Is Cat Palm Safe for Cats… Are Cat Palms Toxic? (Answered)

Cat Palms (chamaedorea cataractarum), also known as Cataract Palms, are trendy houseplants and can be found in many people’s homes. You may assume that because of the plant’s name, it is suitable for cat owners! 

But is this true? Is Cat Palm safe for cats? Spoiler alert; yes, they are safe for cats. However, we’ll explain what can harm your cat and other lovely cat-friendly houseplants.

Are Cat Palms Toxic To Cats?

According to the ASPCA, Cat Palms, or Cascade Palms, are considered non-toxic to cats and dogs. So you can safely bring home this stunning palm if you have furry friends. 

However, ingesting the plant’s fronds may cause obstruction in your cat’s digestive tract, leading to vomiting and diarrhea. 

If your cat has eaten from a plant and you see changes in behavior or appetite, please take your pet to your vet immediately!

Are All Indoor Palms Non-Toxic?

If Cat Palms are safe, that must mean that all palms are safe to keep your feline friends, right? Well, not quite! Certain palm varieties contain a compound called cycasin, which is present in palms that belong to the cycad group.

 Cycasin is highly toxic to cats, dogs, birds, and other animals. When ingested, it can lead to severe issues, such as liver damage or failure. The complete symptoms of cycasin poisoning are vomiting, bloody stool, diarrhea, excessive thirst, tremors, liver damage, and even seizures or liver failure. 

Cycas are not true palms but are often called palms because they look like them! Members of the Cycas family include Cardboard Palms (zamia furfuracea), Sago Palm (cycas revoluta), and Queen Sago Palms (cycas circinalis). 

These types of palms have stiff, cardboard-like fronds that grow from a strong trunk. You will notice that Cat Palms have softer, feathery fronds that grow from stems rather than a trunk.

Areca Palms (dypsis lutescens), Parlor Palms (chamaedorea elegans), Bamboo Palms (chamaedorea seifrizii), and Ponytail Palms (beaucarnea recurvata) are common safe indoor palms. 

We recommend always researching your plants before placing them into your home to ensure the safety of your pets. 

Caring For Your Cat Palm

Light Requirements

Cat Palm plants thrive in partial shade. Give your Cat Palm bright indirect light. Avoid placing it in direct sun exposure because it can burn the leaves. Too little sunlight may result in slow growth and dull-looking dark green leaves.

Watering

Water this Palm Tree when you notice that the top few inches of soil have gone dry. This way, the soil will remain slightly moist but never become waterlogged. 

It’s best to water this plant using rain or distilled water because tap water contains chemicals like fluoride, which can burn the Cat Palm’s sensitive root system! This may result in brown leaf tips and yellowing palm fronds.

Soil

These plants originate from Central America and Southeastern Mexico, where the soil is light and airy. Any well-drained, chunky soil mix will work great for Cat Palms. 

Mixing amendments like perlite and bark into a standard potting mix is an excellent way to enhance drainage and keep your plants healthy and happy.

Temperature and Humidity

These palms are tropical, which means they like it warm and moist. Cat Palms enjoy temperatures between 70- 80F (21-27C) during the daytime and at least 45F(7C) at night.

Low humidity can result in dry, crispy leaf edges. Boost the moisture in the air by offering your Cat Palm a humidifier or setting it on top of a pebble tray. Keep the plant away from cold drafts and radiators because these emit dry air!

Pests

The Cat Palm plant can fall prey to many houseplant pests. Common pests include spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, thrips, and fungus gnats. 

If you want to keep your plants cat-proof, please refrain from using chemical pesticides, which can contain toxicities that may harm your furry friends.

A great pet-safe and organic pest repellent is neem oil. You can create a homemade pesticide using a few drops of neem oil and dish soap in a gallon of water. Use this mixture to spray down your houseplants to treat and prevent pests.

4 Other Cat-Safe Houseplants To Love

Owning pets does not mean you don’t get to enjoy lush greenery in your home! On the contrary, many beautiful houseplants are safe to keep around your cats! We’ll share four of our favorite picks below, but be sure to read our article on the top houseplants safe for cats.

1.) Spider Plants (chlorophytum comosum)

spider plant

Spider Plants are one of the easiest and most rewarding houseplants to grow! 

Provide them with bright, indirect sunlight; you will be surprised at how fast these plants can grow. They are entirely safe to keep around all kinds of pets and children. 

2.) Haworthia

Haworthia

The genus haworthia covers many succulents that pet owners can safely grow around their four-legged friends. Haworthia thrives under neglect and is a slow grower, making them great for people who love small, compact plants and don’t enjoy watering their houseplants. 

3.) Moth Orchids (phalaenopsis)

moth orchids on a table

Good news for Orchid lovers, all Orchid varieties are completely safe for cats and dogs. These beautiful, elegant plants thrive when given bright light and ample watering. However, they can be a little tricky to keep happy, so offer these flowering plants extra love and care.

4.) Boston Ferns (nephrolepis exaltata)

boston fern plant

All ferns are non-toxic and relatively easy to grow. However, they need lots of moisture and high humidity but can survive well in shaded areas. 

Ferns are great to keep in bathrooms and other humid places with little light.

FAQ

Which other palms are safe for cats?

Areca Palms (dypsis lutescens), Parlor Palms (chamaedorea elegans), Bamboo Palms (chamaedorea seifrizii), and Ponytail Palms (beaucarnea recurvata) are common cat safe indoor palms. 

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.