are monsteras toxic to cats

Are Monsteras Toxic to Cats? What Cat Owners Need to Know

Houseplants can add beauty and elegance to your home, but if you’re a cat owner, it’s essential to consider the safety of your furry friends. One popular plant, the Monstera, has captivated the hearts of interior design enthusiasts and plant lovers alike. But the question looms: are Monsteras toxic to cats?

This article delves into the chemistry behind Monstera plants, the risks they pose to your feline companions, and what precautions you can take to create a harmonious living environment for both plants and pets.

What Are Monstera Plants?


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Monstera plants are a tropical species native to the rainforests of Central America but have found their way into homes worldwide due to their striking appearance and relatively easy care requirements. Belonging to the Araceae family, these plants are characterized by their large, split or perforated leaves, which can make a dramatic statement in any room.

There are several varieties of Monstera, with Monstera deliciosa and Monstera adansonii being the most commonly found in homes. Monstera deliciosa is often recognized for its large, glossy leaves with deep splits and holes, making it a unique and attractive choice for indoor spaces.

On the other hand, Monstera adansonii, commonly known as the “Swiss Cheese Vine,” has smaller, similarly perforated leaves and is often used in hanging baskets.

Besides their aesthetic value, Monsteras are also known for their air-purifying qualities. They can absorb pollutants like formaldehyde and can improve the overall air quality in your home, adding to their appeal as a popular houseplant.

The Chemicals Behind Plant Toxicity


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When it comes to plant toxicity, understanding the underlying chemicals or compounds is crucial for determining how dangerous the plant may be for pets. In Monstera plants, the primary toxic compound is calcium oxalate. This compound exists in the form of microscopic crystals called raphides, which are found throughout the plant’s tissues.

When ingested or chewed on, these calcium oxalate crystals can penetrate soft tissues in the mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal tract, leading to irritation and discomfort. The severity of symptoms can vary based on the amount ingested and the individual animal’s sensitivity. While calcium oxalate is not fatal in the doses typically consumed during accidental ingestion, it can cause significant discomfort and should be treated promptly.

In addition to calcium oxalate, Monstera plants may also contain other secondary metabolites like saponins or alkaloids. While these compounds are generally not present in concentrations that would be highly toxic, they can contribute to the overall toxicity of the plant when ingested.

Are Monsteras Toxic to Cats?


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The simple answer to the question of whether monsteras are toxic to cats is yes, they are.

While Monsteras may grace our homes with their unique, tropical beauty, they pose a real risk to our feline companions. Various scientific studies and veterinary sources confirm that the calcium oxalate crystals in Monstera plants can cause a range of symptoms in cats when ingested.

The onset of symptoms can be quite quick, ranging from immediate to within several hours after ingestion. The most common signs that your cat has ingested Monstera include oral irritation, excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, and sometimes vomiting. More severe cases can lead to difficulty in swallowing and can even cause respiratory distress if the plant material obstructs the airway.

The severity of the symptoms often depends on the amount of the plant ingested, the specific part of the plant consumed (leaves are often more toxic than stems), and the individual sensitivity of the cat. It is essential to note that while many cats are naturally averse to eating plants, some might be curious or bored and nibble on the leaves, leading to potential toxicity.

What to Do If Your Cat Ingests Monstera


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If you suspect your cat has ingested a Monstera plant, it’s essential to act swiftly to minimize the risk of severe symptoms. Begin by carefully removing any remaining plant material from your cat’s mouth to prevent further ingestion.

You can also gently rinse your cat’s mouth with water to remove any residual toxins. It’s advisable not to induce vomiting at home without consulting a veterinarian, as this could exacerbate the condition or cause additional complications.

The next step is to contact your veterinarian immediately for guidance on what further actions to take. Based on the severity of the symptoms, your vet may recommend that you bring your cat in for a thorough examination. Treatment could involve symptomatic support like intravenous fluids, medications to control vomiting, and possibly even activated charcoal to absorb remaining toxins from the gastrointestinal tract.

If immediate veterinary help is not accessible, consider contacting an emergency pet poison helpline. They can offer initial advice on managing the situation until you can reach a vet. Keep in mind that time is of the essence, so it’s essential to act promptly to ensure the well-being of your feline companion.

Alternative Plant Options for Cat Owners


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If you’re a pet parent and a plant enthusiast, you don’t have to give up one passion for the other. There are numerous beautiful and non-toxic plant options that you can safely incorporate into your home without putting your cat at risk. Here are some suggestions:

  • Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum): These are not only non-toxic but also excellent air purifiers, making them a doubly beneficial addition to your home.
  • African Violets (Saintpaulia): These offer beautiful, colorful blooms and are safe for cats. They do well in indirect light conditions.
  • Bamboo Palms (Chamaedorea): This plant can add a tropical touch to your home without any toxicity concerns. They are relatively easy to care for and can grow in varying light conditions.
  • Calathea: Known for their striking leaf patterns, Calatheas are non-toxic and are often referred to as “prayer plants” because their leaves fold up at night.
  • Haworthia: These are small, low-maintenance succulents that can add a touch of green to any space and are safe for cats.

Each of these alternatives provides specific aesthetic and functional benefits that can rival the allure of a Monstera plant, so you won’t feel like you’re compromising too much by choosing a pet-safe option.

How to Keep Cats Safe Around Monsteras


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If you’re drawn to the exotic allure of Monstera plants but also want to ensure your feline friend’s safety, several preventive measures can help mitigate the risks involved. Here’s how you can approach each:

1. Out of Reach

The easiest and most straightforward way to keep your cat safe is to put the Monstera plant where your cat can’t reach it. You can opt for high shelves that your cat can’t jump onto or use a hanging planter that dangles well above their maximum reach. Keep in mind that cats are agile creatures, so you’ll want to be confident that your chosen location is genuinely inaccessible.

2. Close Supervision

When you first bring a Monstera into your home, it’s natural for your cat to be curious. During this initial period, ensure you’re around to supervise any interactions between your cat and the new plant. Being present allows you to intervene quickly should your cat decide to take a nibble.

3. Regular Inspection

Plants shed leaves, and pieces can fall off without you noticing. Make it a habit to periodically inspect the area around your Monstera for any fallen leaves or debris that your cat could ingest. Promptly remove any that you find.

4. Physical Barriers

If your Monstera has to be in a more accessible location, consider creating a physical barrier around it. You can use decorative plant cages or fences to keep your cat at bay. Ensure that the barrier is sturdy enough to withstand your cat’s curiosity and any potential climbing or pawing attempts.

5. Training

While training a cat to avoid specific areas or items can be challenging, it’s not impossible. Use deterrent sprays made for this purpose or employ other training techniques like providing a loud noise or mild squirt of water as a deterrent when your cat approaches the plant. Consistency is key in training, so keep at it.

6. Consult a Veterinarian

Finally, if you’re serious about having both a Monstera and a cat in your home, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian for advice tailored to your cat’s specific health conditions and behaviors. They can provide medical insight into how your particular cat might react to toxic plants and may offer additional preventive strategies.

By employing a combination of these preventive measures, you create layers of safety that minimize the risks involved in having a Monstera plant in a cat-friendly home. However, remember that the safest course of action is to opt for plants known to be non-toxic to cats if you’re concerned about their well-being.


For those enamored with Monstera’s lush, intricate foliage, the reality is sobering: these plants are toxic to cats. Yet, with careful placement and vigilance, it may still be possible to include them in a pet-friendly home. However, when in doubt, opt for plants known to be non-toxic to cats to ensure the safety of your furry family members.

AboutCorinne Switzer

Corinne is an avid reader and takes a keen interest in conspiracy theories. When not busy with her day job, she likes to indulge the writer in her and pens columns on a wide range of topics that cover everything from entertainment, healthy living to healthcare and more.