Is Coffee Plant Toxic to Cats? Caffeine Toxicity in Cats

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is coffee plant toxic to cats

If you love coffee, you may consider growing a coffee plant or tree as a house plant or outdoors in your yard. Is coffee plant toxic to cats? And are cats affected by caffeine? Let’s find out!

There is quite a bit of controversy surrounding coffee plants and whether or not they are toxic to cats. Some sources claim that coffee is poisonous for felines due to toxins in the plant’s leaves, while others say that only the coffee is toxic. It’s best to keep your cat away from coffee plants as they can be affected by the plant’s leaves, fruit, and roots.

This article will discuss whether you can grow coffee plants in a pet-friendly yard. We’ll also discuss why cats should avoid caffeine and examine the effects of caffeine toxicity. Finally, we’ll tell you all about the world’s most expensive coffee, which is made from cat poo.

Is coffee plant toxic to cats?

Coffee plants are commonly grown in warmer climates and produce berries that can be processed to make coffee. These plants have the botanical name Coffea arabica and are part of the Rubiaceae family.

Coffee plants shouldn’t be grown in yards that pets such as dogs or cats frequent, as the leaves, beans, and stems are poisonous and can cause some nasty symptoms. The plants are also toxic to livestock such as horses and small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs.  

Coffee plants are toxic due to their chemical makeup; the plants contain a toxin called saponins which can cause skin irritation, especially around the mouth. Oral swelling may also occur in the mouth and throat, and gastral symptoms are common after digesting this plant. 

Plants that contain caffeine and saponins have their own defense mechanisms to protect the fruits. These chemicals make the plant unpalatable to wildlife, so the plants are less likely to be eaten. In theory, this should mean that your cat will also avoid eating toxic plants as they won’t taste very nice. However, there is a small chance that your cat could nibble on a poisonous plant, so it’s best to keep toxic plants out of reach of your pets. 

Some cats will nibble on plants due to boredom, so it’s also a good idea to give your pet plenty of enrichment in the form of toys and access to the outdoors to avoid issues.  

Symptoms of coffee plant toxicity

If you think that your cat has been affected by a coffee plant, it’s crucial to phone the vet as soon as possible. Most cats can fully recover after eating part of a coffee plant as long as they receive the correct treatment. 

The following symptoms may be present if your cat has ingested significant amounts of the coffee plant. 

  • Dermatitis
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sickness 
  • Muscle weakness
  • Seizures and tremors


Can cats have coffee?

Vets generally recommend that pet owners avoid giving their cats any food or drink that contains caffeine. This includes coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, and chocolate. It is also a good idea to keep your cat away from any plants or flowers in the house that contain caffeine or other toxins.

Examples of toxic houseplants include poinsettia and philodendrons, as well as some plants commonly found outdoors, including morning glory and jimson weed.

If you are concerned about whether or not your cat is at risk from caffeine toxicity, it’s best to avoid giving your cat foods that are manufactured for humans. You can also contact your vet for advice. However, you should know that most cases of feline caffeine poisoning involve the ingestion of chocolate rather than coffee. That being said, cats are generally fussy eaters, and most will only consume meat.

Dogs are more likely to be affected by caffeine, but it is also important to keep chocolate and baked goods out of reach of your cat if your pet has a habit of nibbling on things.

What’s the difference between a coffee plant and a coffee tree?

There are slight differences between a coffee plant that’s grown commercially to produce coffee and a coffee tree which is commonly kept as a house plants. The coffee tree has the botanical name Polyscia guilfoylei and isn’t related to the coffee plant. 

The coffee tree is generally grown for its ornamental value as it produces beautiful white flowers in the spring, although it’s unlikely to bloom indoors. In the summer and fall, the tree produces fruits that can be used to make coffee. 

Both the coffee plant and coffee tree are toxic to cats and produce similar symptoms if ingested. 

Cat poo coffee

The most expensive coffee in the world is Kopi Luwak, also known as cat poo coffee. This delicious coffee is produced in Indonesia and passes through a cat’s intestines before being processed and made into coffee.

The coffee beans are eaten by a rodent called a civit, which looks very cat-like, after which the poop is collected, washed, and roasted to produce coffee beans. Kopi Luwak is imported worldwide and costs upward of $100 for a pound of coffee beans.


Fortunately, most cats will not have a problem with coffee plants as the plants contain toxic components that make them taste bitter. However, it is always better to be safe than sorry; it’s best to ensure your cat avoids coffee plants, coffee trees, and all sources of caffeine whenever possible.

The ASPCA lists toxic and non-toxic plants for cats and other animals on its website. It may be beneficial to consult this list when deciding which houseplants to bring home or when choosing plants for a pet-friendly yard. You can also look at our plant section for more articles about which plants are toxic to cats.

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