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Are Spider Plants Toxic to Cats? What You Need to Know

Spider plants are a common indoor houseplant. These fern-like plants are easy to take care of and look lovely in a variety of home styles.

If you have animals, however, you need to look beyond whether or not the plant looks nice and check whether or not the plant is safe for your cats – because you know they’ll snack on it at least once.

Luckily, spider plants are safe for cats and non-toxic. They are not particularly harmful in any way, which makes them a suitable option for households with cats.cat face divider 2

Why Does My Cat Eat Spider Plants?

Many theories exist over why so many cats are attracted to spider plants. Spider plants are very dangly, so your cat may be just attracted to the playfulness of the plant. Your cat attempts to play with the plant and ends up eating some of it as it does so.

However, that isn’t always the case. After all, some cats are not playing with the spider plant – they’re just eating it. It may be because spider plants are mildly hallucinogenic, which is precisely why some cats like it. That’s right – your cat likes it because they have a chemical fascination. Maybe they accidentally ate a bit at some point, liked how it made them feel, and now they keep coming back for more.

While it is hallucinogenic, it isn’t toxic. It’s catnip in this manner. It makes cats feel good and is not particularly dangerous for them to eat.

Kitten sleeping spider plant_Artycustard_shutterstock
Credit: Artycustard, Shutterstock

Is Spider Plant Toxic?

Despite the hallucinogenic features, this plant is harmless. Cats can pretty much eat however much they want without you needing to worry about the possible side effects. There may be some toxicity level, but it is a crazy-high amount that no cat will willingly eat. There could be a problem if your cat only eats spider plants, but as long as they’re also eating other things, they will be fine.

This is less of an issue of toxins, though, and more that cats shouldn’t be living off of this plant alone. It doesn’t provide for their nutritional needs, and therefore cats don’t need to consume only spider plants. It may make them feel good, but it isn’t nutritionally complete. Luckily, we have no evidence of any cat that ever chose to eat spider plant instead of its cat food, so this is likely a problem you don’t have to worry about.3 cat face divider

The Risks of Spider Plants

Spider plants do contain a compound that is similar to opium. As we previously stated, this is probably precisely why cats like it. However, when consumed in considerable amounts, the plant may cause digestive problems, like vomiting and diarrhea. These are rarely serious and usually only results from eating a lot of spider plants.

You would think this potential risk would make the cat think twice about eating it, but that isn’t usually how it works. The feel-good effects usually far outweigh the risks in most cats’ minds – even if the plant makes them sick every time they eat it. Cats aren’t the most logical animals, after all. Many can’t control themselves.3 cat divider

How Do I Make My Cat Stop Eating My Spider Plant?

There are many reasons why you may need to keep your cat away from your spider plant. You may need to step in and prevent the cat from eating the plant because it makes them sick. Cats will rarely choose not to eat it when given a choice, even if it doesn’t make them feel too good. For this reason, we may need to make a better decision for them.

Furthermore, your cat constantly munching on the plant is not very good for the plant itself. While your cat may not get harmed, your plant will. Usually, spider plants can take a bit of munching. They are pretty durable and easy to take care of, so there are usually no problems with cats chewing on a few leaves.

But, if you have multiple cats or a young spider plant, this may not be the case. Either way, there are a few ways you can attempt to keep your cat away from it, though there is no foolproof option.

Before you lose hope, try these methods:
  • Hang the plant. The easiest way to prevent your cat from munching on the plant is to hang it somewhere out of reach. Cats can climb just about everything, so usually, placing the plant somewhere high isn’t an option. Instead, you’ll need to hang it somewhere impossible for your cats to reach. Be sure to place it away from high things your cat may decide to climb as well.
  • Prune the plant. If your cat appears to be damaging the plant while playing with it, you can make it substantially more boring by trimming it back. Prune the plant back regularly or divide the plant if you need to.
  • Use a bitter spray. There are plenty of bitter-tasting sprays available that can potentially prevent your cat from snacking on your plant. These sprays are safe for the plant but taste and smell bad for your cats. This only works sometimes, though, as many cats tough it out for the plant’s drug-like qualities.
  • Plant some cat-friendly grass. Some cats like to eat plants. For these felines, we recommend planting some greenery they can eat. There are many cat-friendly grasses that you can quickly grow indoors. You can even grow catnip for your feline.

Featured image credit: W.carter, Commons Wikimedia licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication