Are Spider Plants Toxic to Cats? Safe Houseplants

If you’re a cat owner, you know how curious and mischievous our feline friends can be. Their natural curiosity often leads them to explore every nook and cranny of our homes, including our beloved houseplants. One plant that frequently catches their attention is the spider plant, known for its cascading green leaves. But as a responsible pet owner, you might wonder: are spider plants toxic to cats? 

Understanding the safety of plants around pets is crucial, as some plants can pose serious health risks. This article will explore whether spider plants are safe for cats, what symptoms to look out for if your cat has ingested part of the plant, and how to ensure a cat-friendly environment at home. By the end, you’ll clearly understand how to keep your furry friend safe while still enjoying the beauty of indoor greenery.

What Are Spider Plants? 

What Are Spider Plants? 

Scientifically known as Chlorophytum comosum, Spider plants are popular houseplants cherished for their attractive appearance and easy maintenance. They feature long, arching leaves that are typically green with white stripes, giving them a distinctive, elegant look. Native to South Africa, spider plants thrive in various indoor environments, making them a favorite among plant enthusiasts.

One notable benefit of spider plants is their air-purifying ability. They help remove pollutants like formaldehyde and xylene from the air, contributing to a healthier indoor atmosphere. Additionally, spider plants produce small white flowers that can develop into baby plants, or “siderites,” which dangle from the mother plant, adding to their charm.

These hardy and adaptable plants tolerate light conditions and require minimal care. They prefer well-draining soil and moderate watering, making them ideal for novice and experienced gardeners. With their combination of beauty and functionality, spider plants are a delightful addition to any home.

Why Spider Plants May Seem Harmful

Spider plants, while generally non-toxic to cats, can sometimes appear harmful due to several factors:

  1. Mild Gastrointestinal Upset: When cats nibble on spider plants, they may experience mild gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea. Although these symptoms are usually not severe, they can cause pet owners concern.
  2. Psychoactive Effects: Spider plants contain compounds that can have mild hallucinogenic effects on cats, similar to the effects of catnip. This can lead to unusual behavior such as hyperactivity, excitement, or even mild euphoria, which might alarm pet owners unfamiliar with this reaction.
  3. Excessive Chewing: Some cats are particularly fond of chewing on plants. While the occasional nibble is unlikely to cause significant harm, excessive chewing can lead to more noticeable symptoms and a greater likelihood of gastrointestinal upset.
  4. General Sensitivity: Cats can be sensitive to new substances, and even non-toxic plants can cause mild irritation or allergic reactions in some individuals. This sensitivity can make spider plants seem more harmful than they are.
  5. Misinterpretation of Symptoms: The symptoms caused by ingesting spider plants, such as vomiting and behavioral changes, can be mistaken for more severe poisoning symptoms, leading to unnecessary worry.

read to know more; Can House Plants Cause Allergies?

Cats and Their Curiosity

Cats are naturally curious animals. Their playful and explorative nature often leads them to investigate various objects around the house, including plants. This behavior is part of their instinctual drive to explore their surroundings. However, this curiosity can sometimes pose risks, especially regarding plant ingestion.

Spider Plants and Cats: The Connection

Spider Plants and Cats: The Connection

So, what is it about spider plants that attract cats? Many cat owners have observed their pets showing a particular interest in these plants. The appeal may lie in the texture and movement of the spider plant’s long, dangling leaves, which can be intriguing and playful for cats. However, this interaction raises concerns about potential toxicity.

Spider plants and cats share an intriguing relationship that often puzzles pet owners. The long, dangling leaves of spider plants are irresistible to cats, attracting them like a magnet. This attraction can be attributed to the plant’s texture and movement, which stimulate a cat’s natural hunting instincts. Cats are playful creatures, and the swaying leaves of a spider plant mimic the motion of prey, making them an enticing toy for felines.

Additionally, spider plants contain compounds with mild hallucinogenic properties, similar to catnip. When cats nibble on the leaves, they might experience a sense of euphoria, leading to increased playful or curious behavior. While this reaction is generally harmless, it can sometimes cause mild gastrointestinal upset if a cat ingests too much of the plant.

Understanding this connection is essential for cat owners who want to maintain a harmonious household. By recognizing why cats are drawn to spider plants, you can take steps to ensure their safety, such as placing the plants out of reach or providing alternative toys and safe plants for them to enjoy.

Toxicity Concerns: Fact or Myth?

Pet owners often face conflicting information about plant toxicity. The term “toxic” can be alarming, but it’s essential to differentiate between what is genuinely harmful and what is merely irritating or mildly affecting.

Regarding houseplants and pets, the term “toxic” can cause immediate concern. So, are spider plants toxic to cats, or is it just a myth? The truth lies somewhere in between. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), spider plants are not considered toxic to cats. This means they are unlikely to cause severe harm or be fatal if ingested. However, this doesn’t mean they are entirely without risk.

If eaten in large quantities, spider plants contain chemical compounds that can cause mild gastrointestinal upset in cats. Symptoms might include vomiting and diarrhea, which are usually not severe but can be uncomfortable for your pet. Additionally, these plants have mild hallucinogenic effects on cats, similar to catnip, which can result in temporary behavioral changes like increased excitement or hyperactivity.

Scientific Evidence

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), spider plants are not considered toxic to cats. However, they contain compounds that can cause mild gastrointestinal upset if ingested in large quantities. These compounds can have a mild hallucinogenic effect on cats, similar to the reaction some cats have to catnip.

Symptoms of Plant Poisoning in Cats

While spider plants are generally safe, it’s crucial to be aware of the symptoms of plant poisoning in cats. Common signs include vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. If you notice these symptoms and suspect your cat has ingested a spider plant, monitor them closely and seek veterinary advice if the symptoms persist or worsen.

If your cat ingests a potentially harmful plant, it’s crucial to recognize the symptoms of plant poisoning. Here are some common signs to watch for:

  1. Vomiting: One of the most immediate signs of plant poisoning is vomiting. This is the body’s way of expelling the toxic substance.
  2. Diarrhea: Along with vomiting, diarrhea is a common symptom. It indicates gastrointestinal distress and should be monitored closely.
  3. Drooling: Excessive drooling or salivation can occur if your cat has eaten something toxic. This can be accompanied by pawing at the mouth.
  4. Lethargy: Poisoned cats often become lethargic and lack energy or interest in their usual activities.
  5. Loss of Appetite: A sudden loss of appetite can indicate that your cat feels unwell due to plant poisoning.
  6. Difficulty Breathing: In severe cases, poisoning can cause respiratory distress, including rapid or difficult breathing.
  7. Seizures: Neurological symptoms such as seizures or tremors can occur if the poisoning is severe.
  8. Pale Gums: Pale or discolored gums can be a sign of poisoning and indicate a lack of oxygen in the blood.
  9. Dilated Pupils: Some toxic substances, such as dilated pupils, can cause changes in the eyes.
  10. Increased Thirst or Urination: Changes in drinking or urination habits can be a response to toxic ingestion.

How can I tell if my cat has eaten a spider plant?

How can I tell if my cat has eaten a spider plant?

If you suspect your cat has been snacking on your spider plant, there are several signs to look out for:

  1. Chewed Leaves: One of the most apparent indicators is visible damage to the plant. Look for bite marks, missing sections, or shredded leaves on your spider plant.
  2. Vomiting: If your cat has ingested part of the plant, it might vomit shortly afterward. Look for plant material in the vomit, which can confirm ingestion.
  3. Diarrhea: Gastrointestinal upset can also manifest as diarrhea. This symptom is usually mild and temporary but should be monitored closely.
  4. Behavioral Changes: Spider plants can have mild hallucinogenic effects on cats, similar to catnip. If your cat seems unusually hyperactive, playful or exhibits odd behavior after being near the plant, they may have ingested some of it.
  5. Loss of Appetite: Sometimes, a cat might lose interest in their food after eating a spider plant. This is typically a short-term effect and should resolve as the plant material passes through its system.
  6. Lethargy: While less common, some cats may become lethargic after consuming spider plants. Monitor your cat for unusual tiredness or lack of energy.

What to Do If Your Cat Eats a Spider Plant

If you find your cat has ingested part of a spider plant, don’t panic if you discover that your cat has nibbled on a spider plant. Here are some steps to ensure your cat’s well-being:

  1. Remove Access to the Plant: Immediately move the plant out of your cat’s reach to prevent further ingestion. Place it in a location your cat cannot access, such as a high shelf or a hanging planter.
  2. Monitor Your Cat: Watch your cat closely for signs of distress or discomfort. Common symptoms of mild gastrointestinal upset include vomiting, diarrhea, and changes in behavior. These symptoms are usually temporary and should resolve on their own.
  3. Provide Fresh Water: Ensure your cat has plenty of fresh water to help flush out any ingested compounds and keep them hydrated.
  4. Offer Safe Alternatives: Give your cat safe, non-toxic plants or grass to chew on. This can satisfy their natural urge to nibble on plants without posing health risks.
  5. Consult Your Veterinarian: If your cat shows severe symptoms, such as persistent vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or any other unusual behavior, contact your veterinarian for advice. They can provide specific guidance and determine if further action is needed.

How to Keep Cats Safe

Ensuring the safety of your feline companions around plants, including spider plants, is essential. Here are some tips to help keep your cats safe:

  1. Placement: Keep spider plants and other potentially harmful plants out of reach of your cats. Place them on high shelves, in hanging planters, or in rooms off-limits to your pets.
  2. Alternative Plants: Provide your cat with safe, non-toxic plants or grasses to satisfy their natural urge to chew and explore. Cat grass or catnip can be excellent alternatives that offer similar sensory stimulation without the risks.
  3. Deterrents: To discourage cats from approaching plant pots, use deterrents such as citrus-scented sprays or double-sided tape.
  4. Supervision: Monitor your cat’s interactions with plants, primarily if they are known to be curious or prone to chewing. Redirect their attention if you see them showing interest in potentially harmful plants.
  5. Training: Train your cat to avoid certain areas of the house where plants are kept. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as offering treats or praise when they follow your commands, can effectively teach boundaries.
  6. Regular Vet Check-ups: Schedule regular veterinary check-ups for your cat to ensure good health. Your vet can guide plant safety and address any concerns you may have about your cat’s behavior or well-being.

Pet-Safe Alternatives to Spider Plants

Consider pet-safe alternatives if you’re concerned about your cat’s interaction with spider plants. Some excellent choices include:

  • Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
  • Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
  • Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)
  • Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)

These plants are safe for cats and bring greenery and life to your home without worry.

Preventive Measures

To prevent your cat from ingesting houseplants, consider these strategies:

  • Create a Cat-Friendly Space: Designate an area with safe plants and cat-friendly toys.
  • Use Deterrents: Citrus peels or commercial sprays can deter cats from chewing on plants.
  • Training: Gently train your cat to avoid certain areas or objects.


1. Are spider plants safe for other pets?

  • Yes, spider plants are generally safe for other pets, including dogs. However, ingestion in large quantities can cause mild gastrointestinal upset.

2. Can spider plants cause long-term harm to cats?

  • No, spider plants do not cause long-term harm. The effects are usually temporary and mild, such as gastrointestinal upset or slight behavioral changes.

3. How can I tell if my cat has eaten a spider plant?

  • Look for signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, or changes in behavior. You might also find bite marks on the plant or pieces of the plant scattered around.

4. Are there other common houseplants that are toxic to cats?

  • Yes, some common toxic houseplants include lilies, philodendrons, and pothos. It’s essential to research any new plant before bringing it into a home with pets.

5. What are some signs that my cat likes or dislikes certain plants?

  • Cats that like certain plants may nibble on them, rub against them, or play with them. Conversely, if a cat dislikes a plant, they may avoid it or show signs of distress when near it.


In conclusion, spider plants are not toxic to cats but can cause mild gastrointestinal upset and temporary psychoactive effects. By understanding your cat’s natural curiosity and taking preventive measures, you can create a safe and enjoyable environment for your plants and pets. Keep an eye on your feline friends, provide them with safe alternatives, and consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Leave a Comment