The real aloe is one of the most popular indoor plants and is also in demand as a remedy due to its ingredients. But does the plant also pose a threat? We clarify whether aloe vera is toxic to cats.
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Known natural remedy
Aloe vera contains important nutrients. These include numerous vitamins and valuable amino acids that are healthy for humans and cats. Externally, it is used, for example, for skin irritations, eczema and, due to its antibacterial properties, also for wound healing in four-legged friends. The plant can even be beneficial for people with diabetes. Other ingredients strengthen, for example, the immune system of humans and animals as well as the cell membrane.
Toxic to cats
Caution is advised for anyone who has an aloe vera in their home or garden that a cat has free access to. When nibbling, it can absorb toxic substances.
The green leaf bark contains yellow bark juice, which contains the toxic substance anthraquinone. This can lead to mild to severe symptoms of poisoning. Even if the plant sap has dried up, the concentration is still between five and 40 percent. Even the smallest value is high enough to cause health problems in a cat.
Outer leaf skin
Poisonous aloins can be found in the outer leaf skin. When nibbling, this is injured and the substance is absorbed. In addition, poisonous plant sap can get into the small cat’s mouth due to the injury. Even a small bite into the leaf peel can result in symptoms of poisoning and life-threatening side effects. Some experts also speak of an increased risk of cancer in humans when consumed in high doses. Whether aloe vera has the same effect on cats has not yet been clarified.
While the intake of small amounts of toxins for a healthy, adult person often leads “only” to diarrhea and sometimes slight nausea, the smallest amounts can have life-threatening consequences for cats. Possible symptoms of poisoning in a cat can be:
- Diarrhea with possible bleeding
- abdominal pain and abdominal cramps
- signs of paralysis
- Irritation of the oral mucosa, sometimes with skin tears and corresponding bleeding
- cardiac dysfunction
- liver inflammation
- impaired renal function up to renal failure
A simple touch of the green outer shell does not have any health effects on a cat. Provided that it is not damaged and that no plant sap escapes. Because if the cat’s skin comes into contact with the plant sap, various symptoms are not uncommon:
- phototoxic reaction (greatly increased sensitivity to UV light)
- skin redness
- signs of burns
- At worst, eczema with pustules
- open wounds with increased risk of infection
The aloe vera needs a sunny, bright location. While you should definitely ensure this, the plant should also be given a safe place from pets at the same time:
- Place plants right next to them that keep cats away
- for example piss-off plant (Plectranthus ornatus) or lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
- Set up bowls with essential oils, coffee powder, onions or garlic around the plant
- Do not place plants in cats’ favorite places
- use high, free-standing plant columns
frequently asked Questions
If this is the case, you should inform your veterinarian immediately. Being able to estimate how much of the greens your cat has eaten is important information for any veterinarian. If there are already signs of poisoning, it is best to go straight to the veterinary practice. If there is serious poisoning, the veterinarian there has the best opportunity for quick medical help.
The symptoms can be very different. Often the first symptoms are increased salivation. Abdominal pain with cramps can be recognized by restlessness with alternating lying down, getting up and walking around at short intervals. However, there are also cats that initially show no symptoms. That does not mean, however, that scuffing remains completely without symptoms of poisoning.
The roots are non-toxic to cats. They only provide the moisture so that the plant sap is produced inside the plant. However, the plant sap reaches into the deepest leaf areas and thus also to the top roots. Therefore, the four-legged friends should not have access to the roots.
Yes, but even with good preparation there is always a residual risk and it is up to you alone to decide whether you want to accept this. If so, let the plant sap run out first by standing vertically and make sure that the green leaf is completely cut off. Only the clear gel inside is non-toxic.