Cats can be natural little troublemakers sometimes. They seem to get into everything! They like to explore and look around, and seem especially interested in plants around the house. We might never think about plants like the spider plant being toxic to us. But is the spider plant toxic to cats when they try to chew on them?
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About Spider Plants
Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are pretty common around the house, since they look so pretty hanging and don’t need to take up too much space. They grow quickly everywhere in the world despite their native home of Asia and Africa. They even have the nickname “cat’s whiskers,” which I thought was very fitting. Their leaves are grassy green, striped yellow, or even white. If you’re thinking about where to hang them, they grow best in bright, indirect light indoors, extending to around 2 and ½ feet wide and as much as 2 to 3 feet long. Replanting them can actually help them grow better too so they don’t break through their containers. Cats love them as much as humans too.
Why Do Cats Love Them?
It’s not because of the scent. Sorry, but the spider plant isn’t like the usual flower; it doesn’t give off a huge smell. It does hang in all sorts of directions, providing the perfect source of entertainment for a bored house pet. The real reason cats love them though is actually because they are hallucinogenic. I didn’t see that coming either!
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No, they won’t affect you in any way, but spider plants are a little like catnip to cats since they produce some chemicals that trigger that intense fascination. Catnip isn’t toxic to cats, although the spider plant might be a different story.
Are Spider Plants Toxic to Cats?
Like the proud pet parents we are, we need to know what is safe for our cats to munch on and what we should be concerned about. We know that the spider plant has some mild hallucinogens that attract cats, but are they really safe?
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The spider plant is fine for your cat. Any actual hallucinogenic effect is harmless. According to the ASPCA (the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals), the spider plant is not toxic to cats or any other pets around your house. But bear in mind that the ASPCA does advise caution when it comes to these plants still. This is because there can be some unfortunate effects regardless of the lack of toxicity. Spider plants do have chemical compounds that are somewhat related to opium in them.
Effects on Your Cat
Yes, there are some hallucinogenic properties. But remember that they are very mild and will not have major effects on your cat besides some wild or jumpy behavior. Even though these plants are not toxic, they might put your cat as risk if they eat too much. This is why it’s still recommended to keep your cat away from these plants if you can. The opium-related compounds might give your cat an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. You can see this if you take a look in the litter box and find watery or loose stools. Your cat also might be hunched over and in pain. Go to the vet, but before you pack your car, check to see if the spider plant looks like it’s been chewed on. It’ll help your vet figure out your kitty’s problems faster.
Stop Eating That!
Sometimes, we all feel like our pets are our children. We end up yelling at them not to eat things about every five minutes! Consider stopping your cat from eating the spider plant, given the possible negative side effects. It seems almost impossible to get them to listen sometimes though!
Luckily there are some simple ways to keep the cat away from the spider plant.
Hang it up high!
Spider plants are usually hung, so just put it in a place your cat can’t reach. If you don’t have a place like that, put a little bit of something bitter on the leaves to try and dissuade your cat from eating.
Pruning the plant
This helps too. If this doesn’t work, go for a distraction! There are great indoor grasses that are safe for your cat to munch on instead of the spider plant. Place it somewhere different, and replace it when it dies off. It will cause your cat to vomit, so be aware of that. Cat grass is luckily easy to grow and all around the supermarket, right along with cat toys. A tired cat is less likely to get into trouble, so a little play time will do wonders!
Are spider plants dangerous to cats? The answer is yes and no. While they aren’t toxic, the spider plant can still cause your cat distress. In the end, it might be better to avoid them altogether to keep your cat healthy and happy. Our little troublemakers might not understand when you hang your plant too far away to reach. But they’ll thank you later when they’re feeling as good as ever!