Aloe vera is one of the most widespread plants in the world. This succulent is commonly grown not only for its aesthetic appeal but also for its potential medicinal and cosmetic uses. Additionally, aloe is easy to care for and this makes it a suitable choice for a houseplant.
However, when it comes to our feline friends, a question arises: Is Aloe vera plant toxic to cats? In this guide, learn more about the potential risks of the aloe vera plant to cats and the helpful precautions needed to keep your felines safe while also enjoying the benefits of this great plant.
Is aloe toxic to cats?
Aloe vera is a popular succulent, that originates from hot dry climates. It has been grown for centuries in homes and fields for its prized gel. According to a publication by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, aloe plant extract can heal minor skin conditions and burns.
Unfortunately, aloe vera contains saponins that have adverse effects on cats and dogs. Although cats won’t die from ingesting aloe, it can cause mild to severe symptoms. If left untreated, aloe poisoning may result in serious health complications including dehydration and organ damage.
Symptoms of aloe vera poisoning in cats
If your cat chews on the aloe vera plant or ingest any product containing aloe gel, the following symptoms may show up:
- Vomiting and diarrhea. This is a common symptom of gastrointestinal distress in cats and dogs. You will notice that your cat is groaning or showing some discomfort due to abdominal pains.
- Loss of appetite. Cats with stomach irritations may show disinterest in their regular meals and this can result in instant weight loss.
- Lethargy and weakness. Cats that have ingested aloe will show a notable decrease in energy levels and overall activity. This can be linked to disinterest in eating, diarrhea, and vomiting.
- Restlessness and change of behavior. Cats experiencing aloe vera poisoning may shockingly show a change in behavior including how they interact with other pets or the owner.
- Drooling and shaking. This is a severe sign of poisoning and it may indicate organ damage. It is a critical stage that needs emergency medical attention.
In most cases, aloe poisoning symptoms are generally mild, unless your pet has eaten a large amount of materials from the plant. If you suspect that your cat has consumed aloe vera or is showing abnormal symptoms, call your vet immediately or the ASPCA hotline for care advice.
How to protect your cats from dangers of aloe plants
Cats are curious animals and protecting them from the dangers of aloe vera or other poisonous succulents requires a combination of measures. To provide a safe environment for both your plants and feline friends, here is what to do.
Keep the plant out of reach
Placement of your aloe plants is a very important factor in protecting your cats. You need to place your plant in areas that are difficult for the cat to access. Consider placing them on high shelves, window sills, or hanging planters. Cats are less likely to jump to these places.
According to Sandra Sawchuk, clinical instructor at the UNIVERSITY of WISCONSIN–MADISON School of Veterinary Medicine, cat owners should check reputable websites for lists of toxic and nontoxic plants, and make sure to place any toxic plants well beyond pets’ reach.
She further affirms that Asiatic lilies, including Easter lilies, are also a great concern. “Ingesting even a tiny amount can put a cat into kidney failure,” Sawchuk says.
Use cat deterrents
Cats tend to dislike some types of scents such as citrus, vinegar, and cedar. You may place items with these scents around your aloe plant and cats won’t move any nearby. Growing aloe with prickly plants can also scare and keep felines away from your garden.
Plant in enclosed places
If your cat is too extraordinary, it may even jump to higher surfaces. In such a case, place your aloe plants in enclosed places. You can use a netting or mesh to create a barrier between your plant and the cats. Grow succulents in terrariums or glass containers is also a great option.
Training and destructions
Train your cat using positive reinforcement. Reward your cat for avoiding the succulents and redirect their attention to their toys or cat-friendly plants. Cats also engage in plant nibbling out of boredom. Providing toys and interactive playtime to keep them engaged and active.
Make sure to supervise your cat’s interactions with new plants that you bring in your home. This allows you to correct any unwanted behavior and reinforce positive habits. You can decide to provide alternative plants that are safe for cats to nibble on such as catnip or spider plants.
While aloe vera offers numerous benefits to humans, it can cause mild to severe problems in cats. Symptoms of aloe poisoning in cats may vary depending on the amount of aloe consumed. If you suspect your cat has ingested aloe vera consult a veterinarian immediately.
As a cat owner, it’s important to know the toxicity level of the plants you grow in your gardens. This can help to provide preventive measures that aim at protecting your pets against potential poisoning. Keeping your aloe plants out of reach for cats or using deterrents can help cats coexist peacefully with your aloe plants.
My name is Diane M Lewik, and I am the founder of this website. I am a degree holder in plant biology from the University of California – Berkeley. Over years, I have cultivated a vast collection of succulents and I have learned a great deal about how to grow and care for these unique plants.