Cats are adventurous, curious, and stubborn animals, so it is not unusual for them to encounter an interesting-looking plant and get the sudden urge for a snack. Depending on the plant, a cat may endure anything from mild, transient discomfort to a full-blown health crisis. Many plant and pet owners may wonder if ferns are toxic to cats and what they should do if their pet chews or bites their leaves. This guide will help protect your kitty from poisonous plants and tell you what to do if your cat ingests a fern.
Are Ferns Poisonous to Cats?
In a nutshell, most ferns are not poisonous to cats. However, some ferns may be confused with their look-alike cousins, which muddies the waters quite a bit. There is a difference between what is classified as “true ferns” and those plants with a fern-like appearance but not part of the fern family. Unfortunately, some of these faux ferns are dangerous to cats.
So, are ferns bad for cats? Are they harmful or even dangerous for your pet? A little knowledge goes a long way, so let’s explore the various types of ferns and faux ferns and learn what to do if your cat eats or bites your fern.
What type of plant are ferns?
Ferns are not flowering plants and do not have blooms or seeds, so most ferns reproduce via spore production. But ferns have leaves, roots, and stems as part of their anatomy, just as flowering plants do.
Are there ferns cats can consume safely? Nope. Many plants that look like ferns or have the word "fern" in their name are not actually ferns at all. Many are toxic for your cat. Among the most common of these are Asparagus fern, Sprengeri fern, fern palm, and winter fern. Contact the Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian if your cat eats any of these plants.
True Ferns: Are They Safe For Cats?
According to the ASPCA, plants that are considered true ferns are generally safe to keep in a home with cats. True ferns many people keep in their homes include the Boston, button, rabbit's foot, and staghorn varieties. This doesn't mean it is safe for your cat to eat them, but these plants are not dangerous and will not cause severe damage if your pet ingests them.
Are ferns safe for cats? In general, yes. If your cat eats one of these types of ferns, your kitty might have an upset tummy with mild diarrhea and vomiting, but these symptoms usually do not require medical intervention. Still, checking in with your vet for guidance is always a good idea.
Fern Toxicity and Cats
Cats are curious creatures that are always willing to try new snack foods. To keep your fur baby safe, you must remove any hazards to their health from their reach. Ferns can be dangerous to cats, and it is up to you as a pet parent to avoid poisonous hazards. Cats and ferns are not the best combination even if it’s not a deadly one. You should also know what to do if your pet ingests a fern despite your best efforts to take the necessary precautions.
Your cat doesn’t even have to ingest certain plants to be adversely affected by them. Some plants can cause a toxic reaction in your cat just by being in the general vicinity of your pet.
Even the pollen from certain plants is toxic if your kitty inhales it, causing an allergic response.
Symptoms of Fern Poisoning in Cats
If your cat ingested parts of the leaves or the oil from toxic ferns, the symptoms can range from mild to severe. The ASPCA lists many of the plants to be avoided on their webpage. Here are some symptoms to watch out for if your pet has made a meal of your ferns.
If your pet bit or rubbed against a toxic variety of ferns, serious health issues could result. Consult with your veterinarian to discuss the proper plan of care, which will most likely involve an in-person assessment of your cat.
Treatment and Recovery
If your cat has ingested a toxic fern, alert your vet as soon as possible and follow their directives. Eating or even simply rubbing up against a fern can be a cause of severe medical woes for your kitty. If your vet wants to assess your cat in the office, bring a piece of the fern the animal ingested or touched for analysis. This is exceedingly helpful for diagnostic and treatment purposes.
In most cases, the veterinarian will rinse the irritating oils from the fern from your cat’s mouth and skin. If your kitty is vomiting and having diarrhea, your veterinarian might order intravenous fluids to keep your furbaby hydrated. The vet may also administer an antihistamine to address any skin irritation.
Other Poisonous Plants To Keep My Cat Away From
A variety of common houseplants could prove dangerous to your feline friend if ingested. Here are a few plants that can harm your pet. If you are unsure of what to do after your cat has eaten one of your plants, call ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 for guidance.
Pothos plants are harmful to felines. If your cat ingests this plant, it could irritate your pet’s tongue, lips, or mouth. Ingestion of a pathos plant can also cause excessive salivation, trouble swallowing, or vomiting.
Tulips belong to the Lily family. All parts of the tulip, especially the bulb, are toxic to cats. Tulips contain alkaloid and glycoside compounds and allergenic lactones, which are toxic. Ingestion may cause vomiting, drooling, and diarrhea.
Aloe Vera Plant
The Aloe Vera plant is a commonplace succulent healing for humans but toxic to cats. A substance called Aloin is Aloe Vera’s toxic agent that can be harmful to your pet. This yellow and bitter yellow substance in most Aloe Vera plants can cause your cat G.I. upset and vomit and may also turn your pet’s urine reddish.
Peace Lily Plant
If your cat munches on a Peace lily, it can result in a burning sensation on the tongue and lips. Drooling, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting are common symptoms of Peace lily toxicity. In rare cases, kidney failure or even death can happen if your pet is left untreated.
Mother-in-Law Plant (Monstera Deliciosa)
More commonly known as the snake plant, it contains a toxic to cats substance called saponin. This toxin can result in G.I. distress, drooling, and swelling of the animal’s mouth and throat.
It's best to keep toxic fern-like plants out of your house and yard if you can. If you do have these plants in your indoor or outdoor garden, place any toxic plants as far out of the cat's reach as possible. Keep a first aid kit on hand, as well as emergency phone numbers such as those for a pet poison hotline and your vet's emergency contact number.
Even if you remove all the plants from your house, your cat could nibble on a fern if they got out. It's a good idea to be prepared for a poisoning emergency, even if it's not likely to happen. Better safe than sorry!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are ferns toxic to cats?
Depending on the plant, a cat ingesting a fern can cause anything from mild, transient discomfort to a full-blown emergency. Most ferns are not toxic to cats, but ferns have look-alike cousins that can cause severe consequences if eaten by your pet.
Can cats eat ferns?
According to the ASPCA, plants that are considered true ferns are generally safe to keep in a home with cats. True ferns many people keep in their homes include the Boston, button, rabbit's foot, and staghorn varieties. You should discourage your cat from eating them, but these plants are not dangerous.
What ferns are safe for cats?
True ferns many people keep in their homes include the Boston, button, rabbit's foot, and staghorn varieties.
What ferns are poisonous to cats?
Many plants that look like ferns or have the word "fern" in their name are not actually ferns at all. Many of these plants are toxic for your pet. Among the most common of these are Asparagus fern, Sprengeri fern, fern palm, and winter fern.