Is Christmas Cactus Toxic to Cats?

Christmas cactus
Christmas cactus (Source: Unsplash)

When the Christmas season begins, it brings along the desire to make the indoors more Christmassy.

You may want to add greenery to the already decorated and bright indoor decor.

Christmas Cactus can be an obvious choice among many other options as you can easily make use of its stunning features to prettify your home interior.

However, a question may linger if you have fur babies at home. Is Christmas cactus toxic to cats?

Christmas cactus is in the list of non-toxic houseplants as per the list of ASPCA. However, the sap can cause mild allergic reactions and stomach discomfort.

Cat Sniffing a flowering plant.
Let me sniff it first (Source: Pet keen)

Therefore, you may bring it over to your home without considering the risk it brings to your cat.

Just like you, your pet can grow to be fond of the dazzling beauty of the plant because it bears bright and pink flowers that look tempting to look at.

Unlike you, your fur babies may not be as willing or suited to share their living quarters with the plant.

Is Christmas Cactus Toxic to Cats?

The easy answer is ‘No.’ Cats are immune to any poisonous effect of the plant.

Christmas cactus is non-toxic to cats. Neither the cactus nor the blossoms are dangerous to pets. However, being non-toxic does not mean the same as being unharmful.

Depending upon the amount that the cat has consumed, you may or may not see the ill effects. Small amounts may not have any impact.

If ingested in a large dosage, its fibrous material, while not dangerous, can irritate the stomach.

Cat Playing with Christmas Cactus
Cat Playing with Christmas Cactus (Source: Pinterest)

Your cat specifically may also have a certain kind of allergic reaction when it comes in contact with the cactus plant.

Additionally, you may have put some chemical fertilizers or insecticides on the plant throughout its growth.

This may have some harmful effects as well on the cat. A different set of allergic reactions may attack the cat because of these chemicals.

Unlike some other toxic plants, you may not have to think twice about bringing the Christmas Cactus to your home.

However, you still have to make sure your furballs come to minimal contact with the captivating plant.

Are you wondering if your other houseplants are toxic too? Read on: Will a Rubber Plant Poisoning Kill my Cat?

Symptoms for Christmas Cactus Allergy

The non-toxic nature of Christmas Cactus makes it a well-suited plant to keep inside your home.

Therefore, Christmas cactus and cats may coexist in the same home as you now know it is non-toxic to cats, even dogs, and horses.

However, your cat can mistake it for food and, therefore, can munch on various parts such as leaves and flowers.

Although serious toxicity does not occur in the case of cats, consuming any part of the plant can produce moderate problems.

That is to say. Your cat can eat the stems and blooms with some level of harm. Some initial signs of allergic reaction or stomach upset are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

Apart from these reactions, the cat can start choking if it tries to swallow sizeable seeds of the plant. The seeds may grow up to the size of a small pea.

Ways to Treat Christmas Cactus Allergy

As soon as the Christmas cactus’s content is out of your cat’s system, normally, the above-mentioned symptoms will go away on their own in healthy cats.

If the cat does not feel better even after a few hours, consult a veterinarian right away.

Cat Undergoing through Treatment
Cat Undergoing through Treatment (Source: Hippopx)

The pet doctor may use Antiemetic or antispasmodic medication techniques effectively in such cases.

Moreover, one of the root causes of the sickness can be the chemicals present in pesticides and fertilizers.

In order to make the proper assessment that this is the case, try explaining the fertilization history of your plant to your veterinarian.

This may be helpful in the proper diagnosis and treatment of your pet.

With the right medical aid, your furbabies will be ready to gnaw and run again in no time.

How to Prevent Cat from Getting Sick by Christmas Cactus?

Your cat may not be interested in your plant right now, but they may develop an interest in the future.

The time to take action to protect the plant and the cat is immediately after bringing to the home.

As mentioned earlier, there are no toxins/chemical releases from the plant. Although it carries the cactus name ‘the thorny desert plant,’ it does not bear any spikes.

Hence, this makes Christmas Cactus easy to play with for the pets.

checking on your Cat
Cat (Source: Unsplash)

Firstly, make sure to make it difficult for the cat to dig down into the soil. You can simply add some pebbles to cover up the soil so it won’t invite cats.

Pro Tip!! Take some Cayenne pepper and place it freely over the plant. After that, the soil functions as a deterrent for some cats.

Also, try various practical and straightforward ways to make the plant unreachable to your cat, like placing it in an isolated room.

Simply make a basic herbal spray by combining one part tablespoon of lemon juice with one part cup of water.

The citrusy smell of the lemon alone will be able to keep the cats away from your succulent plant.

Planting a Christmas Cactus in a hanging basket is one of the most excellent methods to keep the cat out of it.

Alternatively, you can protect your plant with a suitable cage-like enclosure.

Attention!! Do not forget to read the labels of any chemicals you may have used on the plant. Look for how long the chemical will stay on the plant and cautions+warnings against contact.

In these simple ways, even with the best efforts of the furball, both of your darlings, the plant, and your furball can stay unharmed.

Frequently asked Questions

1. Are there any Holiday Species that I need to be Careful about?

Yes!! Christmas Cactus is not actually the plant you need to worry about during Christmas and other holiday seasons. But there and some such as:

  • Holly
  • Christmas tree needles and water
  • Poinsettia
  • Mistletoe
  • Jerusalem Cherry
  • Lilies

Keep them out of the reach of your cats for various plant-specific reasons.

2. Why do Cats Eat and Toy with Indoor Plants?

Household cats are a close relative to wildcats which are carnivorous by nature.

Some studies suggest that some carnivorous animals like cats eat grass and plants in order to clear out intestinal worms.

Also, the plant’s fiber is beneficial in the cleansing process.

Cats may like to scratch their bodies against the plant and foliage to satisfy itches. Such action may cause more detriment to the plant than the cat.

Additionally, cats enjoy the sensation of their paws in the dirt and like to toy with it.

Hence, once they’ve discovered it, it’s difficult to discourage them from digging up your plants and using them as litter boxes.

Conclusion

Every pet parents’ ideal circumstance is for their pet to never become poisoned. Cats enjoy nibbling on plants, and these naive creatures will eat anything.

Therefore, be cautious by not believing that plants are harmless, whether you’re just organizing a plant or buying a new houseplant.

Although the Christmas Cactus plant is not toxic to your cat, you should still be cautious.

Definitely, bear in mind the strategies we discussed earlier in this post to keep your fur babies away from your Cactus plant and any possible harm.

You can become a great caretaker of both if you can manage to do so successfully.

Happy Parenting!!

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