If you are a plant enthusiast and a cat lover, you may be wondering which plants can and which plants can’t be kept around your feline friends. Monstera adensonii is a very popular plant and, for good reason, it has beautiful leaf fenestrations, it can grow quite tall, and its leaves are a more manageable size than its cousin, Monstera deliciosa – but is Monstera Adansonii toxic to cats?
Unfortunately for pet lovers though, not only is Monstera adensonii toxic to cats, but so are all plants from the family Araceae. This means all pothos, monstera, elephant ears, scindapsus, and more are a big no for cats.
What Makes Adensonii Toxic?
Monstera adensonii has a chemical in its leaves called calcium oxalate. This chemical resides in the plant’s cells and forms tiny crystal shards.
When a cat bites into the leaves of a plant with calcium oxalate, those tiny shards are released and get stuck in your cat’s lips, tongue, mouth, and throat. Thankfully, at this point, most cats will spit out the plant, but if they swallow it the spikes can also be embedded in their stomach and digestive tract.
Symptoms of adensonii consumption are excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, swelling of the lips, and in some cases vomiting.
If you suspect your cat has ingested Monstera adensonii, try to get as much of the plant out of their mouth as you can, and then call and consult with your veterinarian. Some will want you to come in and some may want you to wait it out depending on symptoms and when your pet ate the plant.
Keeping Cats Away From Plants
While most cats won’t try to eat plants at all, some are chronic leaf nibblers. It’s good to know which type of cat you have before making any plant purchases. I personally have both types of cats. Two of my cats could care less about plants, but the others are younger, more adventurous, and want to bite everything.
To keep my cats safe from toxic plants in my house, I simply keep the plants in areas of the house that my cats can’t go. For me, that is my bedroom and my office. I also keep a few pothos species growing out of my fish tank in our living room, but it is up so high the cats can’t reach it.
Something similar is what I suggest for you. Keep your plants out of reach of your cats, or in an area they can’t get to. If your cat is determined to reach your plants, there are a few tricks you can try.
For reasons I don’t fully understand cats hate aluminum foil. You can line the area below or around your plant to keep your cats from trying to reach your plant. When they step on the aluminum foil they will be startled and will likely run the other direction, keeping them and your plants safe.
We go through a lot of double-sided tape in my house. We place it on top of all of our terrariums to keep the cats from sleeping on them and we also have used it on our counters to train the cats not to jump up.
Cats hate the feel of tape on their paws, so keep double-sided tape anywhere you don’t want your cats jumping. You will need to refresh the tape when it stops being sticky until you cats give up on reaching the area at which point you can remove it.
One option many people employ when they want to keep their cats away from their plants is to provide their cats with cat-friendly edible plants. Your cats can take their need to chew out on their designated plants and can be trained to leave other plants alone.
My favorite plants for cats are cat grass and catnip. The catnip, however, should be given sparingly and only to adult cats, as cats under a year tend to find it repulsive.
Cat grass is usually a mixture of cat-safe grass, like alfalfa, oat, wheat, and barley. It’s a good idea to grow 2-3 cultures of cat grass at a time, as overzealous cats can often destroy a single plant rather quickly.
Some Cat Safe Alternatives
If you don’t want to try any of the deterrents and your cat has full reign of your house, there are lots of great cat-safe alternatives to Monstera adensonii.
If you want a plant that can be grown in a hanging basket and is easy to propagate, look no further than the spider plant. These are considered great beginner plants and often do well in a similar spot in your house.
If you want a smaller plant to keep on a shelf or a table, an African violet could be a great choice. These plants are a little harder to care for than adensonii, but they make up for that with beautiful flowers throughout the year.
Bird’s Nest Fern
One of my favorite ferns is the bird’s nest fern. These plants are incredibly unique and, in my opinion, are much easier to care for than many other common ferns. They grow to a decent size when given proper care and make a great addition to most home decor.
There are tons of species of peperomia on the market and they are all completely safe for cats. Some currently popular types are watermelon peperomia, beetle peperomia, red-ripple peperomia, and jelly peperomia.
Another huge group of plants is the orchid. These are cat-safe and there are over 25,000 different species and 100,000 different hybrids and cultivars on the market. Orchids are stunningly beautiful and their care is relatively easy, making them a must-have houseplant.