Are Snake Plants Toxic to Cats: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re a plant lover who’s planning to get a cat (or already have one), you should know that most plants are safe for cats. However, most is not all.

Snake plants are the top choice for house decoration, thanks to their ability to thrive with low exposure to light and modest need for watering. However, you should avoid planting them in the presence of pets—especially cats.So, are snake plants toxic to cats? How can you prevent felines from chewing your snake plants and harming themselves? Read on to find out.

Learn in This Article

  • Are Snake Plants Toxic to Cats
  • What Happens If a Cat Bites a Snake Plant
  • What to Do If Your Cat Eats a Snake Plant
  • How to Keep Your Cat Away From Snake Plants

Are Snake Plants Toxic to Cats

Also known as Dracaena Trifasciata, snake plants are resilient and low-maintenance. However, these popular plants are not the best choice if you live with cats—here’s why.

Snake plants contain saponin, a toxin that serves as a defense mechanism against fungi, insects, and microbes—making snake plants poisonous to cats.

What Happens If a Cat Bites a Snake Plant

Once the leaf is bitten, the plant starts releasing saponin. Although small amounts of saponin aren’t considered harmful, high quantities of this toxin can cause severe issues for your cat.

So, it’s true that snake plant is not particularly safe for cats; however, the likelihood of a fatal outcome is very low, as cats will most likely ingest a minimal part of the toxin and spit out the rest because of its unpleasant taste.

In this case, the cat will feel sick for a couple of days, experiencing some of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Depression,
  • Abdominal discomfort or pain,
  • Excessive drooling,
  • Loss of appetite, and
  • Swollen mouth and throat.

If your cat has some sort of chronic illness on top of ingesting saponin, these symptoms might be more severe.

What to Do If Your Cat Eats a Snake Plant

As the snake plant contains a high level of toxicity, it’s crucial to act on sight.

In fact, if you suspect your cat ingested saponin from your snake plant, it’s recommended to contact the veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet will examine the situation and most likely prescribe antihistamines and other medications to aid your cat’s upset stomach.

How to Keep Your Cat Away From Snake Plants

Cats are attracted to chewing plants, and the toxic snake grass plant is no exception. But now that we know it’s not particularly smart to let them munch on this particular plant, let’s explore some of the most common methods you can use to distract them from this behavior.

🪴 Relocate the Plant

The best way to prevent your cat from getting close to your snake plant is to relocate it to a closed room away from its habitual living space (eating area, litter box, furnishings, etc.). This way, you won’t have to worry about your cat when you can’t keep an eye on it.

What’s more, snake plants won’t suffer from the lack of brightness. In fact, these plants don’t require a lot of natural light and are generally low-maintenance.

🪴 Place the Plant on a Shelf

If you don’t want to deprive your plant of natural sunlight, you may want to consider placing it on a stand or isolated shelf out of your cat’s reach.

🪴 Use Repellents on Your Plant

You can consider surrounding the snake plant with smells that cats find unpleasant. For example, many cats detest the scent of citrus. In this case, you may use lemon juice or zest, limes, and oranges to keep them away.

Additionally, you may find citrus spray specifically designed for pets on the market. Cinnamon or cayenne pepper can also be excellent repellents for cats.

🪴 Consider Buying Cat Grass

If your cat enjoys nibbling on leaves, you may provide a safer alternative. Cat grass is safe for cats to gnaw on and graze on, and it’s simple to maintain and cultivate. An extra benefit is that cat grass has essential minerals and fiber, making it a healthy snack.

Surprisingly, cat grass is not a plant but rather a grass combination developed from seeds such as wheat, rye, barley, or oats.

🪴 Give Your Cats Alternatives

Cats don’t always look for houseplants to nibble; sometimes, they may simply need something to chew. Cats are indeed playful creatures who constantly look for cerebral stimulation.

If you provide them with a catnip toy to chew on and play with, they may lose interest in your snake plant. Not only can this cause a distraction, but it will relieve your cat’s anxiety. Cats usually mellow out and become much calmer after a few minutes of playing with a catnip toy.

Are Snake Plants Toxic to Cats: Key Takeaways

  • As it contains saponin, a snake plant can be poisonous to cats if ingested in large quantities.
  • If your cat ingests the saponin toxin, it may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and depression for a couple of days.
  • Veterinarians usually prescribe antihistamines and other medications to help your cat’s upset stomach.
  • Consider relocating the snake plant, putting it on a shelf, or distracting your cat with a catnip toy.