Is Wandering Jew Toxic To Cats?

The Wandering Jew plant is known for its incredible ability to root itself and reproduce in just about any environment.

It’s also a pretty dang cool looking plant that commercial properties love because of its evergreen nature and ability to survive even the toughest winters.

But here’s the interesting information you need to know.

What is Wandering Jew?

Wandering jew is an ornamental plant that belongs to the family Apocynaceae.

Although it is also known as Jerusalem cherry or “crazy plant”, its scientific name is Tradescantia fluminensis. The plant has a dense covering of heart-shaped leaves and large flowers that grow on a long stem.

Native to Brazil, wandering jew grows in tropical and subtropical regions and is often found in gardens and greenhouses.

The plant is relatively easy to grow; it thrives in soil with acidic pH and needs full sun or partial shade .The wandering jew plant has a multitude of benefits.

It is fairly easy to grow and thrives in soil with acidic pH and needs full sun or partial shade to thrive.

The plant is drought tolerant once established and grows well in most types of soil, except heavy clay and compacted soils, which lack proper percolation and drainage.

Thus the plant is great for those interested in self-reliance and permaculture and is perfect for gardens of conservationists since it restores and maintains soil fertility at the same time it attracts honeybees.

The plant is also loved by mason bees and some types of pollinating flies.

Is Wandering Jew Toxic to Cats?

The short answer: yes, the plant is toxic to cats.

The poisonous substance in wandering jew is calcium oxalate crystals. Calcium oxalate crystals are tiny crystals that are irritating to the gastrointestinal tract and tissue membranes of cats.

The white-spotted leaves of the wandering jew look attractive to cats and cause serious gastrointestinal problems if ingested by the cats.

The calcium oxalate crystals found in the leaves and stems of this plant are toxic to animals by absorption through the intestinal tract and by direct irritation when swallowed by a cat or cat owner during the pruning process.

The ingestion of calcium oxalate by a cat can result in death of the intestines or kidneys in severe cases.

Is a wandering Jew pet friendly?

It is not safe for pets to consume Wandering Jew since in no case has it been known to be safe to cats.

The wandering jew is a vine with glossy leaves and yellow flowers that has been used for centuries as a decorative plant indoors and outdoors.

The vines can climb and trail over walls or fences and climb trees when given sufficient support. The plant is drought resistant and blooms from late spring to blooming throughout the summer.

The plant has shiny leaves and can grow to over 30 feet tall and is considered an invasive species in many states.

The leaves are toxic to cats, dogs, and horses, which may result in vomiting and diarrhea when ingested by these animals.

The reaction to the plant is dose-dependent; severe reactions occur when the pet ingests a few leaves or stems, while mild reactions generally occur when the pet is exposed to a few flowers or seed pods, according to the ASPCA.

The symptoms may last for a few hours or a few days and the disease is not normally fatal for animals but treatment is necessary due to the dehydration that results from rapid and frequent urination.

What Happens If Your Cat Eats Wandering Jew?

Wandering jew is a beautiful small plant with large shiny leaves that can be planted easily almost anywhere in your garden for a splash of greenery and colour that dries out quickly in sunshine or drought conditions, according to the Royal Horticultural Society.

The leaves of wandering jew are toxic to cats if ingested and may cause irritation and mild to moderate irritation in your cat’s mouth and stomach if swallowed in large amounts or chewed on, warns the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

Cats are sensitive to the calcium oxalate in the plant’s sap.

Sap from a tree may cause these mild symptoms.

If your cat nibbles on the plant but it has not eaten any part of it, it is advisable to give your pet Benadryl (diphenhydramine) to see if he or she develops a rash or diarrhea.

Diarrhea, skin irritations, allergic skin response, and vomiting are some of the symptoms that cats may encounter after getting into contact with wandering jew sap.

How to Stop Your Cat from Wandering Jew Plants

Cats are attracted to the aroma that the plant emits when crushed or chewed.

(It has a similar scent to catnip). Catnip is a herbal plant that has similar scent to cats’ urine.

Cats may find this plant interesting to smell and chew on and it leads to poisoning of cats by calcium oxalate crystals in its leaves and stems. Cats feeding on this plant by chewing on it may cause pain and often leaves the cat with mouth ulcers and mouth inflammations.

Rarely, this chewing on the body organs may lead to serious gastrointestinal problem or in some cases it may even cause death. Wandering jew causes more harm to cats than any other plant (and vegetables).

Your cat may eat the plant but will not be harmed, however the aroma may attract other cats that could become unwell.

You can discourage your cat from eating it by spraying the plant with bitter apple spray or rubbing lemon juice on it; you can also plant it where it is difficult for your cat to reach or grow it in a raised container.

The ASPCA recommends spraying the plant with bitter apple spray which is readily available in supermarkets or pet stores.

Cats dislike the taste and smell of this substance and will avoid it.

Cats may also dislike due to the fact it is bitter and smells bad to them. While the taste deters most cats from eating it, others may overcome their desire for a taste of it and the damage may have already been done.

Lemon juice however, is non-toxic to cats which is why it is recommended as an alternative to deter cats from eating it. A lemon squeezed onto a wandering jew plant will also prevent the cat from touching it or licking it as well as make it smell bad to your cat.

Calcium oxalate crystals are toxic to cats.Calcium oxalate crystals may be toxic to cats under certain conditions.

When in solution, the water-soluble calcium oxalate crystal is non-toxic to mammals and birds, according to ASPCA Poison Control Center (APCC).

However, under certain conditions, such as when a plant is dry, the crystals can build up in the cat’s digestive system and may cause diarrhoea and vomiting when ingested by your cat.

Cats may sometimes chew on these plants out of curiosity and may get little bits of the plant stuck between their teeth or in their mouths.

Hence try to control your cat from biting wandering Jew plants to prevent calcium oxalate crystals from being ingested by your cat.

Also Read: Can Cats Eat Eggplant?

How To Treat Wandering Jew Poisoning In Cats

Your veterinarian might prescribe an antihistamine to help your cat’s breathing and allow you to sleep through the night.

To get the best results, you may be required to clean the area daily and sub-merging it in water for a few minutes.

If your cat is prone to scratching, he or you might want to consider utilizing topical anti-itch products, like shampoos or creams, as lengthy as he’s training the itch away.

Your veterinarian may opt to provide oral antibiotics to treat the infection in your cat’s mouth at the same time she’s treating his skin infection.

This is particularly probable if his mouth has been affected and he is unable to eat or drink.

While he waits for his symptoms to subside, your vet may prescribe an anti-itch oral medication to assist him remain calm, or he may prescribe a sedative to calm him for you to administer at home.

If his eyes get sore, she may suggest washing them with an antibacterial solution two times a day until the inflammation subsides.


The wandering jew species are popular houseplants because they require very little maintenance.

Cats are less enthusiastic about playing with a plant, so this plant should be out of reach of your cat. If you are concerned about the plant’s safety inside your home, then you might consider placing the plant outdoors in a sunny area.

Inspect your cat for symptoms of calcium oxalate bladder stones.

In conclusion , you should keep the wandering jew plant in a different room from your cat because this plant is toxic to cats.