Are Succulents Poisonous to Cats?

by Lynn KirkApr 26, 2021

A quick Q&A for "cat parents" about safe and unsafe succulent plants.


are succulents posinous to cats

Is it safe to grow any succulents if I have cats? 
Succulents and cats can safely share the same household. You just need a little knowledge and prevention, so read on . . .

How will my cats respond to succulents? 
Curiosity typically rules when it comes to cats, so they probably will explore your plants time and again. After all, they are hunters who want to check out all that is around them . .  . and succulents’ colors, shapes, and textures tend to resemble their own household toys. So consider keeping your plants away from your cats' ease of reach.

Will my cats really eat succulents?
Sure! Your furry friends’ nature for nibbling new things might result in a nip or two. The juicer the leaf, the greater the temptation. If it's one of the toxic succulents, chewing might result in varied degrees of pet illness — and of course unwanted leaf damage and /or plant loss. But there is hope!

Which succulents are definitely safe to have around cats? 
Most succulents are truly pet friendly (which is great news since they're easy to grow, distinctive decoratives, and ever growing in popularity). So rather than listing all the safe species of succulents, it's easier to learn and recognize the few you should definitely avoid.

Which succulent plants are toxic to cats? 
Some succulents are composed of toxic compounds that you don't want ingested by your cats (and perhaps your dogs or other household pets). With that in mind, try to AVOID these species:

Aloe Vera  (Aloe vera)
This succulent's fleshy, spiky stems are enticing, as are its well-known health and beauty benefits, which have been recognized for thousands of years and generations of gardeners. However, we now realize that its medicinal and therapeutic properties are safe for humans only. Aloe vera's toxic compounds can make your pets ill.
Hen and Chicks (Sempervivum techorum)

Its name describes it, for “parent hens” produce “baby chick" rosettes. The plant's striking texture is as gorgeous as its color options, ranging from reds and coppers to blues and greens. Hens and chickens are low growers that can easily spread (especially outdoors), since self-propagation creates mat-like formations over time. Hen and chicks are great for humans, but not so for cats.

Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe)

The kalanchoe originated in tropical Madagascar, so its blooms are as colorful as your imagination. And fortunately, it tends to burst into in bloom in early spring when needed most. But resist the urge to buy if your cat is nearby.  

Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)
This plant's appeal is its knobby, teardrop-shaped leaves that overlap and hang down as its name suggests just like a donkey's long tail. The burro's tail is ideal for a hanging basket or windowsill in full sun. If you own a cat, though, just say "no" since it might feast on the plant's fleshy leaves.
What are the symptoms of toxic poisoning in cats?
Your cat might exhibit vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and staggering after eating a toxic plant. The size of the cat and the amount eaten will vary the overall response. However, don’t wait for symptoms to become severe if you know your cat has ingested a poisonous plant. Contact your vet immediately and accurately identify the plant (or take a sample) to help ensure proper treatment.


What else can I do?
Consider locating your plants away from your cats' primary play and resting areas. The less temptation for interaction, the better (not to mention, easier) for you. And always remember: It's best to buy only those succulents that are deemed pet-safe

Can you sum it up for me?
Curiosity can kill the cat, but now you know which plants to pick and which preventive measures to take. Stick with succulents that are cat-safe, like the Cat Friendly Collection available at Succulent Market.

When in doubt, just ask our succulent experts, who have propagated and nurtured succulents for three generations. We know them well and treat them like family. Just like you and your cat!