Also known as the Swiss cheese plant, the Monstera is a popular houseplant grown for its attractive foliage. Monstera is also fairly easy to care for, which makes it a good choice for beginners or anyone who wants a no-nonsense plant.
For those people who also have cats, however, you should be aware that, like many other houseplants, Monstera are toxic to cats and can cause a wide array of symptoms if consumed.
It’s for this reason that any cat owner should know what happens if their cat eats their Monstera, even if it’s just a bite, as well as how to keep their cat from eating Monstera plants. I’ll run you through all of it below.
What happens if my cat eats my Monstera?
Monstera is toxic to cats and can cause pain and vomiting if ingested. It can also cause your cat’s mouth and esophagus to swell, which can result in difficulty eating and swallowing. If your cat has consumed any part of the Monstera plant, it’s best to get them to a veterinarian ASAP.
Monstera contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can damage the tissue inside your cat’s mouth, as well as their lips, tongue, and throat. This causes various symptoms including discomfort and pain.
Thankfully, this plant does have an unpleasant taste, which makes most cats take only one bite before they decide not to continue chomping on the plant. However, all it takes is one small bite to result in Monstera poisoning.
If your cat ate a Monstera leaf, they could show the following symptoms:
- Excessive drooling
- Burning sensation on the lips, tongue, and mouth
- Irration of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat
- Pawing at their mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
When consumed in large quantities, Monstera poisoning can cause more serious problems, such as coma, kidney failure, and even death. The good news is that most cats don’t consume enough of the Monstera plant for it to be a serious threat to their life. In most cases, the symptoms are merely unpleasant and not life-threatening.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you should allow your cat to continue chewing on the plant.
How much Monstera is toxic to cats?
All it takes is one bite for your cat to receive enough toxicity to experience symptoms associated with Monstera poisoning. While that single bite won’t tend to be fatal, the more of the Monstera plant eaten by a cat, the worse the symptoms will be.
In most cases, Monstera poisoning isn’t fatal unless consumed in large quantities, and most cats won’t consume that much of the plant because even the smallest nibble can cause intense burning and pain in their mouth.
While your cat chewing on a Monstera often isn’t fatal, it is best to reach out to your veterinarian or poison control as soon as possible for guidance. They will be able to steer you towards the best course of action for your cat.
Are Mini Monsteras poisonous to cats?
Mini Monstera (Rhaphidophora tetrasperma) are poisonous to cats and have the same insoluble calcium oxalate crystals as the Swiss Cheese plant. Because both plants can cause the same problems for your pets due to their toxicity, cats should be kept away from mini Monstera as well as Monstera plants.
The Mini Monstera (Rhaphidophora tetrasperma) is in the same family as Monstera, which is the Araceae family, but isn’t technically a Monstera plant. They do look similar to Monstera, with the same characteristic holes in the leaves. They even cause the same symptoms when ingested.
However, the Mini Monstera is smaller and doesn’t produce Monstera fruit like the actual plant does. Importantly, though, their leaves are just as toxic as the Monstera plant, and can result in a painful experience for your cat if they consume the plant’s leaves.
What part of the Monstera is toxic to cats?
The leaves and fruit of the Monstera contain calcium oxalate crystals, which is the part of the plant that is toxic. Cats can rub up against the plant, and even bat at the leaves without issue. Once they start to chew on it, however, that is when problems can arise.
It’s best to play it safe and keep your cat away from the Monstera plant at all times. Even if your cat has merely rubbed up on the plant without any signs of nibbling on it, you never know when your kitty will get the urge to chomp on its leaves. All it takes is one bite of the plant’s leaves for your cat to experience Monstera poisoning.
Not that it’s as serious as your cat being poisoned, but it’s also worth mentioning that your cat rubbing on your Monstera isn’t that good for the plant either. In fact, if your Monstera is drooping, it could be your pet that has caused its stems to weaken from these rubs, especially if the plant isn’t connected to a support structure.
How long does Monstera poisoning last in cats?
The length of the effects depends on various factors, such as how much the cat ingested. In most cases, any symptoms will subside within a few days, with most symptoms ending within 24 to 48 hours after the cat has consumed the plant. Symptoms can, however, last up to 2 weeks after ingestion.
If your cat continues to have symptoms after a few days, isn’t drinking or eating, or hasn’t used the litter box in over 24 hours, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Not using the litter box is a major sign that something is wrong with your cat and they need to be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
How do I keep my cat from eating my Monstera plants?
The best way to keep your cat from eating a Monstera plant is to place the plant in an area where they cannot reach it. Transplanting the Monstera into a hanging basket and hanging it from the ceiling is one option to keep it out of your cat’s reach, while setting the plant on a high shelf is another.
Cats are curious creatures that have a knack for getting into things they shouldn’t. This includes your houseplants – and we all know they’ll try even if you hang your Monstera to keep it out of the way.
Unfortunately, a lot of houseplants, including this one, are toxic and pose a serious health risk to your cat, and trying to keep your plants out of reach can be a difficult task.
There are, however, other deterrents you can use to help keep your Monstera adansonii and cats separate (or other types of Monstera, of course!), such as those listed below.
Related: Is Monstera Toxic to Dogs? (+ 8 Tips to Keep Them Apart)
1. Noise deterrents
Cats are not fans of loud noises, and you can use that to your advantage when trying to keep your kitty away from your houseplants. Fill a plastic water bottle with pennies and then, whenever your cat starts to bother the plant, shake the bottle.
After a while, the cat will associate the plant with the unpleasant noise and stay far away from it.
2. Smell deterrents
Cats have a heightened sense of smell, and some scents they just can’t stand. Citrus, for example, is one such smell that can help keep your cat out of your Monstera plants. You can even buy deterrent sprays with citrus that you can spray on plants to keep cats from chewing on them.
This cat and kitten training aid spray is perfect for this purpose.
3. Feel deterrents
Cats have sensitive paw pads and are usually extremely particular about what they step on. You can help keep them away from plants, or other areas, by laying down sticky tape (sticky side up) or aluminum foil around the plant. Your cats won’t want to step on the unpleasant surface surrounding the plant.
You can even get cat deterrent tape that’s specifically for keeping your pets away from places they shouldn’t be.
4. Enrich their surroundings
Most of the time, cats start to bother houseplants when they’re bored. Make sure your kitty has their own toys to play with, and spend some time playing with them every day.
If you notice your cat is heading over to the plant, try to redirect their attention to a toy.
5. Give them their own plant
Some cats enjoy the taste of plants, and there are even cat-safe plants that your kitty can chew on. Catnip and catgrass, like the cat grass available here, for example, are the two most popular plants for cats that felines can nibble on.
Even though these plants are safe for cats to consume, you still want to make sure they’re not eating too much, since it can cause stomach discomfort, diarrhea, and vomiting. Moderation is key when it comes to giving your pet cat-safe plants.
6. Be consistent
No matter what deterrent you choose, you must be consistent. If you lapse and let your cat play with the plant just once, then the entire process has been corrupted and you will need to start from scratch.
If you are consistent with your cat, they will eventually steer clear of the Monstera.