Are Succulents Poisonous to Cats

icon October 26, 2023

Succulents have become incredibly popular in recent years, and it's no wonder why. Their unique, often striking appearance and low-maintenance nature make them an attractive choice for both seasoned gardeners and beginners. However, for all the aesthetic appeal and ease of care that succulents offer, there's an important question that needs to be addressed, especially if you're a cat owner: Are succulents poisonous to cats?

The relationship between succulents and cats is a crucial one to understand, as many feline friends have a penchant for chewing on plants. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the world of succulents and their potential toxicity to cats. We'll provide insights into some common succulents, the specific toxins they may contain, signs of poisoning in cats, and tips for keeping your plants and pets safe.

Succulents: A Brief Introduction

Before delving into the topic of succulents and cat safety, it's essential to have a basic understanding of what succulents are and why they've become so popular in recent years.

What Are Succulents

Succulents are a diverse group of plants known for their unique appearance and the ability to store water in their leaves, stems, or roots. This water storage adaptation helps them survive in arid climates and endure drought conditions. Succulents come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, making them a favorite choice for interior decoration, gardens, and landscapes.

Why Succulents Are Popular

The popularity of succulents can be attributed to several factors. They are:

1. Low Maintenance: Succulents require minimal care compared to many other houseplants. Their hardy nature makes them an excellent choice for those with a busy lifestyle or a limited green thumb.

2. Aesthetically Pleasing: Succulents come in a wide array of visually appealing forms, from the rosette-shaped Echeveria to the spiky Agave. Their striking appearance can enhance the beauty of any indoor or outdoor space.

3. Air Purification: Like other plants, succulents can help improve indoor air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. While they might not be as efficient at this as some other houseplants, their air-purifying benefits are still notable.

4. Versatility: Succulents can be grown in various types of containers and settings. Whether you have a garden, window sill, or office desk, there's likely a succulent that will thrive in your chosen environment.

Given their widespread popularity, it's no surprise that many cat owners wonder whether these delightful plants are safe to keep in homes with curious and nibbling feline companions.

Are Succulents Poisonous to Cats

The safety of succulents for cats varies depending on the specific type of succulents and the unique habits of your pet. Some succulents are non-toxic and generally safe to have around cats, while others can pose a danger if ingested. To make an informed decision, let's explore the world of succulents in relation to feline safety.

Cat Safe Succulents

Thankfully, many succulents are non-toxic to cats. These plants can coexist peacefully with your furry friends without causing harm when occasionally nibbled or knocked over. Some common non-toxic succulents include:

1. Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum): These small, rosette-shaped succulents are safe for cats and can be grown both indoors and outdoors.

2. Burro's Tail (Sedum morganianum): Also known as the "donkey tail" plant, this succulent is safe for cats and adds a unique touch to your home with its trailing stems.

3. Zebra Plant (Haworthia fasciata): With its striking white stripes, the zebra plant is not only attractive but also safe for cats.

4. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera spp.): This holiday favorite is not toxic to cats and can provide a burst of color during the festive season.

5. Echeveria: These rosette-shaped succulents come in various colors and are generally safe for cats.

6. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata): While not a true succulent, the snake plant shares many characteristics with succulents and is non-toxic to cats.

These non-toxic succulents can make excellent choices for cat owners looking to add a touch of greenery to their living spaces without worrying about their pet's safety.

Succulents Poisonous To Cats

On the flip side, some succulents contain compounds that can be harmful to cats if ingested. The level of toxicity can vary, and while not all cats will react in the same way, it's essential to be aware of the risks associated with toxic succulents. Common toxic succulents include:

1. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata): Jade plants contain a compound called bufadienolides, which can be toxic to cats and cause vomiting, lethargy, and even more severe symptoms if ingested in large quantities.

2. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller): Aloe vera is well-known for its medicinal properties, but it can be toxic to cats. Ingesting aloe can lead to gastrointestinal upset, including diarrhea and vomiting.

3. Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe spp.): This succulent contains compounds known as bufadienolides, which can cause heart arrhythmias, drooling, and other health issues in cats if consumed.

4. Euphorbia (Euphorbia spp.): Some euphorbia species are highly toxic and can lead to severe health problems, including intense gastrointestinal distress and skin irritation if the plant's latex comes into contact with the cat's skin.

5. Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli): This succulent is part of the Euphorbia family and is toxic to cats due to its milky latex.

6. String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus): This unique trailing succulent is toxic to cats and can cause gastrointestinal issues when ingested.

Understanding which succulents are toxic to cats is a crucial step in ensuring the safety and well-being of your pets. If you have any of these plants and your cat is prone to chewing on greenery, it may be best to keep them out of reach or opt for non-toxic alternatives.

How Do I Stop My Cat From Eating Succulents

To stop your cat from eating succulents, try the following:

1. Provide Alternatives: Offer cat-friendly plants, like cat grass or catnip, as a safe alternative for your cat to chew on.

2. Deterrents: Use pet-safe deterrent sprays around your succulents to discourage your cat from nibbling.

3. Place Succulents Out of Reach: Keep toxic succulents in high, inaccessible places, or use hanging baskets and shelves.

4. Supervise: Monitor your cat's behavior around succulents and intervene when they attempt to chew on them.

5. Consult a Vet: If the behavior persists, consult your veterinarian for further guidance on deterring your cat from eating succulents.

Signs of Poisoning in Cats

If you suspect that your cat has ingested a toxic succulent, it's essential to be vigilant and recognize the signs of poisoning. Common symptoms of succulent poisoning in cats may include:

  • 1. Vomiting: Frequent or severe vomiting can be an early sign of toxicity.
  • 2. Diarrhea: Diarrhea, sometimes with blood, may occur if a cat has ingested a toxic substance.
  • 3. Lethargy: A poisoned cat may become weak, sluggish, or unresponsive.
  • 4. Loss of Appetite: A sudden loss of interest in food or water can be a sign of distress.
  • 5. Drooling: Excessive drooling can be a reaction to the toxic compounds in the plant.
  • 6. Increased Thirst: Some cats may drink more water than usual as a response to ingesting toxins.
  • 7. Behavioral Changes: Agitation or unusual behavior can be a symptom of discomfort.
  • 8. Gastrointestinal Distress: This can include signs of pain, restlessness, and attempts to vomit without success.

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In severe cases of succulent poisoning, a cat may experience more serious symptoms such as tremors, seizures, or a loss of coordination. If you observe any of these signs, contact your veterinarian immediately, providing information about the plant your cat may have ingested to aid in diagnosis and treatment.

Preventing Succulent Poisoning in Cats

Prevention is key to ensuring your cat's safety around succulents. Here are some practical tips to prevent succulent poisoning in your feline friend:

1. Research Your Plants: Before introducing any new succulents to your home, research their toxicity to cats. Make a list of the plants you already have and check their safety status.

2. Keep Toxic Succulents Out of Reach: If you have toxic succulents, place them in locations where your cat cannot access them. Hanging baskets or shelves can be effective options.

3. Use Deterrents: You can apply pet-safe deterrent sprays or substances around your succulents to discourage your cat from nibbling.

4. Observe Your Cat: Keep an eye on your cat's behavior around succulents. If you notice they have a habit of chewing or playing with plants, take extra precautions.

5. Provide Safe Alternatives: To redirect your cat's attention, consider adding cat-friendly plants like cat grass or catnip to your home.

6. Cat-Proofing Your Garden: If you have succulents outdoors, make sure your garden is cat-friendly by creating designated play areas and providing safe plants for your pet to explore.

7. Consult a Vet: If you're unsure about the safety of your plants or if you suspect your cat has ingested something toxic, consult your veterinarian for guidance.

8. Education: Educate yourself and your family members about the potential risks associated with specific succulents and the importance of keeping them away from cats.

By taking these precautions and being aware of the plants in your home, you can help create a safe and enjoyable environment for both your succulents and your cat.


Succulents have undeniably become a beloved addition to many homes, offering aesthetic beauty and ease of care. However, their interaction with cats presents a significant concern. While many succulents are non-toxic and safe for feline companions, some can be harmful when ingested. It is crucial for cat owners to research the succulents they have and to be vigilant about their pets' behavior around these plants. Understanding the potential dangers and signs of poisoning can make all the difference in ensuring your cat's safety and well-being.

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