Succulents are becoming popular with home decorations and landscaping due to their beauty and relatively low maintenance. Furthermore, gardening experts say they are relatively easy to grow and are good plants for beginners. Depending on where you live, you can even plant them outside.
As beautiful and fun as these plants are, what about those of us that have pets? If you have the curious housecat that likes to munch on plants, will it be a problem if they get to munching on your succulents? What about your pup playing in your garden? Are Succulents toxic to pets? The answer is maybe, depending on the succulent. Let’s talk about which succulents are harmful to pets, and which ones are considered relatively safe to plant in a pet household.
Succulents that are toxic to pets:
All the succulents listed below can be toxic to pets if chewed on or eaten. If you don’t see a plant listed below, check out the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center or the Pet Poison Helpline websites. Because there are so many different species of plants and succulents, no list is all-inclusive. If your pet got into a plant or succulent and you are in doubt, it’s always best to contact the ASPCA or Animal Poison Control Center, as they have veterinarians on staff that can answer any questions you have.
There are many different species of Agave plants, and besides being a very sharp plant, some of the species have calcium oxalate crystals in their leaves, which can cause excessive drooling, oral irritation, and vomiting and diarrhea.
Aloe Vera is a very popular succulent and it comes in many different species. These popular plants can cause vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea if eaten by pets.
If your pet decides to chew on this pretty plant, it could cause vomiting, depression, and sometimes even cause them to lose their coordination with motor skills.
Also known as the Mother-in-Law plant or the Devil’s Backbone plant, the Kalanchoe has many different species. This plant could cause vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, or even more serious symptoms such as abnormal heart rates, tremors or seizures.
The Moss Rose is a very beautiful succulent; however, it can cause some severe side effects. This plant has calcium oxalate crystals in the leaves, which cause excessive drooling and burning/irritation of the mouth, but it could also cause tremors and even kidney failure.
The Panda Plant has calcium oxalate crystals in the leaves, which can cause intense oral irritation and burning of the mouth, tongue, and lips. Due to it causing major discomfort in the mouth, it can also cause excessive drooling, vomiting, and even difficulty swallowing.
Silver Dollar Plant, AKA Silver Jade Plant, Chinese Jade
The Silver Dollar plant is a species of the Jade Plant and can cause nausea and vomiting.
This beautiful plant can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Succulents that are OK to plant with pets in the household:
The good news is when doing the research, it appears there are far more succulents that are not toxic for pets. Please note: Even though these succulents appear to not be toxic to pets, it is always a good idea to make sure they are out of general reach to your pet. Like with humans, each pet may react differently if they chew or ingest a plant. Pets that chew on plants can still get stomach upset and diarrhea, even if the plant is not toxic. A good example is grass, although it is not “toxic” to pets when eaten they likely will vomit it back up.
Also known as the Thanksgiving Cactus or Easter Cactus, this trailing succulent will bloom beautiful flowers during the holiday season.
Echeveria is probably one of the most popular types of succulents. There are over 30 different species of Echeveria! The blue rose, wax rosette, copper rose, and Mexican snowball are some of the more popular varieties.
The Ghost Plant grows fast and spreads out. It would do well as a hanging potted plant. Although it is not known to be toxic, It does drop its leaves so watch for this around your pets.
The Pearl plant resembles an aloe plant, and it can grow up to 8-12 inches tall!
Sempervivum, (also known as “Hens and Chickens”)
The Sempervivum is another very popular succulent. There are many different beautiful types of Sempervivum. They make decorative groundcover and survive in hot or cold climates if taken care of properly.
Zebra Plant (also known as Haworthia, Zebra Haworthia)
The Zebra Plant’s appearance is like the Pearl Plant but unlike the Pearl Plant, the Zebra Plant usually remains rather small in size.
When it comes to having pets, always make sure to “pet-proof” your house decorations
Whenever you have pets in the household, it is always good to really look around the areas your pet can frequent or has access to. This includes your houseplants! This can be especially tricky for cats, as you can have your houseplants sitting on a nice table or shelf. The plants are off the ground level, however, cats jump and climb, so they may still be able to get to the plants! Keep an eye on your cat to see if they show any signs of being curious about the plants. You could even come up with some creative ways to keep your plants away from your pets by keeping them in a decorative “cage” or terrarium!
If you have plants in your house or if you are thinking about adding one to your house, it is important to know the name and species of the plant. Look up the plant on an animal poison control website to see if they are toxic to your pets. As I mentioned already, just because a plant doesn’t identify as being toxic to a pet does not mean your pet may not react to the plant if eaten. Every pet is different, and some may be more sensitive to diet changes or eating vegetation.
It IS possible to have pets and succulents!
With a little research and some creative decorating, it really is possible to have pets and plants co-exist in your household. Plants can add a lot to your home décor and landscaping, and succulents are no exception! Whether it is indoors or outside, succulents bring a lot of color to the environment and they are known to be a little hardier than other plants and flowers!
What are some creative ways you have kept your plants away from your pets? Let’s hear below in the comments!POSTED ONAUGUST 21, 2019
August 22nd is National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day. That sounds fun, right? Not! Most cat owners would rather go to the dentist to get a root canal than to take their cat to the vet. Whether it is the crying and yowling or even getting kitty back home and being ignored for the next week, most people would rather not even bother with the whole process. A lot of folks feel that they have betrayed their cat, or they put them through a lot of stress by taking them to the vet.
While this may be an unpleasant experience for you and kitty, ensuring your cat gets to the vet at the minimum once a year is crucial for their overall health. Cats are very private creatures and can hide sickness very well, as they had to do so to avoid being preyed upon when they were in the wild. Because cats can be sneaky critters when it comes to not feeling well, it’s up to us as their owners to keep an eye on their overall normal activities. Here is a checklist of things to look for and to discuss when taking your cat to the vet:
Changes in eating, drinking, and litter box habits
Changes in eating, drinking, or using the litter box could be signs of something more serious going on. Things to watch out for would be:
- Have you noticed any changes in eating or drinking? Is kitty all the sudden eating or drinking more or less than usual?
- Is your cat using the litter box appropriately, and not urinating on something they are not supposed to such as the bed, a blanket, or even in front of the litter box?
- When you clean the litter box, do you notice any blood in the stool or urine?
Monitoring your cat’s weight
Has your cat started to gain a lot of weight? Or do they all the sudden look a lot skinnier than normal? These could be signs of dental problems, diabetes or hyperthyroidism, all common medical problems in adult and senior cats.
Changes in Kitty’s behavior
- Is your cat all the sudden more aggressive or grumpy to you or any other family members or pets in the household?
- Does kitty seem more affectionate than usual?
- Is kitty acting lazier than usual? Does kitty sleep a lot more than usual?
Giving your cat an overall pat-down
You should be regularly giving your kitty an overall “pat down” when petting and cuddling with them. This way, you can keep an eye on any sudden changes. Things you should be looking for include:
- Changes in fur/coat- texture, not grooming anymore, hair/skin issues
- Checking for any lumps/bumps
- Is kitty upset about you touching them anywhere on their body, where in the past they haven’t minded you touching them? This could be a sign of discomfort.
Looking in your cat’s mouth
This can be a hard task to do since cats can be feisty.
- It’s important that you check your cat’s teeth and mouth. Cats start to develop dental tartar around 2-3 years of age, and it will get progressively worse as they get older. This can eventually lead to health problems.
- Also, check for any sores in the mouth. You don’t have to stick your fingers in their mouth, just open their mouth a little every once in a while and peek inside. Let your veterinarian know if you notice anything new.
- Keep an eye on your cat’s eating habits, and even how they are eating. If they are suddenly eating their food differently, they may have something going on. Dental problems that are left unaddressed can result in poor health conditions very quickly.
Staying up-to-date with Kitty’s vaccines
Cats need vaccines every 1-3 years. What vaccines they need will depend on their age and lifestyle, as well as the lifestyle of your other pets in the household. It is important to stay up to date with their vaccines to ensure they do not catch any preventable diseases.
Changes in household pets or lifestyle
- Are there any new pets in the household?
- Has kitty now become an indoor/outdoor cat?
- Do you have another cat in the house that is indoor/outdoors?
All of these scenarios are important to consider for your cat’s overall health as changes in household or lifestyle could expose them to new dangers.
Watching for any changes in mobility
Keep an eye on how kitty is moving around and monitor for any changes or difficulties. Like humans, cats can develop arthritis and sore joints.
A little attention can go a long way
Overall, knowing your cat’s normal habits, behaviors and mannerisms can be important to their health. Seeing changes in behavior or appearance can signify something might be going on with kitty’s health, and generally the earlier you can catch things, the more comfortable your cat will be. Annual wellness exams and discussions with your veterinarian will help ensure that your cat lives a comfortable, healthy and happy life.
Just like with us going to the doctor, taking your cat to the vet may not be a fun experience for you or them, but it is a necessity. If you take the cat to the vet when they are feeling well, it will be much less of a traumatic experience for them than if you were to take the kitty to the vet when they were sick. The last thing anyone wants is to be poked, prodded, and touched when we are not feeling well, and your cat is no different. Take this checklist of items with you for kitty’s next wellness exam to ensure you can get the most out of the visit as possible!