Spider plant, also known by its scientific name Chlorophytum comosum, is a popular member of the Liliaceae family.
The plant is a favorite houseplant grown in pots and hanging baskets adding a festive and fresh feel to the interior of a house.
This indoor plant is easy to grow and very adaptable.
Also known as the Ribbon plant or the spider ivy, the plant grows 2’ – 3’ feet in length and produces ribbon-like, grassy foliage.
The pointed leaves are deep green in color with yellow and white stripes.
The foliage spreads up to 2’ – 2.5’ feet.
It produces spiderettes in the form of tiny white blossoms which often hang from the mother plant like spiders do from their web.
Spider plant will grow outdoors in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zones 9 through 15.
The spider plant grows well in well-drained soil and bright, indirect sunlight.
The popularity of Chlorophytum comosum as a common houseplant often raises concern among pet-owners.
Cats are particularly attracted towards this plant.
Hence, it’s crucial to know about the toxicity levels of the spider plants.
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Is Spider Plant Poisonous or Toxic?
Fortunately, spider plants are NOT poisonous or toxic.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or ASPCA, spider plants are not toxic to cats and dogs.
While these plants have shown no signs of poisoning, they have hallucinogenic properties.
Felines love to chew on the spider plant’s foliage because it is mildly hallucinogenic.
This creates a euphoric sensation similar to the one caused by Catnip plants (Nepeta cataria) and is the reason behind your furry friend’s obsession and fascination with the plant.
What Parts Of The Spider Plant Are Poisonous or Toxic?
The long foliage and the small flowers dangling from the baskets in spring are the only parts of the spider plant exposed to cats.
Hence, these usually become a snack for them.
While none of these parts are toxic, they contain chemical substances associated with opium found in poppy crops.
Grazing on these plants can result in the ingestion of these chemicals, resulting in mild hallucinations and other symptoms.
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What Are the Symptoms Caused by Spider Plant in Cats
The most common symptoms indicating your cat loves to nibble on the spider plant include wild or jumpy behavior.
Since felines enjoy the hallucinogenic effect of this plant, it puts them at a risk of ingesting too much.
If you find loose or watery stools in your pet’s litter box, this is probably a tell-tale sign.
Excessive ingestion of the spider plants can make your cat sick.
Symptoms like an upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea, might also be caused by opium-like chemical compounds.
If you see your cat is in pain, check for bite marks on the spider plant.
How To Protect Your Cat While Having a Spider Plant
The spider plant does not cause symptoms in cats, unlike various other poisonous plants like jade plant, aloe, American rubber plant, tulips, lilies, and some succulents.
Even though the spider plant is not toxic to cats, it is best if cat-owners keep their pets away from this plant.
Keep hanging baskets of spider plants high enough and not on areas where a cat could easily climb like windowsills or racks.
In case the plant cannot hang at a height to keep a pet away, apply a cat-repellent with a bitter, unappetizing taste on the leaves.
This would ensure your cat doesn’t come for a second bite.
Since spider plants grow easily, the spiderettes may hang from the foliage and tempt your cats.
This could be fixed by pruning or dividing the plants if they have sufficient growth.
Also, if your cat loves playing with houseplants, a great preventive measure is to grow cat grass (Hordeum vulgare variegate) away from the spider plant.
You’ll find this cat-safe grass in most pet shops and grows well in USDA hardiness zones 3-11.
Finally, if the cat ends up eating the spider plant and starts behaving differently or starts to experience other severe symptoms, take it to a veterinarian or contact animal poison control.