Is Croton Toxic To Cats? Are Croton Plants Poisonous?

The Croton (Codiaeum variegatum) is a well-known indoor house plant, beloved for its colorful shades and leafy foliage, not so much as flowering plants.

Depending on the cultivar, the Croton plants will sport green leaves that are large and waxy with splashes of different colors.

Calico cat sleeping in sunlight by window of house hiding behind croton red plant in roomPin
Are Croton plants poisonous to cats? | Kristina Blokhin-Adobe

The Croton plant is native to Malaysia and other countries such as Indonesia and Australia.

Cat owners want to know: Are croton toxic to cats? Yes, it most certainly is. Crotons (Codiaeum variegatum) are poisonous plants and can cause several health problems for our furry friends.

The Croton plant is colorful vibrant, and brightens up any space. Lighting from eastern and western windows creates a nice pop of color and adds texture to any viable room in your home.

There are ways to safely handle garden crotons, including them in your home, even if you have pets like cats.

You’ll also be surprised to learn – cats may want nothing to do with your Croton plant in the first place.

In this article, we’ll provide an in-depth look at croton and cats and answer your question, Are crotons poisonous to cats?

What Parts of the Croton Are Poisonous or Toxic?

Every single aspect of the Croton plant is poisonous. Even the ASPCA agrees:

  • The leaves
  • The roots
  • Any flowers they produce
  • Even the stems

100% of these plants are toxic or poisonous to cats and humans

All Croton plant varieties produce a sticky, milky sap that contains 5-deoxygenol, a poisonous chemical compound. This is in a liquidized form and not a solid.

Touching this ingredient (even for humans) can cause near-immediate skin irritation and contact dermatitis.

Later on, we discuss handling procedures for crotons to help you stay safe when planting, transplanting, or moving them.

Tortoiseshell cat behind vibrant green leaves.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @cr4pelle

Related: Are Crotons Toxic To Humans

What Are the Symptoms of Croton Poisoning?

Your pet cat may experience some mild to severe symptoms, some of which will not be displayed immediately. 

Symptoms can occur post-ingestion, depending on how long it takes to work its way through your cat’s system.

Common symptoms are:

  • Vomiting
  • Skin irritation
  • Diarrhea
  • Digestion issues
  • Excessive drooling
  • Mouth sores
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Gastrointestinal upset 
  • Liver Failure

Some of these can be difficult to see in pet cats. Check your cat’s litter box for signs of improper stools. You should be concerned if you notice your cat is drooling (very uncommon for cats).

It can be hard to diagnose if your cat is experiencing digestive issues, so it’s best to take them to a veterinarian. 

Your cat may seem extra jumpy. They may meow more often or may refuse to eat or drink anything.

Their bodies will signal to them that something is wrong. It’s up to you to look for the sign.

Blue-eyed cat peers through leaves.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @senyines

Garden croton can become fatal to your cat. Many cats identify mouth pain and stop eating this bitter plant. Excessive or prolonged ingestion may result in breathing difficulties, eventually leading to fatality.

Searching for cat-friendly indoor plants? Learn more from our extensive resources.

How To Protect Yourself While Handling Croton

Is Croton plant safe for cats? Technically, no, but they’re also not entirely safe for you to handle either.

When handling crotons, follow these guidelines:

  • Use gloves even when not directly interacting with the houseplant.
  • Change your clothing after handling or moving crotons.
  • Try to keep Croton away from fans and air conditioning vents.
  • Ensure that water runoff from Croton is contained and does not spill into your home.

The Croton plant has a low toxicity level to humans. But it’s still important to exercise safety and caution when using it. Croton is only harmful if ingested by either you or your cat.

Cats Generally Don’t Like the Taste of Croton

Are croton plants toxic to cats? 100%.

Your cat might not even want to chew on this house plant in the first place. Cats will use their mouths to taste something or test its durability (like when they play with new toys).

Cat with a collar by a potted plant on a sunny balcony.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @theaqueen_the_cat

But the taste of croton is very bitter and off-putting to felines.

Having a Croton plant and owning one or more cats is possible. Ingesting croton plants is dangerous for cats. 

But, if you introduce your cat to the plant and let the cat get acquainted (with your supervision), you’ll be able to see how they interact with it.

If the cat begins chewing on it, remove the plant and let them know this isn’t okay.

Monitor their reaction to see if they dislike the taste. But, for more cat owners, having Croton in your home isn’t worth the risk.

Other toxic plants for your furry friends include lilies, azaleas, daffodils, and tulips. 

You can also plant cat repellants like citrus, lavender, and rosemary beside your Croton.

If you want cat-friendly plants, you can grow fern, Areca palm, or spider plants. 

NOTE: Animal Poison Control Center Helpline 1-800-222-1222.

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