Although both cats and houseplants can be found in many homes, the two don’t always get along. Cats are naturally inquisitive creatures who may experiment with new foods and textures by licking, chewing, and swallowing.
Some houseplants are safe for cats to eat (at least in moderation), but others are toxic if ingested.
The yucca plant is toxic to feline pets, unfortunately. Cats are in danger from the steroidal saponins it contains.
Convulsions, loss of coordination, nausea, and vomiting are just some of the side effects of eating a yucca. Please contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice any of these symptoms after feeding your cat yucca.
Keep reading to learn more about yucca plants, the effects they have on cats, and other house plants that are thought to be harmful to cats.
Wild Yucca plants can be found in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. They’re drought-resistant, which is great if you’re the type of houseplant owner who forgets to water their plants regularly.
Yuccas are visually appealing due to their long and pointed fronds, and they can grow quite large, but this process can take many years.
Yucca is used for medicinal purposes, specifically its root. Osteoarthritis, migraines, inflammation, colitis, high cholesterol, and gastrointestinal problems are just some of the conditions it has been used to treat. The vast majority of yucca is edible.
Almost every variety of yucca is edible by humans, including the stalks, leaves, flowers, and fruit. Usually, in fact.
There is insufficient evidence to support the medicinal claims made for yucca extract, which is used in some carbonated beverages. Yucca is only good for planting, growing, and looking at; we don’t recommend it for any other uses.
Yucca Toxicity In Cats
Yucca plants are considered safe for human consumption, but are toxic to cats. In fact, they have been classified as a poison. All parts of the plant, including the root, contain the steroidal saponins.
The leaves, stems, and fruits all contain it as well. Although these are toxic, your cat is more likely to experience serious effects from prolonged exposure than from sampling a single leaf.
Your cat may experience mild vomiting and diarrhea if it tries yucca.
Your feline friend may experience severe vomiting, diarrhea, and convulsions if they consume this plant on a regular basis. Dehydration is a serious issue brought on by severe diarrhea. When a cat has persistent vomiting, it’s time to visit the vet.
Saponins and Pet Poisoning
Saponins found in yucca plants make them toxic to feline pets. This chemical is effective at discouraging pest animals and insects from the area.
It can be found all over the plant, but especially in the leaves where cats like to snack.
But the concentration is so low that your cat probably won’t get seriously poisoned.
Poisoning Signs and Treatment
The most common side effects of yucca consumption by cats are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your cat is vomiting and showing no other symptoms, you likely won’t need to take them to the vet.
However, other symptoms, such as drooling, weakness, lack of motor coordination, and seizures, may appear in severe cases or if your cat eats small amounts over time.
See a vet right away if you notice any of these more serious symptoms. Poisoning from yucca can be fatal in extreme cases.
Yucca vs Cassava
Cassava plants, which are also known as yuca, are often misidentified as yucca. Despite the fact that they share a name, these plants are not related. Although there are some toxic compounds in cassava, they are much less concentrated than the saponins in yucca, so it is safe to feed to pets.
Although yucca plants themselves are toxic to animals, you may find yucca in products marketed to cats or hidden in the ingredient list. Yucca extract, while unusual, is safe to use as long as it has been processed properly. Saponins, which could harm your cat, are removed during the extraction process. Although we can’t say that there is any research to support the health benefits of herbal or alternative remedies for humans and cats, they do offer the benefit of not being poisoned.
Other Potentially Harmful Houseplants
If your cat has a habit of tearing at plant leaves, like yucca leaves, you should not keep them indoors. In addition to the yucca, there are other common houseplants that can be harmful to felines.
Although it’s common knowledge that cats shouldn’t be exposed to lilies, it’s worth restating anyway. Toxic to cats in extreme amounts. All parts of the plant, including the leaves, the stem, and the water in the vase, pose a significant risk.
Be very wary of having this plant in your home if you have the type of cat that likes to nibble on everything.
The main symptoms of lily poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive drooling, and they usually begin within 12 hours after ingestion.
2. Aloe Vera
The healing properties of aloe vera and other plants have been known for a long time. Aloe vera is well-liked for its unusual appearance, but the plant’s juice should never be given to a cat. Tremors can follow a loss of appetite and a color change in the urine.
Aside from their aesthetic appeal, peonies have a long lifespan and can continue to bloom for centuries if cared for properly.
However, this is not true of cats that consume them. When consumed by felines, peonies are known to trigger depression as well as vomiting and diarrhea.
Eucalyptus, another well-known plant, is another houseplant that can seriously afflict cats.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive salivation, and they can result from ingesting any part of the plant. It has the same depressive, sluggish, and listless effects as peonies.
5. Rubber Plant
Cats should avoid all rubber plants, which include many different genus. Loss of coordination, depression, and vomiting are all symptoms.
Though the reactions to the rubber plant are typically milder than those to other plants, you should still consult a vet if you suspect your cat has ingested any.
The Top 3 Safe Replacements For Your Yucca
Cats can eat some, but not all, houseplants. Here are three replacements for your rubber plants, yucca plants, and aloe vera in the event that you were forced to get rid of them.
1. Spider Plant
The spider plant poses no threat to felines, but we can’t say the same for cats and these trailing, hanging plants. While they clean the air, they don’t like being in the sun. They’re hardy plants that can endure almost anything, barring consumption by your cat, of course.
2. African Violet
The African violet is a delicately beautiful plant. They require consistent care, especially watering and fertilization, but they’ll reward you with year-round beauty and a splash of color.
3. Money Tree
The Money Tree is a large plant that can stand in for a yucca and is thought to bring about financial success. Even though cats aren’t poisoned by this large plant, frequent consumption may lead to stomach problems.
If your cat is a grazer, you should probably keep it away from yucca plants. Planting yucca where cats can get to it is risky, but most cats won’t bother with it if they have a pot of soft grass to chew on.
While most cases of yucca poisoning in cats are relatively mild, severe symptoms may develop if your cat consumes a large amount of the plant all at once or over the course of several days.