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Are Snake Plants Toxic to Cats?

Are Snake Plants Toxic to Cats?

Yes, snake plants are mildly toxic to cats. 

Snake plants are ornamental evergreen perennials that belong to the Asparagaceae family. Until 2017, its scientific name was Sansevieria trifasciata, but was later reclassified to Dracaena trifasciata. This popular succulent is known for having many other names. This includes Saint George’s sword, mother-in-law’s tongue, golden bird’s nest, good luck plant, and viper’s bowstring hemp. Usually appearing in a deep shade of green, this plant species has sharp-looking stiff leaves that grow upwards. Some bear flowers ranging from cream to greenish white. 

Because of the saponins found in them, snake plants are toxic to cats. When consumed by feline pets, this bitter organic compound instantly creates a burning sensation in their mouth. The saponin also causes gastrointestinal upset. This may manifest as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Plus, the plant juices may irritate the cat’s skin. For cats allergic to snake plants, extreme cases may lead to the swelling of her lips, mouth, tongue, and esophageal tissues. 

What to do if your cat accidentally comes into contact with, chews, or eats snake plants:

If you suspect that your cat pawed or bit a snake plant, observe her for any of the aforementioned symptoms. Also, watch for excessive drooling, difficulty in breathing or swallowing, loss of appetite, depression, and abdominal pain. 

More importantly, contact your veterinarian immediately and inform the doctor of your findings. You may need to bring your pet cat to the vet clinic so they can run tests and determine the level of poisoning. These tests may include biochemistry profile and urinalysis. 

In summary:

Snake plants can liven up anyone’s interiors, but they’re not a recommended plant for cat and even dog owners. Because of the poisonous compound found on the plant, this succulent should be kept away from pets at all times. 

Play it safe by checking these lists from ASPCA, PetMD, and Pet Poison Hotline before bringing home a new houseplant or growing one in your backyard. 

References:

Dracaena trifasciata – Wikipedia

Saponin – Wikipedia

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue | ASPCA 

What is Snake Plant Poisoning?

20 Plants That Are Poisonous for Cats



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