Are Money Tree Plants Toxic for Cats?: A Safe Choice 

Are you a cat owner who loves to fill your home with green plants? If so, you might wonder if your Money Tree Plant is safe for your furry friend. Money Tree Plants, known scientifically as Pachira Aquatica, are popular houseplants admired for their braided trunks and vibrant leaves. While many common houseplants can pose a risk to pets, the good news is that Money Tree Plants are generally considered non-toxic to cats. This makes them an excellent choice for pet-friendly households. 

However, it’s still important to understand plant safety and how to protect your cat from potential hazards. 

In this article, we’ll explore why Money Tree Plants are a safe choice for homes with cats and provide tips on keeping your indoor garden both beautiful and safe for your feline companions.

About plant toxicity to pets

As pet owners, we strive to create a safe and nurturing environment for our furry friends. However, many common houseplants can pose hidden dangers. Understanding plant toxicity is crucial because certain plants contain substances that can be harmful or even fatal to pets if ingested. Symptoms of plant poisoning can range from mild stomach upset to severe reactions like difficulty breathing, seizures, or organ failure. Being informed about which plants are toxic prevents accidental poisonings and ensures your home is a haven. Additionally, knowing which plants are safe allows you to enjoy the beauty of indoor gardening without compromising your pet’s health. Informed decisions about houseplants are a vital part of responsible pet ownership, helping to protect your pets from potential hazards and ensuring their well-being.

What is a Money Tree Plant?

The Money Tree Plant, scientifically known as Pachira aquatica, is a popular houseplant admired for its unique appearance and low maintenance requirements. It is also known as the malabar, Guiana, or Saba nut.

Scientific NamePachira aquatica
SymbolismAssociated with good luck and prosperity in Feng Shui
Indoor HeightTypically remains much smaller than in natural habitat
Natural HabitatTropical wetlands
DescriptionDistinctive braided trunk, bright green glossy leaves, palmate leaf structure
OriginCentral and South America
Common NamesMoney Tree Plant, Malabar Chestnut, Guiana Chestnut, Saba Nut

Description and Origin

The Money Tree Plant is native to the tropical wetlands of Central and South America. It features a distinctive braided trunk, which growers often cultivate to enhance its decorative appeal. The leaves are bright green, glossy, and palmate, resembling the fingers of an open hand. This plant can grow quite tall in its natural habitat, reaching heights up to 60 feet. However, it typically remains much smaller when grown indoors, making it an ideal houseplant. The Money Tree Plant is cherished for its beauty and reputation in Feng Shui, where it is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to its owners.

Read our post to repot your money plant: How to Report a Money Plant for Optimal Growth? 

The Popularity of Money Tree Plants

The Popularity of Money Tree Plants

Money Tree Plants have surged in popularity among indoor plant enthusiasts for several reasons. Their unique aesthetic appeal is a significant factor. The braided trunk and lush green leaves create a striking visual that complements various interior design styles. Money Tree Plants adds a natural elegance, whether in a modern apartment or a traditional home.

Beyond their beauty, Money Tree Plants are also cherished for their benefits in Feng Shui. According to this ancient Chinese practice, these plants are believed to bring good luck, prosperity, and positive energy to the home. This association with financial success and well-being has made them popular for homes and offices.

Another reason for their widespread popularity is their low maintenance requirements. Money Tree Plants are relatively easy to care for, making them ideal for busy individuals or those new to plant care. They thrive in indirect light and only need to be watered when the top inch of soil is dry. Their resilience and adaptability contribute to their status as a favoured houseplant.

Why Cats Like to Eat Money Tree Plants?

Cats are naturally curious creatures, and their fascination with houseplants, including Money Tree Plants, can be attributed to several reasons:

1. Curiosity and Exploration Cats love to explore their surroundings, and houseplants are no exception. The leaves’ texture, smell, and movement can entice a cat to investigate by chewing or pawing at the plant.

2. Nutritional Deficiencies Sometimes, cats eat plants to compensate for certain nutritional deficiencies. They might be seeking specific vitamins or minerals that are not in their regular diet.

3. Digestive Aid Cats may chew on plants to help with digestion or to induce vomiting if they have ingested something that upsets their stomachs. This behaviour is often instinctual and can be traced back to their wild ancestors.

4. Teething and Dental Health Young cats or kittens may chew on plants to relieve teething discomfort. Chewing can also help maintain dental health by cleaning their teeth and gums.

5. Attention-Seeking Behavior Cats might also eat plants to get your attention. If a cat learns that chewing on a plant results in immediate attention from their owner, whether positive or negative, it might repeat the behaviour to elicit a reaction.

6. Boredom or Stress: A bored or stressed cat might turn to plants for entertainment or stress relief. Providing plenty of toys, interactive play, and mental stimulation can help reduce this behaviour.

7. Taste and Texture: Some cats enjoy the taste or texture of certain plants. The leaves of a Money Tree Plant might be particularly appealing to a cat due to their texture and mild flavour.

Toxicity Level of Money Tree Plants (Pachira aquatica)

Money Tree Plants (Pachira aquatica) are generally considered non-toxic to pets, including cats and dogs. Ingestion of a small amount of the plant is unlikely to cause severe symptoms or adverse effects.

  • Low Toxicity: Money Tree Plants are categorized as having low toxicity. They do not contain harmful compounds such as alkaloids or saponins in quantities that would pose a significant risk to pets or humans if ingested.
  • Mild Gastrointestinal Upset: If a pet nibbles on a leaf, it might experience mild gastrointestinal discomfort, such as drooling, mild vomiting, or mild diarrhea. However, these symptoms are usually temporary and resolve independently without medical intervention.
  • Safety Considerations: While the plant’s toxicity level is low, monitoring pets and ensuring they are not excessively chewing on houseplants is essential. Preventive measures, such as placing plants out of reach or using deterrents, can help minimize the chances of ingestion.

Money Plants That Are Toxic to Pets

Money Plants That Are Toxic to Pets

When discussing “Money Plants,” it’s essential to differentiate between the commonly known Pachira aquatica, often referred to as the Money Tree Plant and other houseplants that may have the word “money” in their name but are not as safe for pets.

  1. Devil’s Ivy (Pothos): While not directly related to Money Tree Plants, Devil’s Ivy, or Pothos, is commonly mistaken for a Money Plant. Pothos can be toxic to pets, causing symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, and even difficulty breathing if ingested.
  2. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia): Another popular houseplant, the ZZ Plant, contains oxalates that can be toxic to pets if ingested. Symptoms may include drooling, vomiting, and discomfort in the mouth.
  3. Neon Pothos (Epipremnum aureum): Another variation of Pothos, this plant can also be harmful to pets, causing similar symptoms of gastrointestinal distress and possible irritation.

Are Money Tree Plants Toxic to Cats?

Are Money Tree Plants Toxic to Cats?

Money Tree Plants, scientifically known as Pachira aquatica, are generally considered non-toxic to cats. This makes them a popular choice for households with pets, as they do not contain harmful compounds that could endanger your feline friend. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Non-Toxic Nature: Unlike many houseplants that pose significant risks to pets, Money Tree Plants do not have toxic alkaloids, glycosides, or saponins, which are commonly found in other harmful plants.
  • Safe for Cats: Cats that nibble on a Money Tree Plant are unlikely to experience severe adverse effects. Some cats might have a mild stomach upset if they ingest large amounts, but this is generally rare.
  • Expert Opinions: Veterinarians and plant experts agree that Money Tree Plants are a safe option for homes with cats and are often recommended as pet-friendly houseplants.
  • Preventive Measures: Although non-toxic, monitoring your cat’s interaction with any plant is always good practice. Discouraging excessive chewing can help maintain both your plant’s health and your cat’s well-being.

Are Chinese Money Plants Toxic to Pets?

Are Chinese Money Plants Toxic to Pets?

Chinese Money Plants (Pilea peperomioides), also known as UFO or Pancake Plants, are popular houseplants due to their unique appearance and ease of care. Regarding their safety for pets, Chinese Money Plants are generally considered non-toxic.

  • Non-Toxic Nature: These plants do not contain harmful compounds like alkaloids or saponins that are typically toxic to pets. Therefore, if a pet, such as a cat or dog, nibbles on a leaf, they are unlikely to experience severe adverse effects.
  • Minimal Risk: While Chinese Money Plants are generally safe, monitoring your pets, especially if they are interested in chewing on plants, is essential. Some mild gastrointestinal upset might occur if a pet ingests a small amount, but severe symptoms are uncommon.
  • Precautionary Measures: Plants placed out of your pet’s reach, such as on high shelves or in hanging baskets, can help minimize the chances of ingestion. Additionally, deterrents or barriers can discourage pets from getting too close to the plants.

Signs of Plant Poisoning in Cats

Behavioural Changes

  • Lethargy: A usually active cat might become unusually inactive or subdued.
  • Excessive grooming: A cat might groom itself more than usual, possibly due to discomfort or irritation.
  • Aggression or irritability: Some cats may exhibit aggression or a change in behaviour if they feel unwell or uncomfortable.

Physical Symptoms

  • Vomiting: This is a common sign of plant poisoning in cats.
  • Diarrhoea: Loose stools or diarrhoea can occur due to plant ingestion.
  • Drooling: Increased salivation can be a sign of oral discomfort.
  • Loss of appetite: A cat may refuse food or show less interest.
  • Abdominal pain: A cat may exhibit signs of discomfort when touched or moved in a way that suggests abdominal pain.
  • Difficulty breathing: In severe cases, plant poisoning can affect the respiratory system, leading to difficulty breathing.

What Happens If Cats Eat Money Tree Plants?

Cats are naturally curious, and sometimes they might nibble on houseplants, including Money Tree Plants (Pachira aquatica). Here’s what to expect:

  1. Non-Toxic Nature: Money Tree Plants are generally considered non-toxic to cats. This means that if a cat nibbles on a small amount of the plant, it typically wouldn’t cause severe symptoms or require immediate medical attention.
  2. Mild Stomach Upset: In some cases, if a cat ingests a small amount of the plant, they might experience mild gastrointestinal upset. This could include symptoms like drooling, mild vomiting, or mild diarrhoea.
  3. Minimal Adverse Effects: The effects of eating a Money Tree Plant on a cat are usually minimal, especially compared to other potentially harmful houseplants. Most cats that chew on the plant may not show noticeable symptoms.
  4. Monitor Your Cat: After your cat has been in contact with the plant, it’s essential to monitor it for any unusual behavior or symptoms. If you notice persistent or severe symptoms, consider consulting your veterinarian.
  5. Prevention is Key: To avoid these situations, consider placing plants in areas out of your cat’s reach or using deterrents to keep them away from the plant.

How Do I Keep My Pets From Eating My Plants?

Keeping your pets from munching on your houseplants can be challenging, but there are several effective strategies you can use:

1. Place Plants Out of Reach Position your plants in areas that are difficult for your pets to access. Use high shelves, hanging baskets, or plant stands to elevate your plants out of your pet’s reach.

2. Use Pet-Repellent Sprays Various pet-safe sprays are available that can deter pets from chewing on plants. Citrus-based sprays are particularly effective, as many pets dislike the smell of citrus.

3. Provide Alternative Greens Offer your pets safe alternatives like cat grass or catnip. These can satisfy their urge to chew on plants and divert their attention away from your houseplants.

4. Use Physical Barriers Place physical barriers around your plants. Decorative stones, wire mesh, or plant cages can prevent your pets from getting too close to the plants.

5. Train Your Pets Use positive reinforcement training to teach your pets to avoid the plants. Reward them with treats and praise when they avoid them, and gently redirect them when they show interest in them.

6. Create a Distraction-Free Zone. Designate an area in your home free of plants where your pets can play and explore without the temptation of nibbling on foliage. Fill this space with toys and pet-friendly activities.

7. Ensure Proper Nutrition Sometimes, pets chew on plants due to nutritional deficiencies. Ensure your pets get a well-balanced diet with all the necessary vitamins and minerals.

8. Use Bitter-Tasting Solutions Apply a bitter-tasting solution to your plants’ leaves. These solutions are safe for plants and pets and can discourage chewing due to their unpleasant taste.

9. Monitor and Redirect: Watch your pets when they are near your plants. If they show interest in chewing, gently redirect them to a more appropriate activity or toy.

First Aid for Plant Poisoning in Cats

  1. Remove Plant Material: If you suspect your cat has ingested a toxic plant, remove any remaining plant material from their mouth if possible.
  2. Offer Water: Provide fresh water to help flush out any remaining toxins.
  3. Monitor Behavior: Monitor your cat for signs of distress or worsening symptoms.
  4. Call a Veterinarian: Contact your veterinarian for advice, especially if symptoms persist or worsen.

Home Remedies

  • Activated Charcoal: Administering activated charcoal may help absorb ingested toxins, but consult with a veterinarian before using it.
  • Pumpkin Puree: Some pet owners use plain pumpkin puree to soothe digestive upset, but it should only be given under veterinary supervision.

Emergency Care Tips

  • Seek Veterinary Attention: If symptoms are severe or persistent, immediately take your cat to a veterinary clinic.
  • Provide Information: If possible, inform the veterinarian of the suspected plant ingested and the amount.
  • Treatment: The veterinarian may administer medications or treatments, such as inducing vomiting or administering activated charcoal, to help neutralize the effects of the toxin.

Long-Term Care for Cats After Poisoning

Recovery Tips

  1. Follow Veterinary Guidance: When a cat has experienced poisoning, following the veterinarian’s advice closely is essential. This may include administering medications, dietary changes, or treatments that support liver and kidney function.
  2. Dietary Adjustments: Depending on the type and severity of poisoning, your veterinarian may recommend a special diet to support recovery. This diet may include easy-to-digest foods that are low in fat and protein.
  3. Hydration: Ensure your cat has access to fresh water at all times. Proper hydration helps with the detoxification process and supports overall health.
  4. Rest: Provide a quiet, comfortable space for your cat to rest and recover. Avoid stressful environments and ensure they feel safe and secure.
  5. Environmental Modifications: Make changes to your home environment to prevent future exposure to toxic plants or substances. Keep plants out of reach, and ensure cleaning products and chemicals are stored securely.

Monitoring Your Cat’s Health

  1. Regular Vet Visits: Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor your cat’s overall health and detect potential issues early.
  2. Observe Behavior: Pay close attention to changes in behaviour or physical symptoms. This could include changes in eating habits, energy levels, grooming behaviour, or any unusual symptoms.
  3. Weight Checks: Monitor your cat’s weight regularly. Weight changes can indicate health issues that need attention.
  4. Lab Tests: Depending on the type and extent of poisoning, your veterinarian may recommend regular blood tests to monitor liver and kidney function.
  5. Environmental Safety: Ensure your cat’s environment remains safe by removing potential hazards or toxic substances that could risk their health.


Are Money Tree Plants safe for cats?

Yes, Money Tree Plants (Pachira aquatica) are generally considered non-toxic to cats. Mild stomach upset may occur if a cat ingests a small amount, but severe symptoms are rare.

What should I do if my cat has ingested Money Tree Plant leaves?

Monitor your cat for any discomfort, such as drooling or mild vomiting. If symptoms persist or worsen, contact your veterinarian for advice.

How can I prevent my cat from eating my Money Tree Plant?

Place your plant out of reach, use pet-repellent sprays, offer safe alternatives like cat grass, and provide plenty of toys and mental stimulation to redirect their attention.

Can other houseplants harm cats?

Yes, some houseplants, such as Pothos or ZZ Plants, can be toxic to cats. Always research plant safety and keep potentially harmful plants out of reach.

Should I be concerned if my cat occasionally nibbles on a plant?

Occasional nibbles may not cause severe harm, but monitoring your cat’s behaviour and ensuring they do not do large quantities is essential. Our plants should also be cleaned periodically to create a safe environment.


Understanding plant safety is crucial for responsible pet ownership. Money Tree Plants are generally non-toxic to cats, but being vigilant about potential plant-related hazards is essential. By taking preventive measures, such as placing plants out of reach and monitoring your pet’s behaviour, you can create a safe environment for your furry friend and indoor greenery.

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