Are Christmas Cactuses Poisonous to Cats?

The holiday season brings a lot of joy and happiness with it. One such holiday gifts that we tend to get or bring our home is Chrsistams cactus. But, if you are a cat lover in addition to being a houseplant fan, you might have that all important question in your mind – Are Christmas Cactuses Poisonous to Cats? We will make every attempt to understand the implications of Christams cactus on cats.

The good news for the cat lovers is that the Christmas cactus is not poisonous for cats. According to ASPCA, the Christmas cactus is safe and non-toxic for cats and any other peet in your home. However, if you have been using chemicals and fertilisers for the proper growth of the plant, they may be dangerous for your cats. However, if you have a playful cat that may scratch and eat parts of cactus, it may cause stomach upsets and diarrhoea.

The cactus in particular and succulents, in general, have become one of the most beloved of the houseplants of late. Especially during the festive seasons, cacti such as Christmas cactus specifically adorn the houses. Christmas cactus is one of the excellent options for decorating your home, with its colourful blooms.

Is Christmas Cactus Bad For Cats?

Whether Christmas Cactus is poisonous to cats is dependent on how you have grown the cactus. While the Christmas cactus in itself is not poisonous and toxic for the cats, it can get a little issue for your cat if you have been using pesticides and other harmful fertilisers for growing them. Your cat may also suffer a few allergic reactions in certain cases when it eats the Christmas cactus. 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia


Even when the Christmas cactus is non-toxic in nature, even a slight degree of toxicity can prove to be quite risky to your pets. As such, we would advise you to keep your cactuses away from both children and cats alike. 

What To Do if Your Cat Eats a Christmas Cactus??

If your cat eats a part of the Christmas cactus, you should seek help from a vet immediately. The amount of chemicals within the cactus that your cat might have eaten can be toxic. Check for the signs of dirrhoea, upset stomach and vomiting. In case your Christmas cactus has pesticides, you should take your cat to the vet immediately. 

Moving around the Christmas cactus or even sniffing at it is not toxic for your cat. But eating it can be  concern. A small amount may not be something that you need to worry about. But, if your cat has eaten too much of the Christmas cactus, it can get toxic. The Christmas cactus itself is not poisonous, but ingesting a large part can cause stomach upset or even intestinal blockage. This is solely because the cactus is fibrous and non digestible. 

How to Take Care Of Christmas Cactus Around Pets?

Christmas cactus is one of the commonly found cactus species in Central and South America. Classified as Zygocactus, the plant has been one of the prominent epiphytes that resembles the traditional cacti in almost every respect. 

The best way you can keep the Christmas Cactus away from the pets can be to train your pets not to touch the plants in the home. Of course, it will not create a sort of harm to them, but you will find that they may create a mess out of the flowers or foliage. It isn’t bad if your cat or dog eats a little of the plant. The problem arises when it damages the plant and begins overeating into it. 

Keeping the plants at a height so that animals cannot reach them can be one of the excellent options to help avoid damages either to the plants or to the animals themselves. If you think your pet is smart enough to reach out to the plant, it may be practical to spray something on the plants that the pet will find quite deterring. One such good option would be to spray cayenne pepper on the plant. In addition to safeguarding your pet from being getting poisoned, it will also be helpful in preventing the teething damage caused to your plants. 

A few good options to help take care of Christmas cactus around pets can include:

  • Spray the Plant with Vinegar: A vinegar-water solution can be an excellent option to help you keep the cat away from the plant. You can mix three parts of vinegar and one part of water and spray the mixture on the leaves. 
  • Make the Plant Smell Unpleasant: The cat does not like certain smells. You can make the plant smell quite different than what the cat may like. Smells such as citrus or cayenne pepper can be a great option to deter the cat and make it move away from the Christmas cactus. Take care not to use concentrated citrus so as to ensure that the plant does not get damaged. 
  • Place the Plant in places Unreachable for the Cat: That can be the most challenging task as cats find a way to reach any sort of inaccessible places. Hanging them from the baskets can be a great way, but you need to ensure that the cat has no way of getting anywhere closest to it. 
  • Provide it With an Alternative Green: Certain cats tend to get attracted to anything green, and if they have no other option, they are likely to eat and punch your cactus. You can consider offering them some kitty grass or even lettuce. The aim should be to distract the cat from the cactus and find something else more interesting.

Is the Christmas Cactus Poisonous?

Christmas Cactus or the Schlumbergera x buckleyi is one of the primarily found in the tropical regions. It has been one of the commonly found options for gifting and improving the interiors of your home. 

The Christmas cactus has been treated to be one of the best options for the best non-toxic plants. They make it a tremendous and fantastic variety of houseplants. The beautiful colour combination of flowers viz orange, red, pink, salmon and a huge number of those colours. 

If you are worried about the toxicity or poisonous nature of the Christmas cactus plant, you would be delighted to know that it is not toxic at all. Christmas cactus is not toxic or poisonous for cats, dogs or even horses. Almost all parts of the Christmas cactus plant such a flowers, leaves and other parts are fine for the cats. That should clearly answer your questions – Is Christmas Cactus Toxic?

In essence, Christmas cactus is neither toxic nor poisonous for the humans, cats, dogs and almost all the pets. However, it may be worthwhile to give serious thought when you feed Christmas cactus to your cats or dogs. The fibrous plant material of the Christmas cactus plant can result in vomiting and diarrhoea. 

Why Do Cats Eat Christmas Cactus?

In most of the cases, the cats eat Christmas cactus because they are only being curious. The cats or any other pet like dogs eat greenery to get rid of the intestinal parasites. They do not need to eat plants as such, as we keep feeding medicines to them periodically, but eating greenery to get rid of the internal parasites is an instinct that they have developed over the centuries. 

Cats are known to be quite curious about the things around them. They love exploring everything around them. Since the Christmas Cactus is ideally brought home during the winter seasons, the cats are likely to get attracted to it and thus end up eating the Christmas cactus. 

Photo Credit: Christmas Cactus

Cats love everything that looks weird to them. The cats generally explore the things around them with their mouth, and when it finds something to chew on, it will simply love enjoying it. Cats have been observed to be enjoying chewing on the plants. They may also eat the plants to get some roughage. This can be one of the excellent choices to get some vitamins. It can help them have a better bowel movement. 

There may also be a few other reasons that can result from medical conditions. The parasites, mites and other issues can be a few causes for cats eating the Christmas cactus or any other plants. 

Cats are naturally curious, and they can go to any extent to quell their curiosity. The cat of your house might have seen a wide range of plants in your home, but cactus is entirely different. The spikes, a unique look and the swelling size can make it quite a unique object among all the house plants, and that serves a perfect ingredient for the curious cat. The cat might be trying to figure out what it is and bite it or punch it to find its reaction. 

The cactus stores gallons of water and biting on the cactus can make the cat quench its thirst. The cactus has its roots, stems and even leaves full of water which efficiently helps in water intake and water conservation. 

Which Christmas Plants are Poisonous to Cats?

The festive Christmas season can be a great experience ever. However, it can also pose a serious concern for your pets, such as cats and dogs. The festival season brings a huge number of trees and plants to your home. By the normal nature of the pets who love exploring the things around them, your cats are likely to be tempted to play with the cat. However, a good number of plants may be toxic and poisonous for them. 

Some of the Christmas plants poisonous for cats can include: 

Christmas Trees 

The needles and pines on the Christmas tree can prove to be quite dangerous for the cats. If your cat swallows them, they can pose a huge danger to their digestive system. They can even block or puncture the digestive tract. If you have a real tree, make sure you are cleaning off the fallen needles so that your cat does not eat it. 


The Poinsettias or the Christmas stars can be one of the most dangerous Christmas plants for the cats. Your cats can get attracted to the pretty bright-coloured flowers and leaves. This can cause issues such as digestive problems and can even irritate their skin. This can even create issues such as vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive drooling and nausea.


It would be advisable to keep the Mistletoe away for your pets. The berries of this festival plants are poisonous. It contains toxalbumin and pharatoxin viscumin. This can ideally cause health issues such as digestive system disturbances and nausea. Even a minute quantity of Mistletoe can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, heart problems, seizures and dizziness. 


The flower forms a common ingredient for the festive bouquets. However, your cat may be at health risks or even death if it eats leaves or petals. It can cause severe health issues in your cats that include digestive and nervous problems. The flowers can also cause issues such as cardiovascular ailments. It can be one of the dangerous winter holiday plants for pets. 


Holly is yet another plant that can be quite dangerous if you have it around the dogs or cats. The berries of this plant can be quite poisonous. They may or may not cause a considerable damage when eaten. These may not kill the cats, but eating them can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Your pet may make it drool and throw up. 

Christmas Roses 

These are yet another variety of flowers that are used for decoration purposes during Christmas. They do look beautiful in their while colour, but it is advisable to keep them away from the cats to avoid unwanted results. The plant is toxic for both humans and cats alike. It can cause the health issues such as vomiting, diarrhoea and even paralysis.

A few of the toxic plants that can be dangerous for the cats (and even for other pets such as dogs) can include: 

  • Lily of the Valey
  • Castor beans
  • Azaleas
  • Amaryllis
  • Autumn crocus
  • Cyclamen
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Daffodils
  • English ivy
  • Dieffenbachia 
  • Devil’s ivy
  • Hyacinth
  • Kalanchoe

As you can clearly find from that list, none of the cactus species is found to be hazardous or poisonous for the cats, dogs or any other pets.

The Bottom Line 

That should have answered your question on whether Christmas cactus is poisonous for the cats. In fact, none of the plants in the cactus species is toxic or poisonous for the cats or other pets. However, if you still want to keep your Christmas cactus away from the reach of the cats and other pets, you can follow a few tips outlined in the above discussion. 


Are Cactuses Toxic to Cats?

It has been observed that none of the cactus species is harmful, toxic or poisonous for the cats. However, it will also be dependent on the types of fertilisers and other chemicals used for growing your cactus. In certain cats, the cactus can induce vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea. 

Is Holly Poisonous to Cats?

The entire Holly tree except for the berries can be dangerous and bad for the cats (or even for humans). Holly berries can cause a few syndromes such as vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, and drowsiness. 

What Scents Do Cats Hate?

Cats hate certain strong scents. Vinegar, citrus and cayenne pepper are a few smells that cats may consider quite disturbing. If you want to safeguard your Christmas cactus or other plants from cats, it would be practical to make the lants smell any of these scents that cats may find repulsing.


Nikita is a Succulent lover. She really enjoys planting and nourishing them. She loves to share information about various Succulents on this blog to aware people more about these awesome plants.

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