Are Snake Plants Toxic to Cats? The #1 reason it's best to avoid these plants!
Are snake plants toxic to cats? Snake plants are not poisonous to cats but produce a mild toxin due to a substance called saponins that can cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested by pets or small children.
Snake plants, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue and sansevieria, are hardy houseplants that thrive in low light and drought conditions. As a general rule, snake plants can survive for decades and make striking additions to any room in the house. The only exception to this may be homes with pets or small children, as snake plants are toxic to humans and animals if ingested.
What is a snake plant?
These unusual looking succulent plants have stiff upright leaves that grow from a central rosette. Snake plants are popular houseplants commonly referred to as mother-in-law’s tongue, golden bird’s nest, good luck plant, magic sword, saint george’s sword, devil’s tongue, or jinn’s tongue.
Snake plants are part of the Agavaceae family and are native to Madagascar, Africa, and Southern Asia. There are different varieties of snake plants, with green and yellow variegated leaves or dark green foliage. The most common types include black gold, Futura Superba, Futura robusta, Silbersee, golden hahnii, blackjack, black robusta, and Laurentii.
Snake plants are commonly grown as houseplants worldwide but can also be planted outdoors in warmer regions. It’s possible that your cat may have been in contact with a snake plant or another toxic plant in a neighbor’s garden without you knowing.
Are snake plants Toxic to cats?
Snake plants are not poisonous, but they produce a mild toxin that can cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested by cats and other animals. Symptoms can include excessive drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea, none of which is typically serious. Ingestion of very large amounts of snake plant material can result in more severe symptoms, such as muscle tremors and stomach paralysis.
Snake plants are considered toxic to cats and dogs, as they contain a toxic compound known as saponins. This can cause nasty symptoms in cats, the most prominent symptom being vomiting.
Related article: Are Jade plants toxic to cats?
What to do if your cat eats a piece of snake plant?
It’s important not to panic if your cat has eaten a piece of snake plant or any other toxic plant. The first thing you should do is identify the plant and phone your vet for advice. You should act quickly if you notice any symptoms, but it’s worth getting advice even if your pet seems to be okay.
Monitor your pet for signs of poisoning. Symptoms can develop quickly, so don’t assume that your cat is ok, or that her symptoms will remain mild. After 24 hours, if no symptoms appear, you can feel safe in assuming that they were just loose stools or vomited food material.
If your cat has eaten a piece of plant and you’re unsure of the species, take a sample to your vets for identification. You can also take some of your cat’s vomit if she ate a plant from a neighbour’s garden, and you aren’t sure what it is. Some plants are poisonous to cats, and in the worse cases, cats can die from plant toxicity. It’s therefore essential to act fast if your cat is unwell.
A vet will be able to induce vomiting and give your cat medication and IV fluids. Never try to make your cat vomit yourself, always consult a vet. Most cats that have been affected by snake plant will recover within one to three days.
Since snake plants aren’t safe for cats, it’s best not to have them in your home. If you already have a snake plant, you may like to move it to a high shelf or to a room that your cat doesn’t have access to. Most cats will avoid eating snake plant as it has a bitter taste and as a result, very few cats have died after consuming this plant. It may be best to choose a houseplant that isn’t toxic to cats, just to be on the safe side!
Check out the ASPCA website for a complete list of plants that are toxic to cats.