Lucky Bamboo Plants and Cats

Written by pamela grundy
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Lucky Bamboo Plants and Cats
Lucky bamboo is toxic to cats (lucky bamboo close up image by Trevor Goodwin from Fotolia.com)

Lucky bamboo is toxic to cats when chewed or eaten. Also known as dragon tree or Dracaena sanderiana, lucky bamboo belongs to a family of toxic plants that includes Easter lilies and garden lilies.

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Lucky bamboo toxicity

Lucky bamboo contains botanical substances similar to chemical soap called saponins. When cats eat toxic bamboo, the saponins cause dilated pupils, vomiting (with or without blood), anorexia and excessive salivation. Cats that exhibit any of these symptoms should be taken to a vet immediately.

Animal poison control centre

The ASPCA maintains a 24-hour, 365-day pet poison emergency number at 1-888-426-4435. Calling the number in the minutes immediately following ingestion of lucky bamboo can sometimes save a cat. Cats that ingest lucky bamboo will still need to be taken to a veterinarian for follow up afterward.

Prevention/solution

Cats love to dig in houseplants and chew on plant leaves. To prevent poisoning a cat with lucky bamboo, the best course of action is to not keep this plant in the house. Another option is to keep toxic bamboo only in rooms a cat cannot access.

Warning

Cats can be discouraged from digging in houseplants by providing lots of places for them to scratch and play, keeping their litter boxes clean, providing catnip and wheat grass for them to chew on instead, and firmly saying no. Cats may chew lucky bamboo anyway when no one is watching, so don't rely on training as a preventive measure.

Other considerations

Cat owners who love houseplants should research the toxicity of houseplants carefully before bringing one into the house. Many houseplants are nontoxic and fun for cats, but some are deadly. Pet owners may want to choose between keeping a cat and keeping plants indoors instead of trying to do both.

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