Pets: Five Houseplants Cat Owners Should Avoid

by Karen Svites Realty, Inc. 12/20/2021

Your new home may feel more cozy with the addition of pets and houseplants. However, some combinations of the two simply don’t mix. Avoid these five common houseplants if your home has four-legged family members. 

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is good for soothing dry, irritated skin, chapped lips and minor burns. Many homeowners keep an aloe plant on hand for just these emergencies. However, if you have a furry family member, you might not want to bring home this tropical succulent. Aloe is toxic to some pets. As a result, if your cat or dog ingests it, they could suffer vomiting, diarrhea and listlessness.

Safer Alternative: Haworthia

Identifiers: Deep green spines with white “stripes”

2. Pothos Plant

Pothos is a pretty houseplant that grows well in low light and is deceptively easy to care for. However, if your cat eats a leaf, they’ll likely suffer oral burns and swelling, complicated by vomiting. So while this bloom is beautiful, remember it can also be deadly for your furry friend.

Safer Alternative: Spider Plant

Identifiers: Long, thin leaves with a lighter green tint

3. Begonia

Begonias are beautiful, there’s no argument, and they grow inside or out. They’ll even winter over under the right conditions. However, begonias are highly toxic to cats. This means if your cat gets too curious, they may end up with a severe burning sensation in their mouth, lips and gums. They may also suffer excessive drooling and trouble swallowing.

Safer Alternative: African Violets

Identifiers: Deep green, fuzzy leaves and rich violet or purple flowers

4. Jade Plants

Jade plants are common houseplants. Their waxy, green leaves grow quickly, making this a popular choice for homeowners with green thumbs. However, if your cat takes a bite, they can suffer the symptoms of depression, ataxia and slowed heart rate. Vomiting is another serious symptom that may arise if your cat or kitten comes into contact with Jade plants.

Safer Alternative: Christmas Cactus

Identifiers: Brilliant hues of green with supple red flowers

5. Mistletoe

While you may not grow mistletoe in a pot on your windowsill, many homeowners still bring clippings inside over the holiday. Whether used to decorate the mantel or hung over the doorway out of tradition, mistletoe can make your cat or dog feel anything but merry. This plant can cause cardiovascular collapse, erratic behavior and dangerous dips in blood pressure.

Safer Alternative: Christmas Cactus (A clear fan-favorite)

Identifiers: Brilliant hues of green with supple red flowers

While this may be a long and somewhat frightening list, there are alternatives. Most nurseries or other plant supply stores will be able to give you excellent and safe alternatives for your home.

About the Author

Karen Svites Realty, Inc.

Local Expertise | World Class Service 

My name is Karen Svites. I am a top producer, real estate consultant for buyers, sellers and investors in the Asheville area for over 17 years. I have lived in North Carolina since 1994 and have called Asheville my home and place to raise my wonderful children. I am blessed to live here and be a part of this vibrant community. I enjoy the people, seasons, culture and many outdoor activities available to me.