One of the most popular succulent plants is the famous aloe vera, well-known for its medicinal properties and almost impossible to kill. But, unfortunately, aloes are also known for being toxic to pets.
Recently, a genus with many similarities to the aloes has gained much attention. Haworthias look a lot like aloes, but the big question is: Is the succulent Haworthia toxic to cats? Do they share the same toxicity?
Is Haworthia Toxic To Cats?
The good news is that Haworthia is non-toxic to cats, dogs, horses, and livestock. But just because they’re non-toxic doesn’t mean your pet should eat them.
Haworthias are succulents hailing from South Africa and neighboring countries. Zebra plants (Haworthia fasciata) are perhaps the most famous species, although there are over 150 accepted species currently.
Because they love bright light but scorch easily, Haworthias are most often used as indoor plants.
The Truth About Succulent Plants And Pets
While not all are toxic to your pets, you should try to keep succulents safe from curious mouths.
Many popular houseplants are toxic to your pets, but succulents such as aloe plants can be especially problematic, as they’re often placed where your cat or dog can reach them.
Unfortunately, succulents are usually hardy and not too fussy, so they are often among the first plants children learn to grow.
It can be difficult to tell poisonous succulents from the less toxic ones, making them a headache for pet parents.
One thing cats and dogs will generally do to try and determine if it’s toxic is to sniff and examine a plant.
If they believe they’ve found a non-toxic plant, they might nibble on it. Cats are especially known for munching on plants to try and assist with hairballs or digestive issues.
The problem is that they can’t always tell the difference between toxic and non-toxic plants, so there’ll always be a risk involved if your cat is hanging out with a succulent.
Symptoms Of Overindulgence
Another important point is that cats are carnivores, so their digestive system has been adapted specifically for meat.
While a tiny bit of plant matter is normal in a cat’s diet for the reasons mentioned above, their intestines simply aren’t designed to handle any significant amount of plant matter.
Thus, while zebra plants and other Haworthias are non-toxic to cats, you can still get a sick cat if they nibble on one too much.
The most common symptom of munching on a Haworthia is nausea as your cat’s body attempts to process the plant leaves.
This may be accompanied by vomiting, the severity of which will be directly related to how much of the plant your cat tried to eat.
While vomiting may cause some alarm, in this case, it’s just the cat’s body attempting to get rid of something it considers indigestible.
However, if the plant matter gets past the stomach, it can create a few other issues.
There’s a good chance your pet will suffer from some constipation from the partially digested material and become a little gassy.
Oddly enough, diarrhea may accompany constipation or occur in its place again because your cat’s digestive tract cannot properly process plant matter.
Note that symptoms will be worse in kittens.
Keeping Your Cat (and Plant) Safe
Even though Haworthias aren’t dangerous, nobody wants a sick cat (or a chewed-up plant).
The good news is that it’s easy to enjoy your Haworthia without putting in a cat’s easy reach. Compact varieties look great on bookshelves where the pots serve as attractive bookends.
This is especially true of those with rosette-shaped foliage.
Meanwhile, zebra plants and similarly long-leaved Haworthias look great in hanging baskets or isolated plant stands out or paw reach.
In gardens, you can simply place a fence or other barrier around your planting area to keep pets and wildlife away.