At some point, every pet owner must have found a chewed-off Zebra plant hanging naked from the stem with leafless branches and later worried about their toxic effect on the pets.
You and your cats will enjoy all the varieties of Zebra plants available in your next-door nursery, none of which are toxic.
Table of Contents Show
- Is Zebra Plant Toxic to Humans?
- Is Zebra Plant Toxic to Cats?
- How to Recover a Pet if it Ingests Zebra Plant?
- Best Ways to Stop Pets from Eating Plants
- Wrapping up…
Is Zebra Plant Toxic to Humans?
Although its toxicity to pets is virtually non-existent, it’s possible that the sap from these plants can cause skin irritation in some people with allergies.
People with allergic or sensitive skin best leave their trimming to experts or wear a proper set of gloves to prevent sap from getting on the skin.
Is Zebra Plant Toxic to Cats?
Some varieties of Zebra plant looks perfectly safe, like the broad-leaved Aphelandra squarrosa and the Calathea Zebrina.
In contrast, the spikes and thorns of Haworthiopsis attenuata and Haworthiposis fasciata may look more life-threatening to your small pets.
Each Zebra plant carries its unique beauty and has its own proper way of thriving.
Let’s have a look at some.
1. Aphelandra squarrosa
This species natively belongs to the Atlantic forest vegetation of Brazil. You can recognize it by its large, fleshy leaves and deep green foliage.
It is considered a short-lived plant and will only live a few years.
2. Haworthiopsis attenuate
It is an evergreen succulent plant with short leaves and white tubercles.
It is often confused with Aloe Vera, which poses a known danger to cats despite its positive benefits for humans.
Further, the flowers appear in November and December, making them a perfect plant to show off to your relatives and family members during Christmas.
3. Haworthiopsis fasciata
This species has a similar structure and markings to Haworthiopsis attenuate, a matter of confusions, among the most Zebra plant-loving aficionados.
However, Haworthiopsis fasciata is rare in cultivation and hard to find.
If you have difficulty distinguishing it from attenuata, you can check its upper leaf surface, which appears smoother than its attenuata counterpart.
4. Calathea zebrina
It is distinguished as an evergreen perennial species of zebra plant that can grow up to one meter: dark green above and dark red below.
Although it needs more care than others, you will learn to love the beautiful colourful leaves that won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
How to Recover a Pet if it Ingests Zebra Plant?
Any plant can cause vomiting and gastrointestinal upset in cats and dogs, and those with big leaves can be a choking hazard.
The first symptom of choking is likely to be coughing. You will also notice difficulty in breathing.
At such times, the best you can do is contact a vet nearby or any of the helplines below.
You should consider first aid, like the Heimlich maneuver, while taking your pets to the vet till the vet arrives.
1. Heimlich Maneuver for Small Pets
- Hold your pet in your lap, facing upwards.
- Use your palm to apply pressure right beneath the rib cage and push firmly inwards and upwards 5 times in a thrusting motion.
- Roll your pet back onto its side and check whether the object has been expelled.
2. Heimlich Maneuver for Big Pets
- If your pet is standing, put your arms around them to join hands at the abdomen,
- Make a fist with your hands and firmly push inwards and upwards 5 times in a thrusting motion. It is similar to performing the maneuver on a human.
- This is meant to expel the object from the mouth, so remove any object loosely in the back of your pet’s mouth to avoid swallowing it again.
- If your pet is lying down on the floor, put one hand on his back and the other to squeeze their abdomen upwards and forward towards the spine. Check if the object has been expelled or not.
Disclaimer: Only perform the Heimlich maneuver in emergency situations under professional supervision, as it can cause damage to the chest. Its also important for the pet to get checked by the vet afterwards.
Best Ways to Stop Pets from Eating Plants
There are no fool-proof methods to stop your furry little kitties and puppies from eating away your plants. However, you can try some of these techniques to get them away from your precious plant.
1. Pet Repellent Spray: Spray your plant’s leaves with over-the-counter pet sprays. These sprays are specifically designed to keep pets away from your plants.
2. Sprinkling Coffee Grounds: Firstly, it acts as a natural fertilizer for the soil as it contains all the essential macro-nutrients for plants: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Plus, it helps to deter both pets and pests from the plant.
3. Alternate Chewing Plants: Plants like catnip, cat grass, lemongrass, mint, etc., are non-toxic and may be provided as an alternative for your pets to play with.
4. Use of Aluminum Foils: Most pets run away from shiny aluminium foil. So, wrapping your plant in them could help maintain a distance between them.
5. Use of Terrariums: Using a terrarium, a glass-encased container to grow plants in a suitably controlled environment, can allow your plant to grow peacefully without external disturbances.
6. Use of Mothballs: Keeping mothballs around the plant vase will help to deter the pets from sneaking up on your plants. However, mothballs work as a pet repellant, it is toxic to pets. Thus, you might want to consider this as a last alternative.
7. Place Plant Out of Reach: Use a hanging basket or place the pot in a different room where your pets cannot reach.
For your pets to co-exist, the best we can do is train them not to play around the indoor greens as they respond well to training.
With proper care, you can raise any of the different varieties of this plant as a beautiful decoration item for your home without worrying about the safety of your pets.