spider plant on a wooden table

Spider plants are perennially a favorite houseplant due to their relatively easy care, fullness, and attractive appearance as both a hanging and potted plant. They reproduce readily via plantlet production.

If you have cats, though, it’s important to know how safe spider plants may be for your furry friends. Cats are well known for their desire to snack on houseplants and chewing on or even being around the wrong house plant can be a deadly mistake. Here’s what you need to know about keeping spider plants in your cat-friendly home.

Are Spider Plants Safe for Cats?

Lucky for you, spider plants are considered a non-toxic plant to keep in your cat-friendly home! You may also see spider plants referred to as ribbon plants, spider ivy, and Anthericum.

Spider plants are not only cat-friendly plants, but they also consistently make it onto lists of best houseplants to help purify the air in your home. In fact, in a study performed by NASA, spider plants were found to remove 95% of the toxic compounds from the air in a sealed Plexiglass container. Obviously, your house isn’t a sealed Plexiglass container, but this does show how effectively spider plants can help to remove unwanted substances from the air within your home.

What Should I Do if My Cat Chews on a Spider Plant?

Since we know that spider plants are non-toxic to cats, there’s nothing you should do if your cat chews on your spider plant, in theory. However, there is a little more to it than that.

Your cat chewing on your spider plant damages the leaves of the plant each time your kitty goes back for more. This can eventually lead to the death of your plant if your cat is allowed to continue chewing on it. If your cat is regularly chewing on your spider plant, it’s a good choice to move the plant out of your cat’s reach, whether that means putting it in a room your cat can’t access or moving it to a hanging planter far from any surfaces your cat can jump from.

Spider plant with plantlets and flowers
Spider plant with plantlets and flowers (Image courtesy: W.carter, Wikimedia Commons CC0 1.0 Universal)

Why Do Cats Like to Chew on Spider Plants?

Cats seem to really enjoy chewing on plants in general, but many people find that there’s something about spider plants that seems to make them more appealing to cats. Some people believe that this is simply because the leaves of spider plants have a grass-like appearance. Cats often chew on grass to settle an upset stomach or aid in digestion, so it’s possible they chew on spider plants for the same purpose.

Other people have a different theory about cats and spider plants. Spider plants produce a compound that may be somewhat similar to opium, and some people posit that cats enjoy chewing on spider plants because it gives them a high in a similar way to catnip. There is not enough science to adequately prove this theory, though.

In Conclusion

Spider plants are a non-toxic houseplant that are not just safe for your cat, but that also help to significantly improve the air quality in your home. Many cats seem to show a preference for chewing on these plants, which may be because of their grassy appearance or it may be because your kitty gets a catnip-like high from the plant. Either way, your plant is likely to suffer from repeated cat snacks, so you should consider moving it to a safe place out of reach of your cat if your kitty has begun to show an interest.

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