Chances are, you’ve heard that cats love nibbling on house plants and some can be toxic when ingested. What about spider plants? Are spider plants toxic to cats? You are concerned that the presence of your newly-acquired kitten and lovely spider plants in the same space are ingredients for the perfect storm, at least, in terms of harming the cat.
One thing is absolutely correct though. Our furry felines love playing with the fern-like spider plants. And can cats eat spider plants? Absolutely. Many folks believe they do this to aid in the digestion of hairballs or calm a tummy that is acting up. Many others think spider plants are what veggies are to humans in diets – an innate attempt to make their daily food intake nutritional balanced!
So what is the truth about cats and spider plants? Why do cats seem particularly attracted to the hanging spiderettes of the plant? Are spider plants toxic to cats? How can you protect the plants from the cat(s)? These and many more questions bugging cat owners with a passion for growing house plants like spider plants are what we would be discussing in this article.
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Are Spider Plants Toxic to Cats?
The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is a very adaptable indoor houseplant that is easy to grow. They are typically cultivated in pots or hanging baskets. As a decorative indoor flora, they add a fresh and festive air to the house with their pointed deep green leaves with white and yellow stripes.
Also known as cat whiskers, spider ivy, and ribbon plant, they produce spiderettes hanging down from the plant. The spiderettes are actually tiny white blossoms hanging off the plant with a remarkable resemblance to spiders hanging from their web.
Cats tend to be more attracted to the spider plant compared to other plants. And often eat them too. This naturally raises concerns among pets owners. The primary concern being how safe the plants are to cats and other pets that eat them.
Possible Reasons Cats Are Attracted to & Eat Spider Plants
It doesn’t take cat owners long to realize that cats allowed outside love playing with grass. Sometimes, that playtime includes nibbling on the grass.
House plants like spider plants look a lot like grass so it shouldn’t be surprising that cats want to play with them. But the issue here is about why they prefer hanging around spider plants compared to other house plants.
One reason could be because of the dangling spiderettes, and cats being very playful, enjoy fussing around with them. But since cars are carnivores, this doesn’t explain why playing doesn’t stop at that and has to include eating the plants.
A popular explanation why cats enjoy making a feast of the plants is down to the hallucinogenic effect of the plant on cats. Yes, apparently, cats too love getting high!
So it’s likely that your cat might have playfully nibbled on some, loved the feeling the plant induced the first time, and kept coming back for more. Just like how many folks love the harmless high they get from weed.
How Toxic are Spider Plants to Cats?
Spider plants are not harmful to cats. At least, not in a way that should cause wild-eyed panic.
Both the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the National Capital Poison Center are clear about this issue: spider plants are not toxic to cats.
So although the plant is mildly hallucinogenic, it is actually quite harmless to cats and other pets. So cats can pretty much eat as much as they want to without any serious side effects.
Being hallucinogenic though, you’d expect a level of toxicity in the plant. But, a cat needs to eat a rather impractical amount of the plant to build up enough toxicity to degenerate into a health crisis.
Basically, any cat would be fine as long as the spider plant is not its main source of nourishment. Though the plant induces a mild ‘feel good’ euphoria, it is unlikely cats would start gorging on them instead of eating cat food for sustenance.
Effects of Eating Too Much Spider Plants on Cats
The term ‘too much’ in this context is very fluid. This is similar to how humans react to drugs depending on body size and weight.
Generally, though, when too much is ingested, the hallucinogens would make the cat somewhat wild and jumpy but never in very grave danger. Also, the chemicals might lead to an upset stomach, regurgitating of food, and perhaps excessive stooling.
If you suspect your cat of bingeing on spider plant (you’ll get an indication of this by how much of the spider plant is depleted), observe your cat closely. If it seems hunched over in obvious pain, cranky, and very irritable, taking the cat to the vet is the best option.
How to Protect Spider Plants from Cats
If you don’t like your cat or cats playing with your spider plants, there are several things you could do to keep them away from the plants. These include:
- Since typical planters for spider plants are hanging baskets, hanging the baskets beyond the reach of the cat is one of the easiest options.
Cats are very agile and good climbers, so you’d have to ensure the hanging basket is not close to a windowsill or furniture the cat can use to get access to the plant.
- Spray the plant with bitter, non-toxic repellant, especially if you can’t find a suitable location to hang it where the cat can’t reach. This works almost all the time because cats hate and tend to avoid plants that taste awful.
- If your cats are fully housebound and never venture outdoors, a good option is to take the plant outside. However, this sort of defeats the aim of having a house plant to beautify your living space. The sacrifices we make for our pets!
- Pruning your spider plant is something you could also do. Sometimes, the primary reason cats can reach plant is due the long spiderettes hanging down real low. Pruning keeps the plants beyond the reach of the cat.
- Another viable option is to plant cat grass. Cat grass is available in most offline and online pet shops. You can simply purchase the complete kit for growing them at home. The best kit for growing cat grass should contain the potting soil and the right mix of ingredients such as oat, flax seeds, rye, organic wheat, and barley.
Cats love nibbling them and the high-end products even have nutritional benefits. The advantages of planting cat grass are immediately clear. Aside from. protecting your spider plant, the cat becomes healthier.
If you decide to go down this route, it is recommended that you plant the cat grass in a separate area far from your spider plant. This ensures that the cat is not easily tempted to feast on the spider plant by its proximity to the cat grass.
Are spider plants toxic to cats? No. Apart from making them mildly high, the plants are very harmless to cats.
The easy-to-grow and attractive spider plants are very popular house plants cats love playing with. Often, the cats end up nibbling on them mostly for the hallucinogenic effect. But The worst-case scenario happens when cats somehow eat too much. This rare event can lead to some discomfort to the cat and you might need a vet to get them well again.
Fortunately, there are several ways you could protect your spider plant from feline attacks. One of the quickest and most effective solutions is to hang the baskets someplace beyond the reach of the cat. And if the cat is fixated on eating plants, planting cat grass could be the best resolution satisfactory to both you and your lovely kitty.