cats Attracted to Spider Plants?

cat eating spider plant

Why are cats attracted to spider plants in the first place? The answer is not quite clear. Cats eat grass to calm their tummies and the long leaves of spider plants may seem like grass to the cats. This may be one reason for the connection between cats and spider plants.

Another reason may be that spider plants generate an opium-like chemical, which when cats eat, gives them a high comparable to catnip. However, the exact reason why cats are drawn to spider plants is not known.

Spider plants emit a faint smell that humans cannot detect but animals can. But this is not the reason why cats are attracted to them. The simple spidery look of the plant may be the reason for this affinity between cats and spider plants.

Another possible theory is that spider plants release chemicals that produce effects like that of catnip, such as triggering curiosity and compulsive behavior in the cat.

Are Spider Plants Poisonous and Harmful to Cats?

spider plant

Regardless of all the assumptions and warnings about spider plants being toxic to cats, research shows that spider plants are not poisonous to cats and other animals. However, it is always good to be cautious.

Some claim that consuming spider plant leaves causes a minor psychedelic effect on cats, but it is a minor risk, and the plant is non-toxic for cats.

It is also said that cats should be kept away from spider plants is that they contain a chemical substance that works like opium. Although it is not toxic, it can cause the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Diarrhea

It is not certain that all cats will experience these effects since they are different from one another. It might mean that spider plants are not possibly going to prove fatal for your feline, but there are high chances that they can cause some discomfort.

How to Keep Cats Away from Spider Plants?

sneaky cat

Even though spider plants are not toxic to cats, you should still try to keep your cat away from them. Here are some ways you could prevent your cat from eating the leaves of spider plants:

1.     Keep the spider plant out of your cat’s reach

The best possible way to prevent the cat from eating spider plants is to keep them out of reach of your cat. It is good to hang them high in baskets that your cat is not able to reach. You should avoid putting them close to windowsills and furniture as cats like to climb these.

2.     Put the spider plants in a different room

A good way to keep cats away from the spider plants is to put the plants in a different place so that your cat can’t get to it. You could put them in your bathroom as well.

3.     Use a repellent spray

A good way to keep cats away is to spray the leaves of your spider plant with a bitter-tasting repellent. Cats are picky when it comes to what they eat and they avoid plants with poor taste, so they won’t go near the spider plant with bitter-tasting leaves.

4.     Prune the plants regularly

Regularly trimming the spider plant makes it less bushy and is a good way to keep it out of the reach of your cat.

5.     Grow plants that are good for cats

A good option is to replace the spider plants with other plants that are good for your cat to eat. You can have many varieties of catnip plants and cat grass that are easy to grow as houseplants as well as a good way to keep your precious spider plants safe from the cats.

6.     Keep your cat busy

When cats get bored, they start to destroy the prized houseplants. Give them so much to do that they don’t have time to graze on the houseplants.  You could play with the cat or give it some other activity to keep it busy and entertained.
Which Common Houseplants Are Toxic to Cats?

As spider plants are not toxic to cats, let’s have a look and see which plants are actually toxic.

  1. Lilies: Number one on the list is lilies. Many varieties of lilies, such as Tiger, Japanese Show, Asian, Stargazer, and Casa Blanca are known to cause kidney failure in kitties.
  2. Tulips: There are certain toxins in tulips that have the tendency to cause cardiac abnormalities, loss of appetite, and gastrointestinal problems.
  3. Rhododendrons and Azaleas: the leaves of these plants can cause diarrhea, irritation, drop in blood pressure, coma, vomiting, and can even prove fatal.
  4. Aloe Vera: This plant can cause the following issues in cats: anorexia, trembling, depression, vomiting, and gastrointestinal issues.
  5. Oleanders: A toxin present in these plants is known to cause hypothermia, abnormal heart function, and gastrointestinal infections, and can even prove to be fatal.
  6. Cyclamen: The toxins in these plants can cause intense vomiting and significant gastrointestinal issues.

If you see the following symptoms in your cat, then a possible reason can be plant toxicity:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Drooling
  • Slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive urinating and drinking
  • Vomiting

In case your cat nibbled a toxic plant, then rush to the nearest vet before things go out of control.

What to Do if Your Cat Nibbles a Toxic Plant

taking cat to vet

You should act quickly if you suspect that your cat has eaten a toxic plant. Try to carefully remove the plant from the mouth, skin, or hair of the cat. Then note down the symptoms of toxicity. If you see any severe symptoms, then rush to the nearest vet in no time. Get the right testing and possible treatment done to save the cat.

Wrapping Up

Cats are usually very curious animals. They would have their noses in everything around the house. They are curious and like to explore their territory. They are attracted to spider plants, and although there are a lot of concerns about toxic plants, we know that spider plants are non-toxic to cats, however, it is good to be cautious as spider plants may cause stomach disorders and vomiting if the cat consumes them.

It is a good idea to keep your spider plant out of your cat’s reach in any case whether they are toxic or not. Having other plants like cat grass can be a good alternative for your cat to play with as it won’t harm your cat in any way.