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Can Cats Eat Aloe? What You Need to Know

If you have a garden full of aloe and a cat, then you know it’s only a matter of time before you have a garden full of aloe plants with cat bite marks in them. It’s at that point that you’ll ask yourself, “Can cats eat aloe, or should I be concerned?”

As it turns out, aloe is poisonous to cats, so yes, you should be concerned.

To find out exactly how concerned you should be, read on.

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Is Aloe Safe for Cats?

Aloe is believed to be mildly to moderately toxic to cats. That means that it can cause symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, depression, tremors, refusal to eat, and changes in urine color. It’s unlikely to be fatal, however, unless your cat has eaten a very large amount.

That’s because aloe is full of a compound called saponins, which is toxic to a wide range of animals, including dogs, horses, birds, and lizards. Eating aloe can cause something known as true aloe poisoning in cats.

It’s actually the white latex part of the plant that’s toxic to cats — they can eat the gel inside. As a result, you can use aloe products on your cat, provided that the latex has been removed.

Image by: Diana Golysheva, Shutterstock

Unfortunately, your cat will likely want to nibble on your aloe plants, so you might want to figure out a way to keep your cat away from your garden (or get rid of the plants entirely).

My Cat Ate Aloe. What Should I Do?

If you’ve caught your cat munching on your aloe plants, it’s important to take immediate action. The longer you wait to get your cat medical attention, the more toxins that they’ll absorb and the less your vet will be able to help them.

You may notice the listed symptoms, but you might not — it can take symptoms 6-12 hours to present themselves. It’s best not to wait around to see if they’ll show up, though.

You should take your cat to the vet right away and bring a bit of the plant with you as well. The doctor will want to test it, just in case it’s something other than the aloe that is causing your cat to feel ill.

The vet will likely want to run a diagnostic panel, including taking urine and blood samples. They may also want to perform an X-ray to see if there’s been any organ damage.

How Is Aloe Poisoning Treated?

If you get your cat to the vet soon enough, your doctor may just want to give them activated charcoal to soak up the toxins. They may also try to induce vomiting to get the aloe out of your cat’s system before it can do any damage.

If your cat has been showing adverse effects from eating the aloe, they may need intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration or oxygen therapy to boost the health of their organs.

Assuming that you get your cat to the vet quickly enough, they should recover fully without any lingering effects. However, if your cat eats too much or you take too long to get them medical treatment, they could suffer organ damage that could take weeks to recover from, if recovery happens at all.

Sliced Aloe
Image Credit: endriqstudio, Pixabay

How Do I Keep My Cat From Eating My Aloe Plants?

The best and most effective way to keep your cat from eating your aloe plants is simply not to have any aloe plants at all. It’s the only way to be absolutely certain that your cat won’t eat it (unless they find one somewhere else, of course).

Another good way is to put your plants in a place that your cat can’t access, such as on a high ledge or hanging from the ceiling. If the aloe’s in an outside garden, consider fencing it off or putting thorny branches around it to deter your cat from entering.

You can also spray the plant’s leaves with a formula containing one part vinegar and three parts water. There is also a variety of commercial sprays that are made to deter cats from chewing on things.

Many cats dislike the smell and taste of citrus, so lining the plant bed with orange peels might do the trick. Or, you could even sprinkle cayenne pepper in the soil; one whiff of that, and your cat won’t be likely to come back for more.

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What’s the Verdict? Is Aloe Safe for Cats?

Aloe is not safe for cats. While it’s not likely to be deadly, it can still have a tremendously negative impact on your cat’s health, leading to upset stomach, anorexia, and even organ damage.

If you want to keep both aloe plants and cats in your home, you’d better put the plants somewhere that your cats can’t reach.

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Featured Image: difotolife, Pixabay