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Are Money Trees Toxic to Cats?

Many people have houseplants because they add a pleasant look to their home and offer clean air. Unfortunately, certain types of plants are toxic to pets and can harm them if ingested. Money trees (Pachira aquatica) are typically regarded as pet-friendly but there are some concerns for cat owners. The ASPCA notes that while the plant itself doesn’t contain the same toxins as other household plants, it can cause digestive issues in cats who take a nibble. Additionally, the soil and fertilizers used around the plant can also contain harmful chemicals that are potentially upsetting to felines.


How Do You Know if Your Cat has Eating the Plant?

If your cat eats any parts of the money trees toxic to cats, signs may include vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms are typically mild and resolve within a day or two. However, if you suspect your cat has chewed on the money tree, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately. Your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center will be able to give you specific guidance on how to treat your cat’s symptoms.

The reason for digestive upset in cats who ingest money tree parts is due to the presence of phorbol esters, which are also found in other plants of the Euphorbiaceae family including poinsettias and castor beans. Phorbol esters irritate and erode the lining of the mouth and throat, leading to discomfort, drooling, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting.

A veterinarian will assess the extent of your cat’s ingestion and toxicity by performing a complete physical exam and running diagnostic tests. Your vet will also check your cat’s history and identify any pre-existing health conditions that could increase their risk for severe poisoning.

Ingesting the wrong amount of money tree plants can lead to moderate and severe poisoning in cats, with more serious symptoms including seizures, low blood pressure, dilated pupils, and diarrhea. In severe cases, liver and kidney damage can occur.

How Do You Keep a Money Tree Healthy and Safe for Your Pet?

Aside from making sure it’s out of reach, there are other ways you can keep your money tree a cat-safe addition to your home. Mist the plant regularly or place it in a pebble tray to boost its humidity level. This will help prevent the leaves from drying out and wilting. Repot your plant every 2-3 years or when the roots outgrow the pot. Use a well-draining potting mix and choose a container that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the current one.

It is also a good idea to keep your cat away from plants in general and even other household items like furniture, electronics, and food. To help deter curious cats from a money tree, use citrus peels or sprays as a non-toxic repellent. You can also opt for other cat-safe greenery, like spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) or Boston ferns (Dypsis lutescens). There are plenty of non-toxic options that will add color and greenery to your home without posing any risks to your furry friend.

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