Is Ponytail Palm Safe for Cats?

If you’re a cat owner, you probably know cats like to play with houseplants. Unfortunately, while many plants are harmless to cats, some can be toxic. So, if you’re considering adding a ponytail palm to your home, you might wonder: is ponytail palm safe for cats?

The short answer is yes! Ponytail palms are not toxic to cats. In fact, they’re actually considered to be one of the safest indoor plants for pets. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you do have a cat and a ponytail palm. So, let’s dive in!

What Is a Ponytail Palm?

Beaucarnea recurvata, commonly known as ponytail palm, is a type of succulent. They are part of the Agave family instead of being a true palm.  Originally from Mexico and surrounding areas, not they are grown all over the world as ornamental plants.

Ponytail palms are slow-growing plants that can live for many years. They are a common houseplant because they are easy to care for and can tolerate periods of neglect. They get their name from their long, cascading leaves that resemble a ponytail.

You may see them referred to as elephant foot plants because the bulbous trunk can resemble an elephant foot. The trunk also makes them drought tolerant because it stores water.

ponytail palm foliage

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Is the Ponytail Palm Safe for Cats?

We’ve established that ponytail palm is a popular houseplant. But is this plant safe for your feline friend?

The good news is that ponytail palms are non-toxic to cats, so you don’t have to worry about your kitty being poisoned if she nibbles on the leaves. This is a relief because other popular houseplants, such as pothos plants and snake plants, can be toxic to cats.

However, while the plant is not toxic, the leaves can be sharp. Cats like to chew on plants; if they chew on a ponytail palm leaf, they could hurt themselves. (Heck, I have to be careful not to hurt myself when handling my ponytail palm!)

ponytail palm sharp-edged leaves
sharp-edged ponytail palm leaves

So, it’s best to keep this plant out of reach of curious cats.

Why Are Cats Attracted to Ponytail Palms?

So why might cats be attracted to ponytail palms?

If you’re a cat owner, you know they are curious creatures. They like to investigate everything. So, it’s not surprising that they would be attracted to houseplants.

And as I mentioned, ponytail plant leaves are long and cascading. This makes them perfect for a cat to swat at or bat around. So if you have a cat who likes to play with plants, a ponytail palm is likely to be one of her favorites.

cat playing with monstera houseplant

Tips for Keeping Your Cat Away From Houseplants

For many cat owners, keeping their furry friend from nibbling on foliage can be a never-ending battle.

While there are several commercial repellents on the market, some simple tips can also help keep cats away from plants.

3-in-1 Cat & Kitten Training Aid with Bitter

This is a commercial spray containing bitters. It can be sprayed on plant leaves.

For example, sprinkling cayenne pepper around the base of the plant can deter cats from approaching.

Another effective method is to place double-sided tape around the pot’s rim. The sticky sensation will deter most cats from getting too close to your plants.

While I haven’t tried this myself, I’ve heard of people placing crumpled-up aluminum foil on top of the soil. Apparently, cats don’t like the way it feels under the feet.

Finally, placing plants in an elevated position where they are out of reach can also help to keep cats away. This assumes your cat isn’t a climber, of course!

With a little trial and error, you should be able to find a method that works for you and your cat.

potted ponytail palm
ponytail palm elevated on a table

Other Pet-Friendly Houseplants

Pet owners are often on the lookout for pet-friendly houseplants, so here are a few of my favorites:

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – Spider plants are one of the best cat-safe plants. They are easy to grow indoors and very resilient, even if you have a terrible green thumb! Spider plants also have a reputation for being great air purifiers, which can help eliminate toxins in your home.

Lady palm (Rhapis Excelsa) – Lady palms are another type of palm that is safe for cats and dogs. They have long, slender leaves that can add a touch of elegance to any room. Lady palms are also known for being very easy to care for.

Calathea – all varieties of Calathea are non-toxic to pets. Calathea plants are not the easiest houseplants to grow, but they are stunning!

Date palm (Phoenix roebelenii ) – Date palm is an attractive plant that’s perfect for any room. They look fantastic and are safe for pets to be around.

Money tree (Pachira aquatic)The money tree is a trendy and easy-to-care-for tropical plant. It will thrive in sunny areas and even tolerates a bit of neglect.

African violet – African violets (Saintpaulia ionantha) are classic houseplants that come in many colors. They are beautiful, easy to care for, and non-toxic to pets.

Parlor palm – The parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) is another classic houseplant. It has fluffy palm fronds and does well in low-light areas.

So there you have it! These are just a few of the many pet-friendly houseplants you can choose from.

kitten playing with houseplant leaves

Final Thoughts

If you’re a cat owner who’s thinking about adding a ponytail palm plant to your home, there’s no need to worry! Ponytail palms are non-toxic for cats. Just remember to keep it out of reach of your kitty!

FAQs

Is it okay if my cat eats my ponytail palm?

Yes, it is okay if your cat eats your ponytail palm. Ponytail palms are non-toxic to cats and other pets. However, the leaves can be sharp, so it’s best to keep the plant out of reach of curious kitties.

Can cats be around palm plants?

Yes, cats can be around most palm plants. Sago palm is an exception, however. It’s a very poisonous plant, so don’t let your cat near it.

How big do ponytail palms get?

Ponytail palms can grow to be up to 30 feet tall. However, they won’t reach that size when grown as houseplants. Potted ponytail palms will rarely grow taller than 4 feet.