Are ZZ Plants Toxic to Cats?

ZZ plants are very adaptable and can be grown in nearly any environment.

Their unique foliage can be quite beautiful as well as easy to grow and maintain. However, it is crucial to know whether or not they are toxic to cats before incorporating them into your home decor.

The ZZ plant is a popular houseplant that is easy to grow and care for.

It is also susceptible to various pests and diseases that can wreak havoc on the health of your plants. Cats can be extremely harmful to the health of your plants because of their voracious appetite for plants.

Some types of ZZ plants contain calcium oxalate crystals in the sap of the plant which can cause minor skin or eye irritations if ingested directly or come into contact with the skin or eyes.

The toxicity of the plant is caused by the calcium oxalate crystals in the sap.

These exceedingly tiny and pointed crystals are the source of the plant’s unpleasant sensations.

Are ZZ Plants Toxic to Cats?

Cats are poisoned by the ZZ plant when the sharp tips of the leaves break off and come into contact with the mouth or exposed skin.

Calcium oxalate crystals in the sap can also cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats.

When sap from these crystals is consumed or applied, it causes severe irritation to the lining of the mouth, throat, and stomach.

In severe cases, inflammation of the mouth and throat occur and may lead to vomiting and diarrhea. The burning feeling usually subsides within a couple of hours; however, some animals will become severely ill.

The plant’s sap can also cause skin irritation and burning when applied to the skin or licked off. In addition, the sap is caustic and will cause blistering if it comes into contact with the skin or mucus membranes.

What is ZZ Plant?

The ZZ plant or “mother-in-law’s tongue” is a tropical perennial that is occasionally grown indoors for its attractive foliage.

The ZZ plant itself is a vine with glossy green leaves and long, thin stems that can grow up to 8 feet in height and 10 feet wide in a tropical climate and up to 6 feet indoors.

The plant’s vines are usually covered with round white or pink flowers, though these flowers are not organs of reproduction for the plant.

Instead, they are produced from the plant’s vine-covered stems and are usually removed to prevent loss of foliage.

How is the ZZ Plant Poisonous?

Despite its low toxicity, the ZZ plant should be handled with care.

Some skin discomfort may occur if you come too close to the leaves or rub them against your clothing. Wash immediately with soap and warm water if you do rub the leaves against your body or clothing.

To put it another way, kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate; ZZ plants are poisonous for the same reason.

The calcium oxalate in its roots, stems, seeds, and leaves are poisonous if ingested; however it is not fatal to humans or animals.

The characteristic spines are harmless and the plant itself is not poisonous. According to, the fresh zedoary plant can be toxic to animals if ingested.

They advise to consult a veterinarian immediately if your pet has ingested any part of this plant or stem/leaf.

Symptoms Of ZZ Plant Poisoning In Cats

Plant Toxicity

Small crystals of calcium oxalate cause irritation to skin and eyes, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, and pain in the abdomen and legs.

The plants are also toxic to cats, causing severe vomiting and diarrhea.

The cause of ZZ plant poisoning in cats is unknown; however, ingesting the plant can cause vomiting and diarrhea as well as skin irritation and burning.

The plant can be toxic to cats if ingested or brushed against and a reaction may take place.


Cats eat crystals from sap, they may eat ingested crystals or crystals become attached to eyes, nose or tongue and cause irritation.

The consumption of the sap of the plant may cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats.

The ingestion of the plant can also cause irritation when touching or rubbing against the plant’s leaves or stems may cause bleeding and discomfort.

The sap of the plant if applied to the eyes or skin can cause skin irritation and burning.

Oral Care

Rinse mouth and gums after eating plants, avoid contact with blood-sucking insects, and brush teeth regularly, the plants are not poisonous to animals if ingested in small amounts.

They explain that there is no antidote for the plant due to it being caused by a naturally occurring plant compound.

However, if your cat has ingested any part of the plant or stem/leaf, contact a veterinarian immediately.

How to Protect Your Pets Away From ZZ Plants

If you’re allergic to the ZZ plant but don’t want to get rid of your beloved houseplant, consider purchasing one that’s not in the family of succulents–it’s not clear whether the ZZ is the cause or the symptom of the allergic reaction.

When working with your ZZ plant, make sure that you don’t breathe in its dust or you risk developing an asthma attack or experiencing other respiratory symptoms.

You should wash any pets’ bedding that may have come in contact with the plant, as well as any tiles or wooden floors in the room where your plant is located.

Hands should be cleansed with soap and water after contact with any plant that has been outdoors or handled with dirty hands.

As an alternative, your cat may choose a pot filled only with soil without plants.

Also Read: Can Cats Eat Eggplant?


It is possible for ZZ plants to endure months without water if you stick to a regular watering schedule.

About six ounces of water each two to three days will do the plant right.

Water thoroughly, but avoid soaking the soil and roots; give the plant a chance to recover before watering again.

Don’t water when the soil is completely dry or it will rot the roots. Too much water will cause the leaves to turn yellow and maybe even fall off.

If you let your plant dry out a bit between waterings, it helps with root growth and promotes thicker foliage.

When it comes to forgetting about watering them, feel free to do so every once in a while.

No fertilizer is needed for the plant; it is perfectly happy without it.

Unintentional consumption of any part of a ZZ plant will cause abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Keep your ZZ plant out of the cat’s reach if you want to keep them safe.