Cat owners know that there are many plants we should not have in our homes, lest our cats chew on them and get sick, or even die. Easter lilies, amaryllis, chrysanthemum, hyacinths and tulips are just a few. If someone has recently given you a money tree plant, you might wonder, is it safe to be around my cat? We will talk about the safety of money trees to cats here.
What, Exactly, Is a Money Tree Plant?
For those of you who are like me and not plant-savvy, you might never have heard of a money tree plant. Money tree plants are tropical plants with bright green leaves and braided stems. They look like miniature trees, and have attracted many cats to them with their enticing, hanging leaves.
Will Cats Eat Money Tree Plants?
Cats love plants, even though they are obligate carnivores (which basically means they eat meat by necessity, in order to survive). Cats may be attracted to plants as they see them as toys, biting and pawing at their leaves just like they would attack a feather wand toy. Bored cats will try to turn anything into a toy, so keeping your cat entertained will hopefully help to keep your money tree plant intact and free from cat bites. Some cats might just like the taste of plants and want to eat them for that reason, like they will chew on grass if they are outside. This is an instinctual behavior that has likely evolved over centuries, and might have kept parasites down in its wild ancestors.
Will Money Tree Plants Hurt Cats?
Money tree plants are not considered toxic to cats. However, cats should not be encouraged to eat a money tree plant. The plant won’t fare well, for one thing, and will likely die if chomped on with your cat’s incisors or pawed by your cat’s claws too often. Also, some money tree plants might have been treated with fertilizer, pesticide and other additives that can be dangerous to cats. Additives in the soil can also be harmful to cats. If you have a money tree plant, it’s a good idea to keep it away from your cat.
How Can I Keep My Cat Away From My Money Tree?
If you have a naturally curious cat (and who doesn’t?) who has made a habit of getting into your houseplants before, don’t think you have to throw your plants away. Because a money tree plant is large, you might not be able to place it outside of your cat’s reach. But, you can sprinkle non-toxic substances around it that are repellant but safe to cats. These include cayenne pepper, black pepper, cloves, citrus oils, curry, banana peels, and mustard powder. If you give your cat a pot of catnip or cat grass to snack on instead, this could also help to keep them away from your money tree plant.
What Are Some House and Garden Plants That Are Toxic to Cats?
While we are on the subject of plants that your cat should or should not eat, here is a brief, not all-inclusive list of some house plants and garden plants that are toxic to cats and that cat owners should avoid having near cats or consider keeping them out of their homes altogether:
- Lillies – One of the most toxic plants to cats, ingestion of lilies can cause immediate kidney failure
- Jade- A succulent plant, jade is toxic to cats.
- Eucalyptus – The eucalyptus plant and oils are both toxic to cats, as to most species of animals (except koalas and a few wild birds)
- Onion – Onions, garlic, leeks, scallions, shallots and chives are toxic to both cats and dogs
- Milkweed – The fruit of a milkweed plant is toxic to cats, dogs and humans
- Hyacinth – Although they smell sweet, hyacinths contain alkaloids that are toxic to cats
- Daffodil – The flowers, leaves and bulbs of daffodils are all poisonous to cats
- Tomato – While the fruit of the tomato is safe for cats, the stem and leaves of the tomato plant can be toxic
- Azalea – The entire azalea plant can be toxic to cats, and can cause gastrointestinal, cardiovascular or central nervous system problems
- Mandrake – The mandrake root is toxic to both cats and humans
- Mistletoe – Don’t place mistletoe where your cat can reach it at Christmastime, as it can be toxic and lead to cardiovascular problems in cats
- Philodendron- Philodendron leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals which can irritate a cat’s gastrointestinal tract and cause issues
- Oleander – All parts of this plant are extremely toxic to cats, with compounds that attack the heart, gastrointestinal and nervous systems
- Poinsettia – While not toxic to cats, a white substance inside poinsettia leaves and stems can make cats sick