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Are Spider Plants Toxic to Cats? Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Written by: Kristin Hitchcock

Last Updated on January 11, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Spider Plant

Are Spider Plants Toxic to Cats? Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQ


Dr. Luqman Javed Photo


Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Spider plants are a common indoor houseplant. These fern-like plants are easy to take care of and look lovely in a variety of rooms. If you have pets, however, you need to look beyond whether this plant looks nice and check whether it is safe for your cats because you know they’ll snack on it at least once. Luckily, spider plants are safe for cats and non-toxic. They are not harmful in any way, making them a suitable option for households with cats.

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Why Does My Cat Eat Spider Plants?

Many theories exist about why so many cats are attracted to spider plants. Spider plants are very dangly, so your cat may be just attracted to the playfulness of the plant. But as your cat attempts to play with the plant, they may end up eating some of it.

However, that isn’t always the case. After all, some cats are not playing with the spider plant; they’re just eating it. It may be because spider plants are mildly hallucinogenic, which is precisely why some cats like it. That’s right! Your cat likes it because they have a chemical fascination. Maybe they accidentally ate a bit at some point, liked how it made them feel, and now they keep returning for more. A more generally accepted theory as to why cats eat plants is that it might be an instinctive behavior to help against parasites.

Kitten sleeping spider plant_Artycustard_shutterstock
Image by: Artycustard, Shutterstock

Are Spider Plants Toxic?

This plant is harmless. Cats can nibble on it without you needing to worry about the possible side effects. There could be a problem if your cat only eats spider plants, but as long as they’re also eating other things, they will be fine.

This is less of an issue of toxins, though, and more that cats shouldn’t be living off of this plant alone. It doesn’t provide for their nutritional needs, so cats don’t need to consume only spider plants. It may make them feel good, but it isn’t nutritionally complete. Luckily, we have no evidence of any cat that chose to eat spider plant instead of its cat food, so this is likely a problem you don’t have to worry about.3 cat face divider

The Risks of Spider Plants

Spider plants do contain a compound that is similar to opium. As we previously stated, this is probably precisely why cats like it. However, when consumed in considerable amounts, the plant may cause digestive problems like vomiting and diarrhea. These are rarely serious and usually only result from eating a lot of spider plants.

You would think this potential risk would make the cat think twice about eating it, but that isn’t usually how it works. The feel-good effects usually far outweigh the risks in most cats’ minds—even if the plant makes them sick every time they eat it. Cats aren’t the most logical animals, after all. Many can’t control themselves.

How Do I Make My Cat Stop Eating My Spider Plant?

There are many reasons why you may need to keep your cat away from your spider plant. You may need to step in and prevent the cat from eating the plant because it makes them sick. Cats will rarely choose not to eat it when given a choice, even if it doesn’t make them feel too good. For this reason, we may need to make a better decision for them.

Furthermore, your cat constantly munching on the plant is not very good for the plant itself. While your cat may not get harmed, your plant will. Usually, spider plants can take a bit of munching. They are pretty durable and easy to take care of, so there are usually no problems with cats chewing on a few leaves.

But if you have multiple cats or a young spider plant, this may not be the case. Either way, there are a few ways you can attempt to keep your cat away from it, though there is no foolproof option.

Before you lose hope, try these methods:

  • Prevent access to the plant. This is the best way to stop your cat from eating your spider plant. A cat-proof garden that keeps your plants safe from your cat and your cat safe from other plants is the best long-term solution for this conundrum.
  • Hang the plant. The easiest way to prevent your cat from munching on the plant is to hang it somewhere out of reach. Cats can climb just about everything, so usually, placing the plant somewhere high isn’t an option. Instead, you’ll need to hang it somewhere impossible for your cats to reach. Be sure to place it away from high things your cat may decide to climb as well. Please keep in mind that cats are amazing athletes and can easily jump several feet into the air.
  • Prune the plant. If your cat appears to be damaging the plant while playing with it, you can make it substantially more boring by trimming it back. Prune the plant back regularly or divide the plant if you need to.
  • Use a bitter spray. There are plenty of bitter-tasting sprays available that can potentially prevent your cat from snacking on your plant. These sprays are safe for the plant but taste and smell bad for your cats. This only works sometimes, though, as many cats tough it out for the plant’s drug-like qualities.
  • Plant some cat-friendly grass. Some cats like to eat plants. For these felines, we recommend planting some greenery they can eat. There are many cat-friendly grasses that you can quickly grow indoors. You can even grow catnip for your feline.

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Though the spider plant isn’t toxic for cats,  you may find your cat obsessively eating your saplings. There are several methods to try and dissuade your cat from eating your spider plants, but the best method is to prevent your cat from having access to your plants. Consult with your veterinarian if you suspect that your cat’s obsession with your plants doesn’t seem normal.

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