Yes, sensitive plants are toxic to cats.
Mimosa pudica is a plant that belongs to the family Fabaceae. It has other monikers such as sensitive plant, touch-me-not, humble plant, shameplant, and sleepy plant. This is because of its foliage that folds or shrinks when it is touched, shaken, or even blown on. The leaves also fold up naturally each night.
Due to its unique nature, it may be tempting to bring home and grow a sensitive plant. But cat parents and carers should refrain from doing so because the plant is said to be toxic. It’s important to note that the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and Pet Poison Helpline do not include the sensitive plant on their respective lists. However, a few online sources state they are harmful for pets. The plant supposedly contains the toxic alkaloid mimosine, which may affect cats.
What to do if your cat accidentally comes into contact with, chews, or eats sensitive plants: Speak with your veterinarian immediately. Take your cat away from the plant, and monitor her closely in a confined space. If needed, remove any plant material found on your cat’s fur, skin, and/or mouth.
Moreover, watch her for general signs of poisoning. Depending on how much she consumed, she may manifest over drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, twitching and fitting, difficulty in breathing, and shock or collapse. If her condition worsens, consult with your veterinarian. Take her to the emergency clinic if needed.
In summary: Since sensitive plants may potentially harm cats, it is advisable not to grow them around your feline pets. Opt for cat-safe varieties such as spider plants, air plants, and prayer plants. Or why not grow edible herbs that your cat can eat? Check out our blog for more ideas.