Is A Snake Plant Toxic To Cats: Yes, But You Can Treat It

A lot of people have asked me if snake plants are toxic to cats, so I wanted to address that question. The answer is yes and no. Cats can be poisoned by the leaves, but it’s easy to avoid that with a few simple steps. In this blog post, we will discuss how poisonous snake plants are for your feline friend and what you can do about it!

Now the type of snake plant doesn’t matter at all. Saponin, the toxic agent in these plants, is found mainly in the leaves. They are only toxic when chewed on. The most important thing to remember is that it’s not so much what your cat ingests from a snake plant in terms of toxicity; rather, how often and for how long.

According to the ASPCA, the leaves can cause vomiting and kidney failure in cats. It’s a good idea to keep them at least three feet from your cat, just so they don’t get tempted to try it out! They might have a stomachache and maybe diarrhea for a day or two afterward but that’s about it.

However, if you put the plant in with other houseplants and leave your kitty to their own devices? Well, then they’ll eat all of them! And even if they don’t, you might have other cats that do.

What is Saponin?

Saponin is a natural defense that most plants have, which acts as an irritant to their predators. It’s found in the leaves of many different types of houseplants and outdoor plants, including garden holly, geraniums, lilies-of-the-valley (also called a ground cherry), tomatoes (yes this includes ketchup), and many others.

It’s a good idea to keep all of these plants out of reach from your cat for the same reasons we gave before, just in case they do decide to eat them!

The leaves are where saponin is concentrated so that means if you have one plant with saponin in it then eating the leaves of that plant will make your cat sick.

The ASPCA says the best thing to do if you know your kitty is going for a walk in tall grass or has been outside, then give them a good drink of water after they get back inside and wash their paws with soap-and-water before letting them near any kitchen appliances, especially if they have been licking their paws.

What Does Saponin Do?

Saponin is a natural defense against predators, but it can also be toxic to cats. It’s found in many plants and if they eat the leaves of a plant that contains saponin then there is a chance they’ll get sick.

What Parts of the Snake Plant Are Poisonous?

If your cat were to eat a snake plant, it would likely be the leaves that are poisonous. The ASPCA says this is because saponin is concentrated in these parts of the plants. Cats can get sick from eating too many toxic houseplants but there’s not much harm in having one or two around as long as you keep them out of your cat’s reach.

Will A Snake Plant Kill My Cat Or Dog?

As long as you keep your snake plant well away from your cat, it will not be poisonous to them. Even if they eat the leaves of a toxic houseplant, there is only a small chance that their digestive system will absorb enough saponin in one sitting to have any adverse effect on them.

What Are The Symptoms Of Poisoning?

The ASPCA says that there are some common symptoms of poisoning from a snake plant in cats which can include:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • kidney failure

If your cat is vomiting, has diarrhea, or appears to be lethargic and their kidneys have failed them then call the vet right away! It’s best to be safe than sorry.

Why Is My Cat Eating Houseplants?

Cats are inquisitive animals and will taste anything they can get their paws on! It’s best not to leave any pot of houseplant soil unattended, even if you don’t have cats in the home. They might just walk by and try it out.

But what if I have other cats?

If you live with more than one cat, it’s a good idea to keep them separate from any poisonous plants in the house. You might not even notice that your feline friend is eating their leaves until they’re already sick!

How to Treat Snake Plant Poisoning in Cats

If your cat does eat the leaves of a snake plant, it’s always good to call poison control right away. They can give you the best recommendations for what steps need to be taken next and will tell you when or how often your kitty will need to be monitored.

It’s also a good idea to get them checked out at the vet as soon of possible, too. They’ll give your kitty something for nausea and pain relief and make sure they’re getting enough fluids while trying their best not to induce vomiting because that could potentially make things worse. The ASPCA says you should see a vet within 24 hours of the incident.

Removing Plant Material

If you need to remove the plant material, it’s best to wear gloves because saponin can be toxic in larger amounts and can cause skin irritation. And don’t forget about your kitty! You’ll want them out of the room while you’re handling plants that might make them sick so they won’t eat any more leaves or soil from them.

How Long Will It Take For My Cat To Recover?

The ASPCA says that the duration of snake plant poisoning in cats depends on how much saponin they ate. A little bit might not make them vomit or show any symptoms at all, but if they eat a lot then it can have more serious consequences.

How To Protect Yourself & Your Cat From Snake Plant Poisoning 

If you have a cat and also want to keep one or two snake plants, here are some tips for protecting your pet from eating them:

Keep all houseplants out of reach

Put the plant in an area that’s not near any furniture with fabric or upholstery

Move it away from where they usually sleep at night

Learn how to identify the snake plant so you don’t accidentally get one and your kitty doesn’t eat it!

If you find that Snake plants are toxic for cats, (or even dogs!) there is no need to panic. Just keep them out of reach or make sure they’re not near any furniture with fabric or upholstery. Keep in mind that even if they eat the leaves of a toxic houseplant, there is only a small chance their digestive system will absorb enough saponin to have any adverse effect on them.

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