How much snake plant is toxic to cats?

Answered by Frank Schwing

Snake plants, also known as Sansevieria or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, contain a compound called saponin. Saponin is a natural detergent-like substance that is found in various plants. While saponin can be toxic to cats in large quantities, the amount of snake plant typically ingested by cats is not enough to cause severe harm.

Cats are known for their discerning taste and are usually deterred by the bitter taste of snake plant leaves. They may only take a small nibble or even spit it out immediately. This is actually a good instinct, as it helps to minimize the potential harm.

If your cat does ingest a small portion of a snake plant leaf, you may notice some mild symptoms. These symptoms can include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and in rare cases, lethargy. These signs typically last for about 1-2 days, as the cat’s body eliminates the toxin.

It’s important to note that while a small amount of saponin ingestion is not fatal, it is still best to prevent your cat from chewing on snake plants. Continuous exposure to snake plants or ingesting large amounts of the leaves can potentially lead to more serious health issues.

If you suspect that your cat has ingested a significant amount of snake plant or is showing severe symptoms, it is essential to seek veterinary assistance immediately. A veterinarian will be able to provide appropriate guidance and treatment based on the individual situation.

To prevent any potential issues, it is advisable to keep snake plants out of reach of your feline companions. This can be achieved by placing them on high shelves or using hanging planters. Additionally, providing your cat with alternative safe plants to chew on, such as cat grass, can help redirect their attention.

While snake plants contain saponin, which can be toxic to cats in large quantities, the small amount typically ingested by cats is unlikely to cause severe harm. However, it is still best to prevent your cat from chewing on snake plants to avoid any potential complications. If you notice any concerning symptoms or suspect significant ingestion, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian for appropriate guidance.