Is mother in law’s tongue toxic to cats?

Answered by Tom Adger

The mother-in-law’s tongue plant, also known as Sansevieria or snake plant, is indeed toxic to cats. As an expert, I want to provide you with a detailed answer to help you understand the potential dangers this plant can pose to your feline friends.

The toxicity of the mother-in-law’s tongue plant stems from the presence of saponins. Saponins are natural chemicals found in various plants, and they serve as a defense mechanism against herbivores. In the case of cats, ingestion of the mother-in-law’s tongue plant can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and irritation.

When a cat chews on or ingests parts of the mother-in-law’s tongue plant, the saponins can irritate the mucous membranes of the mouth, throat, and digestive system. This can lead to symptoms such as drooling, pawing at the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, even difficulty breathing.

It is important to note that the toxicity of the mother-in-law’s tongue plant can vary among individual cats. Some cats may show more severe reactions to the plant, while others may only experience mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Nevertheless, it is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to the health and well-being of our pets.

If you suspect that your cat has ingested any part of the mother-in-law’s tongue plant, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately. They will be able to provide you with the necessary guidance and advice based on your cat’s specific situation. It may be recommended to induce vomiting, administer activated charcoal to absorb any toxins, or provide supportive care to alleviate any discomfort or complications.

Prevention is key when it comes to protecting your cat from the potential toxicity of the mother-in-law’s tongue plant. Here are some measures you can take:

1. Keep the plant out of your cat’s reach: Place the mother-in-law’s tongue plant in an area where your cat cannot access it, such as on high shelves or in rooms that are off-limits to your pet.

2. Use deterrents: Consider using natural deterrents, such as citrus peels or bitter apple spray, to discourage your cat from approaching or chewing on the plant.

3. Provide alternative plants: Cats are naturally inclined to explore and chew on plants. Offer safe and non-toxic alternatives, such as cat grass or catnip, to fulfill their instinctual needs.

4. Monitor your cat’s behavior: Keep an eye on your cat’s behavior around plants. If you notice any curiosity or attempts to chew on plants, redirect their attention to appropriate toys or activities.

Remember, every cat is unique, and their reactions to plants can vary. While the mother-in-law’s tongue plant may be toxic to cats, it is essential to consider other factors such as your cat’s age, health condition, and individual sensitivities.

The mother-in-law’s tongue plant is toxic to cats due to the presence of saponins. It is crucial to be aware of the potential dangers this plant can pose to your feline companion and take necessary precautions to prevent any accidental ingestion. If you suspect your cat has ingested this plant, seek veterinary assistance immediately.