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Is Calathea Toxic to Cats? Common Houseplants Examined 

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	Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ, Veterinarian

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

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Animal lovers looking to feather their nests with some greenery should be cautious about which plants they bring into their homes. Our furry friends, especially our cats, love to chew on plant leaves, and they can easily become sick if the plants are toxic to animals.

A common plant that is often recommended for newbie houseplant owners is the Calathea. Cautious cat owners will want to know if this plant is toxic to their feline chewer, and the answer is simple. No, your cat will not become sick from the Calathea.

Read on to learn more about this beautiful, non-toxic plant, as well as some other plants that are safe to have in your home along with your furry pals.

divider-catclaw1What is a Calathea?

The Calathea is an attractive plant that brings a lush greenness to any space. It has large multicolored leaves—usually green with hints of white, pink, orange, or red, and a vibrant purple underside. In the wild, these plants produce white, yellow, or purple flowers, but they are unlikely to flower in an indoor environment.

These plants are non-toxic to cats, dogs, and horses, so they are a must-have for any animal lover with a green thumb.

Calathea zebrina-Plectranthus verticillatus
Credit: Mokkie, Wikimedia Commons

What are Some Other Popular Non-Toxic Houseplants?

Whether you’re looking to add more greenery to your home, or you just brought home a new cat to an apartment full of already-established houseplants, it’s important to know which plants are non-toxic to cats.

An additional thought to bear in mind is that, while these plants are non-toxic to your cat, gastrointestinal upset is possible if your cat eats any kind of plant.

Other Non-Toxic Houseplants:

  • Anthericum comosum– Usually known as a Spider Plant, this beauty is non-toxic to cats, while also being incredibly low maintenance in terms of plant care. This plant has long ribbon-like green leaves with a white stripe, and they thrive in a variety of conditions. You won’t need to worry about your cat becoming ill if they choose to gnaw on the leaves of the spider plant.
  • Phyllostachys aurea– This sustainable plant is also known by its more common names of Golden Bamboo or Fishpole Bamboo. This plant usually appears in gardens because of its hardiness. It is fast-growing and can become an invasive species if left unchecked, so be aware that you will need to trim it back often.  And, it is non-toxic to cats.
  • Nephrolepis exalta– Another popular plant that is non-toxic to your cat is the Boston Fern. The fronds consist of a center rib with little leaflets on either side that can reach lengths of anywhere between 20-98 inches. It’s often grown in hanging baskets, putting it out of your cat’s reach—unless you have a high-flying daredevil, of course. In that case, we salute you and wish you dirt-free surfaces.
  • Echeveria elegans- Commonly known as Chickens and Hens, these sage-colored succulents in a rosette shape are popular both as houseplants and in gardens. They are non-toxic to cats, as well as horses, and dogs.
  • Schlumbergera– Christmas Cactus, or Easter Cactus, is a flowering cactus that has long interconnected leaf-like pads with flowers that appear at the joints between the pads and at the tips. In the Northern Hemisphere, they usually bloom during the winter months—hence the moniker, Christmas Cactus. Your cat may be fascinated by their tendril-like appearance and flowers, but rest assured it is non-toxic to cats. So you can breathe a little easier if your pet gets into this cactus.
calathea
Image Credit: Pixabay

Common Toxic Plants to Avoid

We’ve covered some popular plants that are safe to have around cats in your home, but you’re probably wondering what plants you should steer clear of to prevent illness in your pet.

Common signs of toxicity in your pet are irritation and burning around the lips, tongue, mouth, vomiting, excessive drooling, problems swallowing, and overall oral irritation. If you see these signs and suspect your pet has eaten a toxic plant, call your veterinarian right away for an emergency appointment. While some plants only cause mouth and gastrointestinal tract irritation, some other plants are highly toxic to cats. Azalea ingestion can result in cardiac arrest, while lilies can cause kidney failure. If you suspect your cat ate a toxic plant, it is better to err on the side of caution and bring it to the veterinary clinic.

Common Toxic Plants to Avoid:

  • Aloe
  • American holly
  • Azalea
  • Lilies
  • Bread and Butter Plant
  • Many types of ivy
  • Caladium
  • Charming Dieffenbachia
  • Cutleaf Philodendron
  • Schefflera
  • Variable Dieffenbachia

These are just a few of the houseplants that can be toxic to your cat. For many pet owners, the best option is to just avoid bringing home plants that could be potentially toxic to their pet, and to bring home only pet-friendly plants.

divider-catclaw1ASPCA Animal Poison Control

If you’re unsure if some of your houseplants are toxic to your favorite feline, the ASPCA has an Animal Poison Control website to check if your plants are toxic or non-toxic to your four-legged friends.

The ASPCA also has a phone number that is available 24/7, 365 days a year, to call if you suspect your pet has eaten a poisonous substance: (888) 426-4435. While there may be a consultation fee if you call the phone number, it is good to have on hand in the event that you cannot reach your local veterinarian.

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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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