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Are Bonsai Trees Poisonous to Cats? Toxic & Pet-Friendly Species

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Felines are notorious for nibbling on greenery in and around our homes. If you are a pet parent who enjoys the art of bonsai caring and their beautiful green aesthetics in your home, you’ll want to know a few things. Like, whether or not, your kitty and bonsai trees can co-exist, or if your dwarfed tree is toxic to cats.

Owning bonsai trees and growing decorative varieties of miniature trees as a hobby is a delicate art. Learning to grow bonsai trees is a rewarding and exciting challenge for many plant enthusiasts. However, many people are unaware of some plants being toxic to cats, dogs, and other animals if ingested.

Are bonasi tress poisonous to cats? Many bonsai tree species are toxic to cats. However the sago palm species is one of the most poisonous bonsai trees to pets.

There are numerous questions and concerns about bonsai trees’ safety for our furry roommates. Take a look at this guide to find out how to keep the peace between your feline and bonsai trees.

Bonsai Trees and Cats at Home

A bonsai tree is not a particular type of plant species. Bonsai refers to the style in which you grow your bonsai and groom your plant. Various plants can be used as bonsai trees, as long as they’ve been grown in a container, have tree branches, and a woody stem.

The method is to grow a plant in a small box so that it appears to look like a ‘miniature tree’. Various kinds of plants can make excellent bonsai trees, such as pines, cherry trees, azaleas, cedars, cypresses, focuses, junipers, maples, and many others.

Bonsai trees are beautiful; however, they may be harmful to our much-loved kitties. As pet owners, we need to recognise what plants to have in our homes and to see to it that our beautiful plants are not snacked on by our precious felines.

Types of Bonsai Trees

Apart from the fact that your miniature tree, or any plant for that matter, does not appreciate being snacked on, many varieties can be poisonous to your cat.

As a cat owner, you need to be aware of toxic plants and consider suitable ones for keeping in your home or garden. 

There is a large range of bonsai tree species that can be poisonous to felines. You can check the ASPCA website to search through the list of toxic and non-toxic plants for cats.

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Poisonous Bonsai Trees: Plants Harmful to Cats

Many bonsai tree species are toxic to our beloved fur babies. The sago palm species is one of the most poisonous bonsai trees to pets.

Depending on the species of the Bonsai tree toxicity may range in severity. Some will cause mild side effects, and in other cases, it could be more severe, and even life-threatening.

For example, the sago palm species is one of the most poisonous bonsai trees to pets. It is commonly grown as an indoor plant because they thrive in subtropical climates and cannot be grown outdoors in many countries. Like many, the seeds are the most poisonous, where 1 or 2 seeds could be life-threatening. It’s a popular plant for its aesthetics, it’s pleasing to the eye, and your cat may think so too. 

By no means an exhaustive list, take a look at some other poisonous bonsai trees to avoid having in your house if you have cats and other pets.

Bonsai Trees Poisonous to Cats

●      Fig

●      Cherry

●      Norfolk Island Pine

●      Plum

●      Baby Jade

●      Ambrosia Mexicana

●      Azaleas

●      Fern Palm

●      Australian Ivy Palm

●      Australian Pine

●      Coontie Palm

●      Cardboard Palm

●      Apricot

●      Buddist Pine

●      Giant Dracaena

Note: There’s a long list of toxic bonsai trees, so you should be extra careful before purchasing your miniature plant.

Cat Safe Trees: Non-Toxic Bonsai Trees

Though there is a lengthy list of poisonous bonsai trees for cats, there are some that are safe to keep in your house with pets. While several bonsai trees are toxic to cats, particularly the jade plants and sago palm, there are plenty of other non-toxic plants.

Take a look at some beautiful bonsai trees you can add to your collection, and that make excellent cat-friendly indoor trees.

Non-Toxic Bonsai Trees To Cats

●      Juniper

●      Japanese maple

●      Fukien tea

●      Hibiscus

●      Christmas cactus

●      Bamboo (bamboo palm)

Causes of Bonsai Tree Poisoning in Cats

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One of the leading causes of bonsai poisoning in cats is likely due to the plant containing a phytotoxin, cycasin, that causes liver failure. Cycads, in particular, contain cycasin that will cause damage to intercellular tissues, causing oxidants to be released into the bloodstream—damaging liver cells and later causing the organ to fail.  

Like sago palms (which are cycads), the jade plants sticky sap and boxwood trees alkaloids, are also extremely toxic and can be fatal when ingested.

Other plant species, such as the Ficus trees are toxic to cats. However, unlike the sago palm, the level of toxicity is mild, causing mild discomfort and dermal irritation.

Note: If your kitty ingests the sago palm bonsai, sadly, it could face a mere 50% survival rate.

How to Diagnose Bonsai Tree Plant Poisoning in Cats

Bonsai trees can only poison cats if they ingest, or chew, the plant. If you have a toxic bonsai plant in your home, you should keep an eye on it.

The quickest way to diagnose whether your miniature tree has poisoned your cat is to check the plant. If you notice leaves with bite marks or missing leaves or branches, you should find your kitty and check for any symptoms.

Symptoms of Bonsai Tree Poisoning in Cats

Symptoms of bonsai tree poisoning can be progressive and distinct. For example, cycasin, the toxic agent found in cycads, can cause severe problems within 15-minutes of ingestion. Weakness, seizures, etc., can also start to appear up to two days after ingestion. 

If your cat ingests the leaves or a part of a toxic bonsai plant, you should know how to diagnose bonsai tree poisoning in cats. Some common causes of bonsai poisoning to look out for may be:

●      Diarrhoea

●      Lethargy

●      Vomiting

●      Loss of appetite and drooling (especially in sago palm poisoning)

●      Abdominal pain

●      Confusion

●      Skin irritation

●      Jaundice

●      Lack of muscle function

●      Slow heart rate (particularly in jade plant poisoning)

●      Tremors, seizures, or coma (notably in azalea poisoning)

●      Excessive panting (found with sweet plum poisoning)

When you’re on the search for a bonsai tree, you’ll need to keep in mind your feline’s playful and curious nature. Many cats test and try nibbling bonsai plants as they’d do with a fun cat wand.

Diagnosing your furry cat pal can be tricky. If you see your cat exhibiting any of these symptoms above, it’s best to call your vet and seek medical advice. If symptoms progress, take them to the vet immediately.      

What Happens if My Cat Eats Part of a Toxic Plant?

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What happens if your pet eats a part of a toxic plant will vary on a case-by-case basis. Many animals recover from plant poisoning within a day after correct diagnosis and treatment. And other cases not. If you see any symptoms of poisoning present, you need to act fast.

If your cat has eaten a toxic bonsai plant, take a photo or a piece of the plant. This can help your vet identify the symptoms and administer the correct treatment that is needed.

Treatment of Bonsai Tree Poisoning in Cats

There are different alternatives available for treatment to remove or alleviate harmful substances if ingested by your pet.

If your cat has eaten or chewed parts of a bonsai tree, you should immediately administer a first aid response. Remove any plant material from your pet’s mouth. You can ‘try’ rinsing her mouth with water.  

You should stay with your feline and monitor their symptoms while you contact your vet. In severe cases – like ingesting any part of the sago palm- if your cat has difficulty breathing don’t dilly-dally, take them immediately to the vet. Make sure you know the type of plant they may have eaten so you can let your vet know the best possible treatment.

Finding out which parts of the tree are toxic can vary depending on the species. It’s safe to assume all parts of the tree are harmful.

Precautions to Take: Bonsai Trees & Cats

Our felines are very agile creatures. If you already have a toxic plant in your house with pets, there are a few things you can do to minimise any potential mishaps. 

Firstly, you can make sure your pet is not in reach of your plant. You could raise it onto a floating shelf, out of your kitties sight. You could also use a citrus smell, such as lemon or orange, to spray around your plant. Felines don’t like citrus’ aroma, so this could dissuade them from getting close to your bonsai.

Your Experiences With Bonsais and Cats | Are Bonsai Trees Safe for Cats?

Bonsai trees add beauty and aesthetics to any home. Before selecting your lovely plant, you should keep in mind some of these bonsai trees are toxic to cats. While bonsai trees are beautiful, you should carefully consider what harm it could cause your spirited pet. 

It’s important to research the various kinds of bonsai trees before purchasing. Pick one that is not threatening to your cat. With a little foresight and some strategic planning, you can have both these delights in your life.

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