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Are Money Trees Toxic To Cats?

When it comes to owning this tropical plant and the well-being of your furry friend, you don't have to make any sacrifices. I'll tell you everything you need to know about the money plant and cat's safety.

Tara Maurer holding cat smiling

Last Updated: April 30, 2024 | 4 min read

A cat sniffing money tree on a pink background.

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Money trees are a popular houseplant thanks to their ease of maintenance and supposed good luck. But for feline owners, even a plant that signifies abundance can be decidedly unfortunate if it’s toxic to pets. So, are money trees toxic to cats?

Thankfully, you don’t have to choose between a prosperity plant and your fur baby’s health because money trees are non-poisonous and entirely safe for your feline friend—though the same can’t be promised regarding the safety of your money tree around a curious kitty.

While money trees are not toxic to cats, ingesting a large amount of any houseplant could pose problems for your pet’s digestive system. I cover everything you need to know about money trees and cats, including tips for deterring eager plant chewers.

What Are Money Trees?

Money tree in a pot on a piano.
Money trees look like small trees but in pots.
Photo by Michelle Schenker for LoveYourCat.com, © Cover Story Media, Inc. 2024.

The money tree, scientifically known as Pachira aquatica, is a fantastic indoor tree to give your home a tropical vibe. Native to Central and South America, the money tree is also very popular in East Asian countries, where it is highly sought after by Feng Shui practitioners. Said to bring good luck and fortune, the money tree is also known for its resilience and fun, uniquely braided trunk. Money trees grow up to 60 feet tall in the wild, though they typically reach 6-8 feet tall indoors.

These trees love bright, indirect light but can adjust to lower-light environments. They thrive in humid environments but also do well in average household humidity. These plants prefer a consistent environment, so relocating them might cause their leaves to drop. You should water your plant thoroughly, allowing the soil to dry between waterings. Plants in less light require less water; expect to water a plant in brighter light more frequently.

Are Money Trees Safe For Cats?

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the money tree is non-toxic to cats. That being said, eating a lot of this plant can lead to mild nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Because these trees provide no nutritional value for felines and can create tummy troubles, you shouldn’t let your pet eat any part of the tree.

Did you know that pet insurance can cover treatment for toxicity, GI issues, and other accidents and illnesses? We review the best pet insurance for cats, including pros, cons, plan options, and more.

Other Pet-Friendly Houseplants

Are you looking for other feline-friendly plants to add to your home? Online retailers have made it super easy to find kitty-safe greenery from the comfort of your home. Some of my favorites include Bloomscape and The Sill, which have various pet-friendly plants.

10 Cat-Safe Houseplants

Some of the most popular pet-safe house plants include:

  1. African violet
  2. Bird’s nest fern
  3. Boston fern
  4. Bromeliad
  5. Chinese money plant
  6. Orchid
  7. Parlor palm
  8. Ponytail palm
  9. Rattlesnake plant
  10. Spider plant

3 Tips For Keeping Your Cat Away From Your Houseplants

Cat sitting next to plant knocked over.

As a greenery lover and roommate to two kitties, I know the struggle of keeping your kitties away from your plants. In the case of toxic houseplants, the best way to keep your pet safe is to avoid them entirely; however, you may also want to deter your pets from munching on your plants regardless of whether they’re harmful to ingest.

Here are my tips for keeping kitties out of houseplants.

1. Provide An Alternative

Many felines enjoy munching on greenery, so the best way to keep your cats away from prized houseplants is to provide them with a more enticing alternative. A perfect alternative is cat grass. You can buy a growing kit online or purchase ready-to-go kitty grass at a pet supply store. Alternatively, you can also use fresh wheatgrass, typically found at your local health food store.

Keep the kitty grass in a convenient location that’s easily accessible for your feline’s afternoon snack. Pro tip: Transfer the grass to a heavy-duty pot, such as a ceramic or terra cotta, to stabilize the grass. My kitty, Luna, tends to pull out the grass instead of munching, so the container moves everywhere. While it’s cute to see her little paw press down on the grass while she ferociously rips it out with her teeth, it’s much easier for her to snack when the container doesn’t move around.

2. Move The Plant

If your feline can’t physically get to the plant, they can’t damage it. Try putting your plant up somewhere unreachable, like a high shelf or in a cat-free room. I put the plants my kitties find irresistible in my office or bedroom since they aren’t allowed in those spaces.

3. Use Deterrents

While not always effective for the extremely persistent pet, deterrents may also work to keep your feline away from your greenery. A quick search online reveals countless recommendations for plant parents trying to keep their pets away from their precious plants.

I’ve tested them all at one time or another. My favorite? PetSafe’s SSSCAT motion-activated spray. When your feline gets within three feet of this harmless spray deterrent, the motion-activated sensor releases a quick, audible burst of spray. Essentially, the spray startles your pet and discourages them from approaching again.

SSSCat spray bottle in use and bottom showing batteries.
The PetSafe SSSCAT System includes 1 can and 1 spray bottle.
Photo by Tara Maurer for LoveYourCat.com, © Cover Story Media, Inc. 2024.

Another deterrent is citrus or citrus-like spray. Most felines find the smell of citrus unpleasant, so this aroma can deter a kitty from nibbling on your plant. Keep in mind that citrus may damage some greenery and has the potential to irritate your pet’s nose. I use Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Pet Block Cat Repellent Spray, which is formulated with citronella and other essential oils to deter kitties. I typically avoid the plant itself and instead opt to give the pot a good spraying.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about money trees and cats. Don’t see yours? Ask us in the comments.

Why Are Cats Attracted To Money Trees?

The dangly leaves of the money tree can be super attractive to felines, especially kittens. Indoor cats with nothing to do may nibble on houseplants out of boredom, so providing your pet with plenty of toys while you’re away may help keep your furry friend away from your money tree.

Will Anything Happen If My Cat Chews On My Money Tree?

While chewing on the money tree won’t cause severe problems, it can lead to an upset stomach. Eating too many leaves can cause loose stools, nausea, and vomiting.

Keeping Your Cat Entertained

Increasing the enrichment activities available to your feline is a great way to stop your cat from eating your houseplants. View our top picks for slow feederscat steps, and exercise wheels to keep your kitty entertained while you’re away.

Why Trust Love Your Cat?

Tara’s goal at Love Your Cat is to give our readers the information they need to raise well-adjusted, happy pets. Tara has 20+ years of experience with felines and spends countless hours researching to provide in-depth detail on every topic. She currently lives with two nine-year-old domestic cats, Luna and Lucy, and countless houseplants.

Vacuuming cat litter off floor with litter box in background.

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