Is Chinese Evergreen Toxic to Cats? Facts Pet Owners Need to Know

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Chinese Evergreens, also known as Aglaonema, are popular houseplants due to their beautiful foliage and easy-to-care-for nature. However, for cat owners, it’s essential to know whether these plants are safe for their feline companions. With an increasing number of people bringing various plants into their homes, understanding the toxic or non-toxic nature of these plants becomes crucial in ensuring the safety of pets, especially curious cats.

Unfortunately, Chinese Evergreens are considered toxic to cats. The cause of this toxicity is the presence of insoluble calcium oxalate within the plants. When a cat comes into contact with or ingests this plant, it may experience oral irritation, pain, and swelling in the mouth, tongue, and lips. In some cases, a cat may also drool excessively, vomit, and have difficulty swallowing.

Taking preventative measures to keep cats away from Chinese Evergreens is essential for pet owners. Ensure that these plants are placed in areas that are inaccessible to feline friends in order to avoid any potential ingestion or contact with the plant. By being aware of the potential dangers posed by Chinese Evergreens, cat owners can create a safe indoor environment for their pets.

Is Chinese Evergreen Toxic to Cats?

Chinese Evergreen, scientifically known as Aglaonema modestum, is a popular indoor plant due to its attractive foliage and ability to thrive in low light conditions. However, as beautiful as this plant may be, it poses a risk to our feline companions.

The primary reason for the plant’s toxicity is the presence of insoluble calcium oxalates. These compounds are harmful to cats, dogs, and horses, but they can especially affect cats due to their curious nature and tendency to nibble on plants.

When a cat chews or bites into the Chinese Evergreen plant, the insoluble calcium oxalate crystals penetrate the oral tissue, leading to various symptoms. These may include:

  • Oral irritation
  • Pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swelling of the upper airway

In severe cases, ingestion of the Chinese Evergreen plant can have more serious consequences, such as kidney failure and even death. As such, it is crucial for cat owners to keep this plant out of reach and to be aware of the signs of poisoning.

If you suspect your cat has ingested any part of a Chinese Evergreen plant, it is essential to seek immediate veterinary attention. Proper and timely treatment can help prevent more severe health issues and ensure the wellbeing of your beloved feline friend.

Symptoms of Chinese Evergreen Poisoning in Cats

Chinese Evergreen, scientifically known as Aglaonema modestum, is a popular houseplant that sadly poses a threat to our feline companions. When ingested by cats, this plant can cause a range of unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms. In this section, we’ll discuss the various symptoms of Chinese Evergreen poisoning in cats.

One immediate symptom to watch for is oral irritation that may include pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips. This irritation might make your cat excessively drool, and may even face difficulty in swallowing. It’s crucial to observe your pet closely for signs that it’s struggling to eat or drink.

Another common symptom is vomiting. Cats that have ingested Chinese Evergreen leaves or stems may vomit as their bodies attempt to rid themselves of the toxic compounds. Be on the lookout for any instances of vomiting, as this could be an indication of poisoning.

Cats affected by Chinese Evergreen poisoning may also exhibit signs of:

  • Choking
  • Swelling of mouth and throat
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Inability to swallow
  • Skin irritation
  • Abdominal pain

These symptoms can potentially escalate into more severe cases, with cats experiencing difficulty breathing and swallowing. It’s essential to monitor any signs of distress closely to ensure prompt treatment if necessary.

If you suspect your cat has ingested Chinese Evergreen, it’s vital that you seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible. The quick action may help prevent any long-term consequences and ensure the safety and health of your furry friend.

Treatment for Chinese Evergreen Poisoning

If you suspect your cat has ingested parts of a Chinese Evergreen plant, it’s essential to take immediate action. The first step is to carefully remove any remaining plant material from the cat’s mouth. Gently washing their mouth with water may help alleviate oral irritation. Keep a close eye on your cat and monitor for signs like excessive drooling, swelling, or difficulty swallowing.

In cases where symptoms seem severe or persistent, it is crucial to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Though there is no specific antidote for Chinese Evergreen poisoning, your veterinarian will assess the situation and administer symptom-based treatments to provide relief and support to your cat. This may include administering anti-inflammatory medications, gastrointestinal protectants, and fluid therapy if necessary. Link 1

Chinese Evergreen poisoning can cause discomfort, but most cats recover within 12 to 24 hours, provided the appropriate actions are taken. In severe cases, prompt veterinary attention is necessary to ensure a full recovery. To prevent future incidents, consider keeping the Chinese Evergreen plant in areas your cat cannot access or replace it with cat-safe plants. Your cat’s safety and well-being should always be a priority.

Preventing Exposure to Chinese Evergreens

An important aspect of pet care is safeguarding your feline friend from potential harm, which includes keeping them away from toxic plants like the Chinese Evergreen, scientific name Aglaonema. Here are some practical steps you can take to prevent exposure to this plant:

  1. Knowledge is key: Make yourself aware of all the plants in your home and garden. Identify the toxic ones and either remove them or place them out of your cat’s reach.
  2. Create a safe space: If you cannot remove the Chinese Evergreen from your home, designate a safe area for your cat to roam, free from any plants containing insoluble calcium oxalates. This might entail setting up a room or enclosed outdoor area that’s strictly for your furry pal.
  3. Train your cat: Teach your feline to avoid certain areas or plants. This can be done through spraying a deterrent, like citrus-based substances, around the toxic plants or using a noise-making device that discourages cats from approaching.
  4. Monitor their behavior: Cats are curious by nature, so be vigilant and keep an eye on their activities around the house, especially if they show interest in your plants.
  5. Offer alternatives: Provide your cat with safe alternatives to chew on, like cat grass, to keep them occupied and less likely to be drawn to the hazardous plants.

By following these simple steps, you can minimize the risk of your cat ingesting the Chinese Evergreen and keep them safe and healthy.

Alternative Non-Toxic Houseplants

If you’re seeking houseplants that are safer for cats, there are several options available. One popular alternative is the Areca Palm, which is non-toxic to cats and dogs. This plant is both beautiful and beneficial, known for its air purification qualities.

Another cat-friendly plant is the Haworthia. Often called the zebra cactus, it’s a small succulent that won’t harm your feline friend. Keep in mind that not all succulents are cat-friendly, so be sure to choose wisely.

Listed below are some additional non-toxic houseplants:

  • Dracaena Goldieana
  • Echeveria
  • Staghorn fern (Platycerium)
  • Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

Another interesting non-toxic choice for a houseplant is the Venus flytrap. Though it’s known for catching flies, this plant is harmless to cats and dogs.

Keep in mind that it’s important to create a pet-friendly environment, especially if your furry friends are prone to chewing on plants. These non-toxic houseplants will ensure that both you and your pets can enjoy beautiful greenery without worry. Remember to always consider your pet’s safety when choosing indoor plants.


Chinese Evergreen, also known as Aglaonema, is a popular houseplant known for its attractive foliage and easy care requirements. However, it is important to consider the safety of the plant when introducing it to a household with pets, especially cats.

Unfortunately, Chinese Evergreen is toxic to cats due to the presence of insoluble calcium oxalates. When ingested, these toxic compounds can cause:

  • Oral irritation
  • Pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing

While these symptoms are typically mild, some cases can be more severe with tremors or seizures requiring immediate medical attention. Moreover, it is essential to monitor your cat closely if you suspect it has ingested any part of the Chinese Evergreen plant.

To ensure your cat’s safety, it is best to prevent access to the plant. This can be done by placing it in an area inaccessible to cats or by choosing a pet-safe alternative. Some popular non-toxic options include:

  • Spider Plant
  • Boston Fern
  • Areca Palm
  • Peperomia

In summary, while Chinese Evergreen is a beautiful and easy-to-grow houseplant, it is not safe for cats. To protect your feline friend, consider opting for a non-toxic alternative plant or take measures to prevent access to the Chinese Evergreen.

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