Are ZZ plants toxic to cats is a worrying question, especially if you have a pet. The ZZ plant has delightful leaf patterns and almost no maintenance requirements; however, it does contain elements that could be toxic to your pet. But how much of a threat does this really represent?

Are ZZ Plants Toxic to Cats

Learn about the potential dangers it poses to cats in this enlightening article, where we discuss how toxic it is and the symptoms you can anticipate if your cat comes into contact with it.

Are ZZ Plants Toxic to Cats?

The ZZ plants are slightly dangerous for cats, other pets if consumed directly. The plant contains toxic calcium oxalate crystals in its sap which is poisonous. When this comes in contact with the cat, it results in minor skin irritation, digestive disorders and eye discomfort.

What Happens If a Cat Eats ZZ Plant?

If a cat eats ZZ plant, it will harm them by giving a burning sensation, discomfort in their eyes, pain in oral cavity, swelling of airway, and skin irritation. In parallel to this, it would also diminish their appetite, give digestive disorders, and change the behavior as well.

The ZZ plant does not pose a very serious threat; however, it acts more like a severe irritant than an actual poison. The plant naturally produces crystals as a defense mechanism against potential predators and to maintain an appropriate level of calcium in the plant tissue. This is the component that causes problems if accidentally consumed.

– Burning Sensation

Your cat will feel a burning sensation all over its body if it ingests the sap of the plant or if the ZZ plant comes into contact with its bare skin. Of course, animals won’t be able to communicate this effectively, but you have to look for some cues. The reason behind this is that the sap that is in the plant’s leaves contains a poisonous matter, which is not something that the pet’s body is used to, hence, it would burn by the plants poisonous sap.

– Pain or Discomfort in the Eyes

In the same way, you can find ZZ plants toxic to humans as well as cats, and both would feel pain or discomfort if the sap with the crystals came in contact with the eyes or mucus membranes. It would give the pet a blurry sight, or agitation of the eyeball.

Pain or Discomfort in the Eyes

The irritation, though, would only last for a relatively short period of time. And in case you were wondering about are ZZ plants toxic to dogs, then they are to them in a similar fashion, as well, regarding their eyes.

– Pain in the Oral Cavity

Has your cat ever attempted to gnaw on the leaves of the ZZ plant?  If this is the case, the animal may experience oral pain that will most likely cause him to spit out the plant, but this is not something that can be guaranteed upon to occur in every instance.

The severity of the reaction has been observed to be exactly proportional to the amount of plant material that has been ingested. Since the plant is entering the pet’s mouth, and the plant leaves already are poisonous, then the direct target in this case will be the mouth which would be intoxicated and feel pain.

– Swelling of Airway

If any part of the plant is consumed by your cat, the immune response of its body may cause its throat to swell up severely. The ZZ plant toxicity may lead its airways to become blocked, which could result in the cat’s death due to suffocation and difficulty breathing. Having said that, this occurrence is quite rare. In order for the animal to exhibit such a big reaction, it must first consume an excessive amount.

– Skin Irritations

It is possible that your cat will develop a mild case of skin irritation if it scratches or rubs up against the ZZ plant.

Skin Irritations

On the other hand, a cat’s fur coat covers virtually all of its body, with the exception of its nose, ears, and paws, so it is unlikely that this would give the animal too much discomfort. The sap will flow below the fur, and it will start to itch the skin.

In spite of this, there is a chance that your cat will experience a more severe form of irritation if it brushes against the parts of the plant where the skin does not have hair, such as its eyes and face, which can become irritated.

– Diminished Appetite

There is a good chance that the cat will feel less hungry as a result of consuming the plant toxic, although you might not notice this change in appetite right away and this is common by the ZZ plant exposure.

Your cat will eat less as a result of the burning sensation that will have traveled down its throat, making it uncomfortable for them to swallow. They will start to avoid food, because of the stress that they just went through.

They may have some swelling in their throat, which would make it significantly more difficult for them to eat anything, even their favorite treats, and this may be a sign because it doesn’t find itself comfortable enough to eat anymore.

– Digestive Disorders

There could also be irritation of the digestive tract and stomach caused by the toxic plant. Thus, the cat may experience drooling, diarrhea and vomiting, releasing the toxins that it has been subjected to. To find these symptoms, notice that the cat may have paws in his mouth.

ZZ plant cat symptoms will begin to manifest in the animal in less than two hours after they have consumed the plants, and the majority of them will recover within twenty-four hours as the plant isn’t downright poisonous to cause much of a hazard to its health.

– Change in Behavior Pattern

You will detect a change in behavior pattern in your cat as a direct result of the pain that the toxins tend to create in the gastrointestinal tract. They may hide in a confined space, where they will either roll themselves up into a tight ball or hunch their backs, and they might also make an excessive amount of noise, which is a grievance of pain.

Change in Behavior Pattern

However, the level of discomfort experienced is proportional to the amount of ZZ plant consumed; thus, your cat’s behavior could show any significant changes. Basically, your pet will not be playful or climbing over some places, on the contrary, they will be very still, and crying in pain.

What Should You Do if Your Cat Has Eaten a ZZ Plant?

If your cat has eaten ZZ plant, you should first inspect its mouth, after this, you should clean its skin gently, and follow a treatment prescription thoroughly. Then make sure you monitor its skin on the long run, and most importantly, hydrate it, so the toxin washes out.

– Inspect its Mouth

If you see your cat eating a piece of a ZZ plant, you should inspect his mouth and remove any bits of the plant that you find. After that, thoroughly rinse your cat’s mouth with a lot of water. If he starts throwing up or has diarrhea, you should give it some time. It should take not more than a few hours for your cat to feel better and be back to normal.

– Clean its Fur Gently

Remove any plant matter that is stuck in your cat’s fur or on its skin. Make sure to keep your cat confined in a secure area, so you can keep a close eye on it.

Clean its Fur Gently

You must carefully try to pick up the leaves that may have fallen on your cat’s fur, and inspect if they have been in contact with the skin that’s below the fur as well.

– Follow the Treatment Prescribed

In severe cases, activated charcoal or drugs to induce vomiting may be prescribed by your veterinarian for your cat to remove any toxins that may still be present in its digestive tract. In addition, your veterinarian may prescribe medication such as sucralfate, which protects the portions of the stomach that have been irritated.

So whether your cat or dog ate a ZZ plant, depending on the severity of the condition, pain medicine and anti-inflammatory medication may also be prescribed.

– Monitor the Skin Condition

If you notice any skin irritation or allergy in your cat, consider bathing it. Apply some aloe vera gel to the skin area affected by the allergy, and let it cool off. In addition, make sure that your cat gets plenty of water, and try not to move it about too much.

To help the cat, you should rinse some water into its mouth as well, and the skin that is surrounding its mouth and its face. This is very important, because if you skip doing so, it may irritate its skin severely.

– Thorough Hydration

When hazardous substances cause vomiting or diarrhea in cats, dehydration is the primary health issue since it can lead to death. As long as you make sure that your cat always has some water, the toxins in the plant will be washed out of its system rapidly, and there won’t be any significant problems.

Remember that as soon as the toxins in your cat’s system are eliminated, they will quickly return to normal behavior and personality. Which is why you should make sure that it drinks water so much, so that the water would wash away the poison.

How To Prevent Your Cat From Consuming ZZ Plant?

To prevent the cat from consuming ZZ plant, make sure that you place the plant on a higher shelf, and position the plant right. In addition to this, you must buy a cat repellent spray and spread it, and place some cat grass in a container.

– Place on Higher Shelf

If you want to avoid your cat being ill from the plant, the easiest thing to do is to keep it out of her reach.

Place on Higher Shelf

However, given your pet cat’s voracious curiosity and impressive acrobatic abilities, we know this is not easy.

– Position the Plant Right

You can put the plant on a shelf that is beyond the reach of your cat or in a room that he cannot enter. Another valuable advice is to position an unappealing plant, such as a cactus with sharp spines, in front of the ZZ plant. It is expected that this will serve as a protective barrier against the possible toxicity of this plant.

– Buy a Cat Repellent Spray

You can purchase devices specifically designed to deter cats from eating dangerous plants from garden centers and other retailers selling hardware.

You can spray them on the plant’s container or foliage to prevent your kitty from touching it. However, ensure that it is safe and won’t do more damage so give the product’s label a thorough read before giving it to your cat or plants.

– Place Cat Grass in a Container

Want to prevent your cat from eating your delightful plants? Then you may offer him his garden space within the house. You can purchase cat grass that is already cut and prepared for your feline friend to consume, or you can cultivate your own in the convenience of your home. Purchase grass seeds, such as oats, wheat, rye, or barley, from your preferred garden shop or pet store, and then plant them in an attractive container filled with potting soil.

Place Cat Grass in a Container

If you place the container somewhere sunny and give it some water now and again, there will be enough vegetation for your cat to nibble on in a matter of days. Be aware, however, that these branches only live for a short time; you will need to plant new seeds every two to three weeks to ensure that you always have fresh sprouts available to give to your cat.


– Which Plant Is the Most Dangerous to Cats?

Cats should avoid coming into contact with lilies of any kind, including Easter lilies, Asiatic lilies, red lilies or daylilies. This species of plant is at the top of the list that is toxic to cats.

In addition to this it is also imperative that you make sure that you wouldn’t locate or include any peace lily Eucalyptus, Sago palm elephant’s ear, garlic jade, azalea, amaryllis, spider plants, snake plants, and ivy of the devil.

Monstera plants belonging to this genus are slightly harmful to domestic pets such as dogs and cats. Oral irritation, pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing are some of the symptoms that can occur as a result of plant exposure.


According to what you have read in this comprehensive guide, ZZ plant poisonous to cats, can occur. What follows is a condensed rundown of how dangerous it is and what you must do if your cat is exposed to it.

  • Cats should not be given the ZZ plant because it is potentially toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals in the plant’s leaves and stems. The unwanted and bothersome effects that this component would have on your cat would be brought on by the fact that it irritates the mucosal tissues as well as the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Additionally, there is a remote possibility that ingesting this plant could, in certain circumstances, result in complications involving the respiratory system. This risk is extremely low, however.
  • Because of this, it is imperative that you take all necessary precautions to ensure that your cat does not come into any kind of contact with the ZZ plant.
  • If your cat has chewed on this plant or if it is exhibiting any of the symptoms, you should get in touch with a local veterinarian as soon as you can.

Now that you are aware that the ZZ plant poisoning and how it contains potentially harmful chemicals, it would be helpful for you to take every precaution possible to keep your cat from coming near the plant. You will have to keep a constant vigil over your cat’s activity that takes place in your home.

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