Are Calatheas Toxic To Cats?

Are Calatheas Toxic To Cats? Or are they a safe treat? Let’s dig into the scientific facts of your feline safety!

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Are Calatheas Toxic To Cats? If you’re a feline-loving plant parent, this question might have kept you on the edge of your seat. Well, you need not worry. We’ll separate fact from fiction by the end of this informative guide, helping you with some practical tips on creating a safe haven for both your plants and the curious cats!

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What Are Calatheas?

Calatheas are a hit among plant lovers, and it’s easy to see why. These “prayer plants” really know how to put on a show with their stunning leaf patterns and vibrant colors. Whether it’s deep purples or bright greens, they add an artistic touch to any indoor space. The plant earns its name from a circadian rhythm known as nyctinasty, where their leaves elegantly fold upwards at dusk to resemble hands in prayer and spread out again at dawn.

Not just that! They’re pretty low-maintenance, too. All they really need is low to medium light and high humidity, making them perfect for busy gardeners who can deck these in a kitchen or bathroom and forget them for a while!

Are Calatheas Toxic To Cats?

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Good news for cat owners! Calatheas are non-toxic to cats.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Calatheas are not listed among plants that are poisonous to cats. There’s no scientific evidence to support the presence of toxic alkaloids or insoluble calcium oxalates in the plant’s composition—common toxic elements dangerous to felines.

These elegant indoor plants won’t pose a threat to your feline companions if they decide just to explore or nibble on them. However, it’s still a good practice to keep them from chewing the leaves in large amounts, as they might occassionally face digestive issues or nausea.

Why Do Cats Nibble On Houseplants?

Ever wondered why your curious cat can’t resist nibbling on your houseplants? It’s a mystery with multiple dimensions:

  • Curiosity Quotient: Cats are born explorers. They chew on plants to uncover the secrets of their surroundings.
  • Nature’s Digestive Trick: Some experts suggest that cats munch on plants to aid in digesting hairballs. The plant fibers act as a natural laxative, helping in their smooth elimination through stools.
  • Nutrient Quest: Cats possess an innate instinct to seek out extra nutrients. They might nibble on plants, searching for those elusive vitamins or minerals their diet seems to lack.
  • Battle Against Boredom: When boredom creeps in, your feline friend might turn to your leafy companions for entertainment. Chewing plants can be a pastime in their world.
  • Sensory Pleasures: For some cats, it’s all about the sensory experience. They savor the texture and taste of certain plants, much like indulging in a natural form of entertainment.

Should you find your cat frequently indulging in this green habit and have concerns about their behavior, your trusted veterinarian can provide valuable insights on managing this fascinating feline trait.

Safe & Unsafe Houseplants For Cats

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When it comes to welcoming houseplants into your home, keeping your feline companions’ well-being in mind is paramount. Here’s your guide to toxic and non-toxic indoor plants for cats:

Feline Safe Choices:

  • Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum): Not only is this houseplant visually appealing, but it’s also a safe addition to your home, providing a breath of fresh air.
  • Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens): These palms are both aesthetically pleasing and cat-friendly, making them a delightful indoor green companion.
  • Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata): Bringing lush greenery to your living space, these ferns offer both visual appeal and safety for your feline friends.
  • African Violet (Saintpaulia): Compact and colorful, these plants are a hit with cats and a charming addition to your home.
  • Bamboo (Bambusoideae): Lucky Bamboo is not only a symbol of good fortune but also a safe choice that adds an exotic touch to your decor.

Plants that are Unsafe for Cats:

However, not all greenery is cat-friendly. Here are some plant varieties to approach with caution:

  • Lilies (Lilium and Hemerocallis): Highly toxic to cats, ingestion can lead to severe kidney failure.
  • Pothos (Epipremnum aureum): Causes oral irritation and excessive drooling when ingested by cats.
  • Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia spp.): Leads to symptoms like oral irritation, intense burning, and difficulty swallowing if consumed by cats.
  • Philodendron (Philodendron spp.): Can cause oral irritation, drooling, and difficulty swallowing when ingested by cats.
  • Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta): Extremely toxic to cats, ingestion can result in severe liver failure.

Tips To Keep Cats Away From Houseplants

Here’s your palette of techniques to create a harmonious place for both your plants and cat.

  • Provide an Alternative: Catnip, with its magical compound nepetalactone, casts a spell on many cats. Redirect your cat’s fascination by introducing catnip-infused toys or sprays, providing an irresistible alternative.
  • Invest in Cat-Repellent Sprays: Ward off plant-chewing with a pet-safe bitter apple spray. Cats dislike the taste, and this discourages their exploration. Alternatively, try placing double-sided tape at the plant’s base, creating a sticky deterrent zone.
  • Elevate and Hang Plants: Strategically position your houseplants on high shelves or elegant plant stands, beyond your cat’s inquisitive reach. You can also suspend your plants from ceilings or wall hooks, keeping them out of reach.
  • Guarding the Soil: Foil your cat’s digging endeavors by concealing the plant’s soil with rocks, pine cones, or aluminum foil. Try Cats dislike the texture and reflective surface.
  • Utilize Citrus Peels: Cats generally dislike the smell of citrus. Place lemon or orange peels around your plants to deter them.
  • Embrase Positive Reinforcement: When you catch your cat nibbling on plants, respond with a gentle “No” to curb the behavior. Then reward good behavior with treats or praise, reinforcing their positive actions.


In conclusion, our calatheas are safe for cats. They can happily nibble on its lush leaves; however, keeping them at a safe distance would be a wise take, to avoid any occassional health hazards. You can employ certain measures to ensure your pet stays away from houseplants, such as hanging them at elevated levels, using cat deterrant sprays or offering them green alternatives.

If you ever suspect that your cat has indulged in a potentially harmful plant or exhibits unusual symptoms, reach out to your veterinarian asap.

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