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Are String of Hearts Toxic to Cats? Common Houseplants Examined

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	Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg DVM Photo

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Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you’re looking to add houseplants to your home, the potential options can be overwhelming. However, if your home already has a cat in residence, your choices will be limited by one important factor: whether or not the plant is safe for them. For example, string of hearts is a popular and easy-to-grow succulent, but is it toxic to cats?

Happily, string of hearts is not toxic to cats, but it still may not be the best choice to grow in a house full of playful felines! We’ll tell you why in this article and give you some other succulent options that are safe for your cat, plus a few you should avoid.

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What Is String of Hearts?

String of hearts is a perennial, evergreen succulent native to southern Africa. It is a popular choice for those just beginning their plant parent journey because it is quite forgiving, especially if you forget to water it! In fact, string of hearts might grow better if you let it dry out a bit and don’t mind growing in crowded pots either.

These plants can be grown indoors or outdoors in warm climates and produce beautiful foliage and colorful flowers. String of hearts plants are also natural climbers, easily trained to grow on a trellis or topiary.

If not given something to climb, the string of hearts produces long, trailing tendrils and makes a lovely hanging plant.

String of Hearts and Cats: Not Toxic But Not a Good Idea

a black cat with succulent plants
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

According to California Poison Control, string of hearts is non-toxic to cats, as well as dogs and humans. However, it’s essential to remember that even plants that aren’t toxic can cause vomiting in cats if they eat too much of them. That’s because a cat’s digestive system is meant to process animal products only, not plant material.

Remember we mentioned the long, trailing vines that string of hearts produces? Most cats will find them irresistible to play with, especially young and active kitties. Not only could this lead to your cat eating the plant and possibly throwing up, but it could also destroy your plant.

Another possible danger is your cat knocking over and breaking the pot it’s planted in. Broken glass or ceramic could easily injure your kitty. String of hearts only requires minimal fertilization, but plant foods typically aren’t safe for cats.

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Keeping Your Cat Safe

If you want to grow string of hearts even in a home with cats, consider placing it in a room that is off-limits to kitties. Those who live in warm climates could keep their plants outdoors and cats safe inside.

Another option is to grow a different succulent without trailing vines to attract your cat’s attention. Some other succulents safe for cats include:

  • Hens and chicks
  • Chinese money plant
  • Bunny ear cactus
  • Variegated wax plant
Here are some succulents that are known to be toxic to cats to avoid:
  • String of pearls (not to be confused with string of hearts!)
  • Mother-in-law’s tongue
  • Pencil cactus
  • Jade plant (also called money plant, lucky plant, or money tree)

Before bringing home any plant, double-check that it is safe for your cat by asking your veterinarian or consulting the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants.

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Conclusion

Growing a string of hearts in the same house with a cat isn’t impossible or unsafe, but it will take some planning and possibly closed doors! You can enjoy the benefits of life with plants and pets with just a few precautions. However, if your cat snacks on your string of hearts and gets an upset stomach, contact your vet to be safe.

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Featured Image Credit: Job Narinnate, Shutterstock

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