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Are Jade Plants Poisonous to Cats? Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Crassula (dollar tree) plant isolated on white.

Do you own a money tree? I mean, don’t we all wish we did? This may come as a shock, but if you own a jade plant – a Crassula Ovata – then you do! The jade plant is also known as a lucky plant, money plant, and even a money tree. 

So, is the jade plant poisonous to cats? The bad news is that money trees don’t agree with cats. They are toxic to our furry children, and if you do own both, you should be aware of the dangers they pose to each other. It’s also important to know what to do to keep your cat safe, and what to do in a worst-case scenario.

Here’s a quick guide on managing your cats when you have jade plants in the home.

A Quick Word on the Jade Plant and Cats

Jade plants are fairly common house plants. They require little attention and water and are quite attractive in your living room. It’s a succulent from southern Africa that blooms small pink or white flowers, so it’s a pretty addition to any home.

They go by many names, including the ones mentioned above. You may hear people call them a Chinese rubber plant or baby jade. Jade plants are very common – so even if you don’t have one in your home, chances are that someone in your neighbourhood has one.

Usually, this doesn’t pose as much of a problem – neighbours tend to keep a sharper eye on strange cats attacking their plants. But it’s worth being aware that jade plants are just one of many house plants that are poisonous to cats. Fortunately, cats usually do a good job of not getting involved with them.

Causes of Jade Poisoning in Cats

Why is a jade plant toxic to cats? There is no clear answer as currently the toxic properties of the Jade plant is unknown. All parts of a jade plant are toxic to cats when ingested. It’s not exactly known how much a cat needs to eat to become ill or poisoned. Nor is there a known antidote to the toxin. But research suggests that cats are more likely to chew on the leaves, which may also contain the most poisonous elements.

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

Crassula (dollar tree) plant isolated on white.

It’s almost inevitable that a cat will come into contact with a toxic plant at some point in its life. Most times, a cat will be clever enough to know what to avoid. Or put another way, nature has provided animals with some basic instincts around what’s edible and what isn’t. 

But from time to time, a cat may chew on a leaf or simply not know better in play or hunger. When this happens, the toxicity of the jade plant will have an adverse effect.

Symptoms of Jade Plant Poisoning in Cats

Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, intense tremors or seizures, unusual and laboured breathing and sometimes becoming non-responsive or comatose. Any of these symptoms might occur if your cat ingests a jade plant.

Treatment of Jade Plant Poisoning in Cats

In many mild cases, cats can recover with basic veterinary care if treated in time. Unfortunately, if left untreated, jade poisoning is fatal for cats. So, the moment you think your cat may have ingested a jade plant, get it to your vet immediately.

A vet will likely try to induce vomiting to try to expel the poisonous material.

What to do if You Suspect Your Cat Has Been Poisoned.

Remember that in all emergency situations, try to remain calm. If you have reason to believe your cat has been poisoned by a jade plant, take a close look at the symptoms for an idea of severity.

How to Diagnose Jade Plant Poisoning in Cats

Look for the telltale signs of possible poisoning:

●      Abdominal pain

●      Difficulty breathing

●      Comatose or unresponsive

●      Coughing

●      Severe lethargy, tiredness or depression

●      Diarrhoea

●      Excessive drinking and /or urinating

●      Fever

●      Loss of appetite

●      Salivation / Drooling

●      Shock, seizures or sudden collapse

●      Inflammation or the skin or swelling

●      Unsteady walking

●      Vomiting

Next, contact your vet for advice on the situation, and inform them that you’re on the way. It will be useful to tell the vet that you suspect jade plant poisoning and take a piece of the plant with you if you can.  

Your vet may ask you some questions like:

●      When (how long ago) do you think this happened?

●      Are you sure this is the cause or are there any other possible reasons for the symptoms?

●      Can you list the exact symptoms you’ve observed?

Taking Precautions with Jade Plants in Your Home

When it comes to dogs, putting things out of reach is not so difficult. With cats, it’s a bit more challenging. But if it’s possible, jade plants should be made hard to reach for cats.

Another approach is to put it in absolute full view in a living space so that you can always check to see whether the cat is paying it attention. You would also be able to tell if it has been nibbled or eaten from.

Your Experience with Jade Plants and Cats

Compared with some other plants, the exact science around why jade plants are so toxic to cats is still under lots of scrutiny. But we do know that our money tree can be quite unlucky for our best friends.

Do you have any tips on how to manage jade and cats in your home?

Final Thoughts: The Jade Plant is Poisonous to Cats

For cat owners, our precious babies are a central part of our home and joy. We try our best to keep them from harm. Still, from time to time, even our houseplants can pose a threat.

Jade plants, as beautiful as they are, unfortunately, disagree with our cats. We can take some relief from the fact that most cats instinctively steer clear of these threats. But it’s important to be aware that this lucky plant may not be so lucky for some in our household.

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