Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are among some of the most popular houseplants. Not only are they easy to care for and simple to propagate, but they also add a unique flair to any space with their dangling offshoots. These emerging offshoot plants hang from the mother plant in a way that is reminiscent of dangling spiders, which is how this plant earned its common name: spider plant.
Although these plants are very popular and draw attention when situated on a shelf, table, or in a hanging planter, many people wonder if it is safe to keep these plants around their pets—especially curious cats. So are spider plants toxic to cats? Thankfully, this common household plant is considered nontoxic to cats as well as dogs, according to the ASPCA. So you can keep this plant without having to worry about your feline becoming very ill or needing to make an emergency trip to the vet.
Nontoxic, But Still Upsetting
It is important to note, however, that just because spider plants are nontoxic to cats doesn’t mean you should allow your cats to eat away at your spider plants. Cats are not meant to eat large amounts of vegetation. Like any other plant, if a cat ingests large amounts of a spider plant, it can cause an upset stomach or vomiting. With this in mind, it is a good idea to keep your spider plant out of your cat’s reach. This is especially true if your cat has a history of eating the foliage or roots of your houseplants.
If you suspect that your cat has eaten some of your spider plant, keep a close eye on him or her. Although it is non-toxic, your cat may still experience a measure of gastrointestinal distress, especially if a large amount of the plant has been ingested. The discomfort should subside without the need for medical intervention. However, it is important to contact your vet immediately if you have multiple houseplant varieties in your home and you suspect that your cat may have eaten from a toxic plant as there are some that can be deadly. Keep in mind that you should not induce vomiting unless instructed to by a professional.
Why Do Cats Like Spider Plants?
Although cats are not meant to eat large amounts of vegetation, it is quite common to find them nibbling on grass or plants. If your cat is kept inside and is not able to access grass outdoors, he may see the spider plant as an easily accessible alternative to grass.
Besides simply satisfying the urge for some greens, the shape of the spider plant is no doubt extremely enticing to a cat. The foliage is spiky and flowing, and the offshoots of the plant look much like a dangling cat toy. When your plant produces these offshoots, it is no wonder your cat wants to bat it around and even chomp down on it.
How to Prevent Your Cat From Eating Your Spider Plant
So how exactly do you keep your curious kitty from attacking a houseplant that draws attention with its long, spiky fronds and danging offshoots? Here are some ideas you can try to keep your spider plant safe along with your other plants.
One of the best ways to keep your spider plant safe is by potting it in a hanging planter suspended from the ceiling. This way, the plant can be positioned high enough that your cat cannot reach it. This works best when the hanging plant is kept away from nearby furniture such as an armchair or shelf. Since cats are notorious for climbing, any nearby furniture may enable your cat to reach for the dangling offshoots of your spider plant.
In addition, you can lessen the appeal of a spider plant by providing your cat with alternative dangling toys. For example, try giving your cat a designated play structure with hanging items to bat.
If your cat simply wants to graze on some greens, try your hand at growing catnip or provide designated cat grass trays. These are simple to grow and are meant to be eaten by cats. This is a great option to satisfy your cat as well as keep your houseplants safe.
Spider plant. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Vomiting in Cats. VCA Animal Hospitals.
Feline Behavior Problems: Destructive Behavior. Feline Health Center, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.