Is Pampas Grass Poisonous to Cats? Safe and Non-Toxic Ornamental Grasses

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is pampas grass poisonous to cats?

Is pampas grass poisonous to cats? Pampas grass is considered mostly safe and non-toxic to cats but ingesting it is still not recommended. This is because it could cause irritating side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting to most animals, cats included.

Generally, caution should be taken when buying plants in a pet-owning house. This is because many house plants, such as aloe vera, mistletoe, and cheese plants, are not suitable to have in an environment where cats are constantly present. But is pampas grass poisonous to cats?

Although pampas grass itself isn’t poisonous, it contains isoflavone, a toxic substance. This is a plant-based substance that’s very much like estrogen.

This article will answer the question, ‘is pampas grass poisonous to cats?’ We’ll also discuss which other types of ornamental grasses and plants are safe for cats.

Is pampas grass poisonous to cats?

Is pampas grass poisonous to cats? Technically it isn't but your cat may suffer from an upset stomach after chewing on the grass.

Pampas grass is an easily found type of ornamental grass that is thought to have originated in South America. This grass has varying colored leaves that range in shades of green and brown and usually grows between 35 and 65 cm (14 to 26 inches) in height. It grows reasonably well in most soil types and is pretty water-resistant.

Although outdoor pampas grass is not toxic in any way, ingesting it could still cause your cat to suffer from things such as indigestion and possibly even depression.

It is also recommended that dried pampas grass isn’t used as decoration in homes that want to be cat-friendly. This is because this common household item can be toxic to cats if chewed on. Dried pampas grass could cause severe problems with your pets’ digestion and could even cause them to need to go to the hospital.

Which other ornamental grasses are safe for cats?

Plenty of ornamental grasses are perfectly safe to keep in cat-friendly homes and yards. Some of these grasses include:

  • Blue oat grass: a long pale green grass that has a bluish tint.
  • Purple fountain grass: a beautiful array of colored stems, leaves, and flowers that range in shades of red and purple
  • Lemon grass: a lovely scented vibrant green grass often used in things like essential oils.

Which plants are safe for cats?

Here are some house plants and outdoor plants that can be used in pet-friendly spaces:

  • Spider plant: a flowing evergreen plant resembling the shape of a spider and a frequently seen household decoration 
  • Violas: gorgeous purple flowers found in the violet family
  • Petunias: oval-shaped flowers ranging in a variety of different colors
  • Watercress: a green aquatic plant and vegetable that is considered to be a part of the cabbage family
  • Snapdragons: lengthy flowers that usually vary in shades of pink and purple and are known for their resemblance to a dragon’s face
  • Rosemary: a plant and herb with purple, pink, or blue flowers that have leaves that resemble needles
  • Lemon balm: a soothing and relaxing herb with vibrant green leaves that smell faintly of lemon 

Are there any grasses and plants that should be avoided?

Some house plants and ornamental grasses are toxic and should be avoided when it comes to cats:

  • Arrowgrass: Arrowgrass is a tall, green type of grass that has flowers in shades of purple and green. Although this grass is mainly a threat to sheep and cattle, it can also have a pretty negative effect on cats. Possible symptoms of arrowgrass poisoning are increased salivation, twitching in the muscles, and higher stress levels. In severe cases, ingesting this grass could also lead to coma or even possible death. 
  • Angel’s Trumpet: Angel’s Trumpet is a highly toxic plant with pendulous flowers. All parts of this plant are toxic, and symptoms from it include increased thirst, vomiting, and diarrhea. 
  • Aloe Vera: Although this commonly owned plant has many healing benefits when it comes to humans, it is actually toxic to cats. If ingested, your pet may suffer from symptoms such as an upset stomach or urine discoloration. 
  • Grass Palm: The grass palm is usually known as the cabbage tree, and it is a tall plant with branches that can grow up to a metre (40 inches) in length. Symptoms that come with ingesting grass palm are anorexia, increased salivation, and dilated pupils.   

Why do cats like to nibble on grasses?

A common theory used to reason the fact that cats enjoy nibbling on grass is that they are ingesting it to get their needed nutrients. This is because most plants contain vitamins such as folic acid, which cats can find tasty and good for their health.

It could also be said that certain plants are good for cats’ digestive systems, meaning that they make it easier for their bodies to get rid of any irritating hairballs. As well as this, most broad grasses are known to have a laxative-like effect and can help ease a cat’s stomach if something is wrong with it.

Eating grass could be unhealthy for your cat because of the toxic pesticides and herbicides that grass could be sprayed with. However, if the grass hasn’t been in contact with any possibly unhealthy chemicals, then your cat ingesting some of it should be completely fine. That being said, if your cat frequently eats grass, it could get stuck in places such as their nasal chambers and cause them to sneeze more often.

Should you attempt to stop your cat from eating pampas grass?

Due to the possible symptoms that could arise from cats eating pampas grass, it could be a good idea to try and stop them. You can do this by investing in cat grass or trying to remove any toxic plants or ornate grasses from your home. 

An alternative to this is to sprinkle a little bit of chili powder on the plant or greenery your cat keeps trying to ingest; this warns your cat away from it in the future as it will no longer enjoy the plant’s taste.  

What to do if your cat is suffering from symptoms

If your cat is suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned in the above sections, such as vomiting, diarrhea, increased salivation, or even depression, you should take them to a vet immediately.

Can cats be allergic to grass?

is pampas grass poisonous to cats?

Cats can be allergic to grass. Just like people, some cats are allergic to certain types of pollen and other allergens that are found in grass. If your cat is sneezing or has watery eyes after being in contact with grass, they are likely allergic.

There are a few things you can do to help your cat if they are allergic to grass, such as keeping them indoors during high pollen days and using air purifiers. It would help if you also talked to your vet about possible medications that can help relieve your cat’s symptoms.

Related Article: Can Dogs Be Allergic to Cats?

Is pampas grass poisonous to cats: Final thoughts

Although pampas grass is not toxic to cats, it is still recommended that you find an alternative house plant or ornate grass that is sure not to cause your cat any irritating symptoms.

Allowing your cat to ingest pampas grass regularly, especially if it’s dried, could lead to stomach and digestion issues.

Article written by Viktoriya Litovchenko 

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