Extending your houseplant collection becomes slightly more challenging if you have a cat or a dog at home, as ensuring both the safety of your plants and your pets requires an extra amount of attention.
While the primary concern in most scenarios is your pet eating your plant and your plant getting damaged as a result of it, some plants are also toxic to cats and dogs and may make them considerably sick.
As there is no general guideline to follow for knowing which plants are safe, deciding on a plant requires a thorough amount of research if you have pets in the house.
Today, we will be talking about the cat palm plant and whether it’s safe or not for cats and dogs, as we have noticed a lot of questions about this plant in particular.
So, are cat palms toxic to cats and dogs?
Cat palms are not toxic to cats and dogs, meaning that you don’t have to worry about your pets getting sick if you plan to place them in an area your pets can reach.
Regardless, we recommend keeping your cat palm away from your pets as much as possible, as your pets might eat the plant and severely damage it.
While toxic plants require more attention in terms of placement if you have cats or dogs in your home, treating all of your plants with the same level of care will provide the best environment both for your plants and your pets.
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Are Cat Palms Toxic to Cats and Dogs?
What makes most houseplants toxic to cats and dogs is a substance called calcium oxalate, which is found in many popular houseplants such as pothos, philodendron, peace lily, monstera, elephant’s ear, and many more.
In most cases, both the leaves and the stems of the plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can easily irritate all kinds of soft tissue it comes into contact with, whether it’s you or your pets.
While the effects of irritation will be minimal when you touch a houseplant with calcium oxalate in it, they become a lot more severe for pets, as pets usually eat the leaves, causing the irritation to take place in their mouth.
Fortunately, cat palms don’t contain calcium oxalate or any other toxic substances to cats or dogs, making them a brilliant plant for those who have pets in their house.
That being said, it’s best not to allow your pets too close to your houseplants, even if they are not toxic, as pets can easily damage your houseplants; and can also get ill due to the bacteria or pests that may be on your plant.
What Happens If Your Cat or Dog Eats Your Cat Palm?
While cat palms don’t contain anything inherently harmful to cats and dogs, the pesticides you spray on them, the pests and the bacteria that may be living within, and the dust and dirt on your plant can have a slight chance to cause adverse health effects on your pets.
On the other hand, the health of your cat palm will also suffer due to its leaves being eaten, and depending on the severity of the situation, you may have to cut these leaves altogether to promote the growth of new ones.
How to Keep Your Cat Palm Away From Your Dogs and Cats?
While keeping your houseplants from dogs and cats is never easy as they always end up where you least expect them to be, we have a few tips and tricks you can use that will make your life easier.
Here are some of the things you can do to keep your cat palm away from your dogs and cats.
- Mix lemon and water in a spray bottle and mist your cat palm with it. Both dogs and cats hate the citrus smell and will avoid it all costs, staying away from your cat palm plant in the process.
- Place lemon peels around your cat palm plant. Another way to use citrus is to place lemon peels around your plant, which will have a similar effect to spraying your plant with a mix of lemon and water.
- Place your cat palm plant on an unreachable spot. Placing your cat palm on surfaces that are high above the ground will work best, as it will make it impossible for your plants to reach the plant.
- Keep your pets away from the room where your plants are. While this isn’t possible for most houseplant owners as they put their plants in the living room, it’s a good strategy if you have a separate room for your plants.
What Palms Are Non-Toxic to Cats and Dogs?
Cat palm isn’t the only non-toxic option among palm plants you can grow at home, and as a matter of fact, a large portion of them are entirely safe for your pets.
Here are some non-toxic palms you can safely add to your houseplant collection even if you have pets at home.
- Areca palm
- Majestic palm
- Parlor palm
- Ponytail palm
- Cascade palm
What Palms Are Toxic to Cats and Dogs?
While most palms that you can grow at home are non-toxic to cats and dogs, there is one palm that you should avoid at all costs as it’s highly toxic.
Sago palm (Cycas revoluta) is a popular houseplant that is highly toxic to cats, dogs, and humans alike when ingested, with its seeds (nuts) being the most dangerous part.
Even though it contains the word “palm” in it, the sago palm plant is actually not a true palm. In reality, this plant belongs to the Cycas genus, and while this genus is not related to palms in any way, a sago palm looks awfully similar to a palm.
The effects of cycasin found in a sago palm are way more severe than the effects of calcium oxalate found in most popular houseplants, as it can easily cause kidney failure in dogs and cats, even in small doses.
As a result, we highly recommend against having a sago palm plant in your house if you have pets, as the damage that it may cause to your pets may be irreversible.
Cat palms are perfectly safe plants for your cats and dogs to be around, but we still recommend keeping your pets away from your houseplants as much as possible.
Considering that pets such as cats and dogs are very keen to chew on plants, keeping your houseplants in separate rooms or placing them strategically into spots that are literally impossible for your pets to reach are the best things you can do both for your pets and your plants.
Finally, as it’s impossible to know which plant may be dangerous to the health of your pets, we highly recommend conducting extensive research before committing to a certain houseplant.