Snake plant is a relatively common indoor and outdoor plant that is easy to grow and has very thick leaves and clustered flowers. It can grow to be pretty tall or stay little, so it’s pretty versatile.
As a result of it being easy to find, it’s also easy to see how it would cross paths with other pets. Cats can and will chew on plants – it doesn’t do anything for them nutritionally speaking, but it does help to satisfy an urge to chew, and the roughage can act as fiber.
As a result, many indoor plants often bear the tooth holes of a curious cat! If you have a snake plant, is this okay, or should you worry? Can cats eat snake plants?
Short answer: No, cats cannot and should not eat snake plants. It’s toxic along with other plants such as aloe and tulips. It is not as severely toxic as plants like lilies, but it still will likely make your cat ill.
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Do Cats Like Snake Plants?
Fortunately, most cats will probably not go back for a second bite once they have had the first one. The snake plant is quite bitter and leaves a burning sensation in the mouth.
This is due to the natural insecticide found in the plant which also works quite well to drive off other things that might try to eat it.
On top of that, there is the fact that cats aren’t driven to eat plants anyway, so once they taste how bitter it is, curiosity is satisfied, and most cats will stay well away after that.
Do Cats Hate Snake Plants?
They most likely would after having a bite of it! It’s a thick, bitter plant that leaves a burning sensation behind and then makes cats feel sick. Most of them would probably steer well clear after one bite. And since this plant is toxic, that’s just as well.
Can Eating Snake Plants Kill My Cat?
Snake plant contains a compound called Saponin which acts as a natural insect and fungus repellent (this is why it makes a good indoor plant, combined with the fact that it is good at cleaning air). The Saponin is toxic to pretty well any living creature and the juice of the plant also can cause rashes or irritation.
Fortunately, unless your pet is allergic to it causing swelling in the esophagus, the reaction to eating snake plants is uncomfortable, but far from fatal.
Symptoms of ingesting snake plant include:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Depression and lethargy
If you notice swelling in the lips or mouth, it’s best to get your cat to a vet as quickly as possible because the swelling may impede your cat’s ability to eat and breathe.
The other symptoms should clear up on their own after a few days, but if not, talk to your vet, or take your cat to the vet if they get worse. Be prepared to bring in the history of what your cat has been eating (or has been suspected of eating), the symptoms, and how long they have been lasting.
Now, if your cat decided that a bitter, burning plant is the best thing ever, they can eat enough to get extremely ill and in need of veterinary attention to getting the snake plant out of your cat.
Some cats are also very allergic to the plant which can cause swelling in the esophagus and cause asphyxiation. This isn’t terribly common, but it can happen and must be watched for.
In this case, your cat may have to stay with the vet overnight for observation and may require more treatment to prevent dehydration.
How Many Snake Plants Can My Cat Eat?
How Do I Keep My Cats From Eating My Snake Plants?
Snake plants are popular indoor plants because they are low maintenance and pretty, so you cannot be blamed for wanting one in your house! How can you keep your cat from turning it into food and then getting sick?
- Move the plant to an area of the house that your cat cannot reach, somewhere high and hard to get to
- Have it in a room where the door is shut so your cat cannot get in
- Use citrus as a pet repellent by squeezing it on the pots. This keeps pets at bay and doesn’t hurt the plant.
- Grow cat grass and use that to distract your cat away from your pets
- Sprinkle cinnamon in the soil. This repels cats and insects and won’t hurt the plant
- Keep your plant outdoors and your cat indoors. (Snake plant grows just as happily outside as inside after all)
- Train your cat to stay away using a spray bottle of water to discourage them
- Keep your cat more mentally stimulated with toys, perches, and scratching posts so that they aren’t chewing your plants out of boredom.
These things might not work perfectly all the time, but taken together, many of them should work to keep your cat away from your plants.
Combined with the fact that it is very bitter, most cats should only have a single run-in with it and the discomfort alone should dissuade them from eating it again.
But since you never know with cats, it’s important to make your plants hard to reach and train your cat to stay away from them.
Some indoor plants are perfectly fine for cats to nibble on and in fact, can satisfy some cravings. But a lot of ornamental indoor plants, including snake plants, are toxic and can make your cat feel pretty awful.
By using distractions, planting safe to chew plants, and making sure your plants are inaccessible, you can greatly reduce the run-ins between plant and cat, and both can live a healthy, longer life in your home.
Has your cat ever eaten a snake plant? Did it learn its lesson after that, or did you have to step in to protect the cat and the plant?
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.