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Is Calathea Toxic to Cats? [Safe or Worrisome]

Calathea plants boast luscious, dark green leaves with scalloped edges and silver brushmarks to enchant any gardener. But have you ever thought of toxicity? 

According to the ASPCA, the Calathea family includes 60 species and 300 cultivators non-harmful to cats and other pets. However, it may induce minor stomach problems in cats when consumed excessively.

Are you still confused about keeping your cats around the newly brought Calathea? Do not pack your decision here until you finish reading this entire article. 

Are All Calathea Plants Non-toxic to Cats?

There are nearly 60 species and 300 cultivators of the Calathea family, and all of them are non-toxic to cats, dogs, humans, or other pets.

The varieties, including Calathea ornata, Calathea rufibarba, Calathea crocata, Calathea makoyana, Calathea sanderiana, Calathea lancifolia, and Calathea zebrina are completely safe for cats.

However, excessive ingestion of Calatheas can induce irritation in your cats and cause slight vomiting or diarrhea. 

Cats are curious pets and like to explore their surroundings, so you should not keep an eye out for your cats when they get near this plant.

The leaves of Calathea can become quite big, and your cat may get easily attracted to them to choke.

Fertilizers applied to Calathea can be harmful to cats.

If consumed, fertilizers, insecticides, or any chemical applied to Calathea may harm the furry pet.

Pet Poison Helpline states that fertilizers contain iron, copper, boron, zinc, and molybdenum, when ingested, can mildly or severely harm your cats based on the dosage.

Besides these concerns, you do not have to worry about keeping your Calathea and your cats together.

What Makes Calathea Cat Friendly?

Calatheas are great companions for your feline friends because they do not have thorns or sap oozing out of them.

Moreover, their stems, leaves, roots, and flowers do not contain toxic substances like calcium oxalates, so cats have no risk of extreme irritation and organ failure when even swallowed. 

Cats are clumsy ramblers that can get covered with pollen grains while playing around. For example, the pollen grains of Lily, when they come in contact with the whiskers of cats, can cause renal failure.

Cat sitting around the pots of calathea
It’s okay for cats to be around the Calathea plant.

Besides, the water formed around the stem during transpiration and in the pot’s saucer of some plants can also be toxic to cats. 

Fortunately, Calatheas never leave excessive water near them. These plants require very little water to live and do not shed pollen grains that can irritate your cats.

When is Calathea Unsafe for Cats? 

Despite being predominantly carnivores, cats may occasionally nibble on plants in the wild, either for the added nutrients or fiber they provide or because they enjoy the flavor.

According to the AAAS, grass munching helps pets expel intestinal parasites.

Moreover, cats might crave a different texture or fiber in their mouth.

Many plants are rich in fibers that help regulate the digestive system, so the feeling of ease can induce your cat to eat plants.

Cat about to eat calathea leaves
Cat may eat Calathea leaves to ease poor gastrointestinal system.

Whatever the reason, if your cat starts to eat Calathea, the following mild symptoms are visible.

Common SymptomsWay of Checking
AnorexiaNo desire to eat food and its weight may decrease rapidly
DiarrheaFrequent loose popping and mucus in stool
Stomach crampAwkward and hunched sitting position of cat
WeaknessFeeling loss of strength
VomitingExpelling food from mouth

Furthermore, when in contact with toxic chemicals from fertilizers, your cat may face stomach distress, a high heart rate, difficulty breathing, and fungal toxicosis.

Normally, these problems should pass in about two or three days but if they persist, rush your cat to veterinarians. 

When going to the veterinary, do not forget to bring your cat’s medical history or a sample of chewed plant parts. 

Besides, you need to keep some portion of chemicals or fertilizers that your cat may have contracted with.

If your cat consumes Calatheaand need help,  you can call your local veterinarian or helplines: ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, 888-426-4435 and Pet Poison Helpline  855-764-7661.

How to Keep Cats Away from Calathea?

Cats are naturally inquisitive creatures that like scratching, burrowing, playing, and tossing things and enjoy exploring their surroundings.

Although Calathea is not toxic to your cats, it does not mean you should let them nibble over your plant.

  • Keep the plants in hanging pots and stands to avoid reaching your cats to your plants.
  • Cats are very sensitive to smell, so you can make your plants smell unpleasant using a repellent spray.
Pro tip: Mix 1 part vinegar with three parts of water and spray on the plant to keep cats away.
  • Grow thorny plants like roses and cacti around your Calathea to keep cats away.
  • You can also plant cat grass, basilmint, catnip, lavender, and cat thyme around Calathea plants to prevent cats from chewing them.
  • Frequently trim your plants because their flowers and leaves can attract cats.
  • You can also create your plant room with abundant sunlight and lock it to avoid cat access.
  • Cats dislike citrus and peppermint oil, so you can use them to guard your Calathea plants.
  • Coffee grounds provide excellent nutrients for your plant, and their aroma is not pleasing for cats.

If you own other houseplants, you can bookmark to read Ponytail, Philodendron, Gardenia.

From Editorial Team


Calathea plants serve the perfect houseplant environment with wide and beautiful foliage painted with brushstrokes.

 Although Calathea is non-toxic, it is still possible for your cat to experience some gastrointestinal distress after eating it.

You can follow my instructions while bringing a Calathea home to become an excellent plant and fur parent.

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