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Is Ponytail Palm Toxic to Cats? [Safe or Harmful]

Many new growers wonder if their cats may get poisoned or sick after nibbling on the thick leaf clusters. Let us clear your doubt; Ponytail Palm is safe around your cats.

The ASPCA clearly states that Ponytail Palm, also known as Elephant’s Foot is non-toxic to cats and does not pose any risk of poisoning in cats of all ages. However, you need not allow your pets to consume or mess with the plant. 

However, nibbling on excess Ponytail leaves may invite problems and ruin the plant’s decor. Therefore, the felines are better kept away from the plant.

Read on to find out how to keep your feline friends away from the plant to avoid obvious problems.

Is a Ponytail Palm Safe for Cats Entirely?

Unlike most houseplants, Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) does not contain harmful calcium oxalate crystals that cause cat poisoning.

In fact, the plant lacks chemicals like Proteinase and Proteolytic Enzyme and toxic agents like histamines and kinins, which irritates the mouth, throat, and lungs.

Therefore, you can be assured that Ponytail Palm will not affect your cat’s health or dogs.

ASPCA puts Ponytail Palm on the list of safe houseplants around pet animals like cats and dogs.  The leaves, and trunks and stems are all non-poisonous. 

However, nibbling on a significant amount of Ponytail Palm’s leaves and debris does not do good to their bowels.

cat before ponytail palm
Ponytail Palm is non-toxic to cats.

In addition, if your cat ends up swallowing a leaf infected with fungus, it may lead to fungal toxicosis, where symptoms may relate to plant poisoning.

If you have not owned Ponytail Palm, learn complete care guide about Ponytail Palm to grow. 

What Happens if a Cat Eats Ponytail Palm?

An innate behavior of cats, it is pretty standard and natural for them to nibble on plant leaves.

It is believed that felines get fiber and nutrients from plant leaves. Some even chew on it when they are bored. 

As Ponytail Palm leaves hang around the pot, leaving cascading effects, cats easily hit it. 

However, ingesting too many plant leaves and debris from Ponytail Palm can be dangerous; eating too many fibers can cause hypermotile (boost in digestive tract movement).

Some animals intentionally ingest many leaves to induce diarrhea or vomiting to treat gastrointestinal diseases.

In addition, your cat may choke on leaves, causing shortness of breath and difficulties breathing, which can lead to problems.

Therefore, always watch these signs in cats to determine if they have eaten Ponytail leaves.

Common SymptomsHow to Check?
Abdominal discomfortIf the pet is unable to sit in one position, produces audible gut sounds, licks at flank.
VomitingFrequent lip licking, producing more saliva, resenting to eating food.
DiarrheaThe affected pet has frequent loose stool.
Appetite disordersPet shows no desire to eat food anymore and includes loss of appetite and lethargy.
WeaknessIf your pet is moving in weird way, is lethargic or hiding in a corner of the room, your pet might be weak.

Most of these problems will subside immediately or after a while, requiring no further diagnosis or treatment.

What to do after a Cat Eats Ponytail Palm? 

As self-diagnosis, check for visible signs of plant consumption in cats.

  • Bits of plant leaves around the cat’s mouth
  • Broken leaves lying on the floor
  • The visible sign of a cat nibbling on the leaves

After diagnosing the symptoms, you can give first aid to your cats. 

  1. Fetch your cat outside and rinse its mouth with fresh water. 
  2. If it feels good to eat, offer the pet the calcium-rich foods including yogurt, milk and cheese.
  3. Also, let the cat have some water but don’t force it.
  4. Don’t experiment with anything or medication until the professionals or vets recommend. 

Call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 if you suspect your cat has ingested other harmful plant parts.

How to Stop Cat Eating Ponytail Palm?

Preventing your cat from eating Ponytail Palm comes with many benefits.

Not only does it protect your cat from the risk of vomiting and diarrhea, but it also protects the plant from damage.

Here are some proven tips to prevent your cat from accidentally ingesting the plant leaves.

  • Use natural repellants: Sprays containing cayenne pepper or citrus help deter cats whenever they try going close to the plant.
  • Grow cat grass: It will help remove the cat’s attention from the Ponytail Palm.
  • Remove the Appeal: Spray lemon, lime, or orange juice around the plate to repel cats.
  • Apply Neem Oil: Neem oil is an herbal pesticide that repels cats and bugs.
  • Keep the Plant Away: Add pinecones or crumbled aluminum foil around the container to move their attention away.
  • Introduce Hurdles: Place a plastic carpet protector with a knobbly side to irritate the cat’s paws whenever they step on it or introduce mesh fabric around the plant.

From Editorial Team


Ponytail Palm plants display bushier leaf growth, which may easily lure the cat.

Therefore, consider introducing hurdles to prevent your cat from nibbling on it and keep it looking healthy.

Otherwise, place your plant outside to eradicate the problem.

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