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Are Ponytail Palm Toxic to Cats?

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Choosing the right houseplants for your living space can be tricky, and finding pet-friendly houseplants is even more difficult. 

Although dogs like to wander around the house, cats are curious. There is a lively pet who likes to explore every corner. It is important not to put any poisonous plants in the house.

Ponytail palms are very common indoor plants, with cascading leaves and bulbous rhizomes. Because they grow slowly, have low maintenance costs, and can survive for decades, they make excellent interior decorations.

But the question remains: Are ponytail palms cat safe plants?  Please read it carefully to find out the answer.



In many indoor plants, toxicity is hidden under their appearance. An indoor plant may have poisonous sap that will ooze when the stem is broken. Others carry toxins in the leaves, and mere contact can be toxic to cats and dogs. Others require cats and dogs to ingest plant materials so that toxic elements can affect your pet.

Fortunately, according to the American Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), ponytails are non-toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. They are small, light and fun, and can be placed on a coffee table or near a window to get the most sunlight.

When in doubt, I always look to ASPCA for plants that are safe for cats, because they have linked all common plants (such as Chlorophytum) with available toxicity data to see which plants really affect your cats and dogs. They put everything in one huge list post with tags and names, so you can go back again and again for reference.

In short: Beaucarnea recurvata is completely safe around pets and children. With their eye-catching sculptural appearance, they can easily occupy the center of your living room. The leaves, stems and trunks are all non-toxic. Now that we have cleared the air, please feel free to take care of them at home!



Keeping Cats Away From Your Palm
However, the real question is – how can you protect them from curious cats? Cats often mess with any plant in your home: a fern, a cactus, or pretty much anything that’s green, popular, easy to grow, and makes you happy.

If you’re choosing them as décor pieces around the house, you need to keep these plants in a safe, pet-free zone. Here are a few tips to protect your precious palm:

  • Use cayenne pepper or citrus to deter ponytail palm cats by causing an unpleasant aroma
  • Add pebbles or stones to the top of your container
  • Add pinecones or crumbled aluminum foil
  • Buy plants like catnip or lemon balm to attract them
  • Lightly spray your cat with water every time it goes near to train it
  • Grow your ponytail palm outdoors to avoid the problem entirely
Cats are extremely sensitive to smell, which is a good advantage if you want to keep them away from Beaucarnea recurvata. There are many ways to make plants smell "uncomfortable" for cats. Sprinkling some peppers around the leaves is a safe and effective way to keep cats away.

Cats also hate the smell of citrus. If you have dried orange or lemon zest in the kitchen, just put some in the pot. Although this is a pleasant fragrance for you, it can successfully deter cats. Make sure not to use strong acids, such as lemon juice, as this may damage the leaves.

If your cat treats the pot as a litter box and "waters" it with urine, you can place some weird objects such as large pebbles or stones in the pot to prevent them from staying away.

Another good idea is to put pine cones or crushed aluminum foil around the container. Sharp or unusual textures will pull the cat completely away from the window sill. However, if you are really desperate, then use breathable mesh fabric or barbed wire.

If your cat manages to get its paw in anyway, don't worry, there are other things you can do. If you are willing to put in extra effort, you can also buy some "sacrifice plants" that cats like very much, such as lemon balm or catnip. Plant these plants in containers away from the houseplants you want to protect, so your cat will look for these more attractive plants instead of destroying your beloved palm tree.

These plants are among the safest and most beautiful plants in your home. Using the sneaky methods mentioned above, you can easily keep your cat away from them. The maintenance cost is low and the shelf life is long. You can put your palm by the window to create a fresh atmosphere.