Ginger tabby cat cat plays in green ferns

Ferns are a popular type of houseplant that is known for their lush, green leaves and ability to purify the air. They can add a touch of nature to any home and make a great addition to any garden.

However, some people may be hesitant to bring ferns into their homes if they have cats due to concerns about their safety. So, are fern plants toxic to cats?

In this blog, we’ll explore the question: are fern plants toxic to cats?

Are Ferns Toxic to Cats?

The short answer is that it depends on the specific type of fern. Some ferns are toxic to cats and can cause a range of symptoms if ingested, while others are completely safe.

Toxic Ferns for Cats

The most common type of toxic fern for cats is the Asparagus fern, also known as the Asparagus sprengeri or emerald feather. This fern is toxic to both cats and dogs and can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing if ingested.

Another toxic fern for cats is the Boston fern, also known as the Nephrolepis exaltata. This fern can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing in cats if ingested. It is important to note that the Boston fern is also toxic to humans, so it is best to keep it out of reach of both cats and children.

Other ferns that are toxic to cats include the bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus), the staghorn fern (Platycerium bifurcatum), and the elkhorn fern (Platycerium superbum).

White cat hiding amongst large ferns in a garden watching a bird feeder on a tree branch
White cat hiding amongst large ferns in a garden watching a bird feeder on a tree branch

Safe Ferns for Cats

While there are some ferns that are toxic to cats, there are also many types of ferns that are completely safe for cats. These include:

  • Maidenhair fern (Adiantum)
  • Button fern (Pellaea rotundifolia)
  • Rabbit’s foot fern (Davallia fejeensis)
  • Sword fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’)
  • Kimblewick fern (Dryopteris carthusiana)

It is important to note that even safe ferns can still cause gastrointestinal upset in cats if ingested in large quantities. However, the risk of this occurring is much lower than with toxic ferns.

Cats sleeping on a bench within the garden amongst the ferns
Cats sleeping on a bench within the garden amongst the ferns

Symptoms of Fern Poisoning in Cats

If your cat has ingested a toxic fern, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of fern poisoning. These can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the face or neck
  • Loss of appetite

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. The quicker the treatment is started, the better the chances of a full recovery.

Preventing Fern Poisoning in Cats

The best way to prevent fern poisoning in cats is to choose non-toxic ferns for your home and garden. If you already have toxic ferns in your home, it is important to keep them out of reach of your cats. This can be done by placing the plants on high shelves or in areas that are not accessible to your cats.

It is also a good idea to train your cats to stay away from plants. You can do this by using a natural deterrent such as citrus or chili pepper, or by using a commercially available plant repellent.

In conclusion

In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with ferns and cats. While some types of ferns can be toxic to cats, there are also many that are safe and non-toxic.

The best way to prevent fern poisoning in cats is to choose non-toxic ferns for your home and garden and to keep them out of reach of your cats.

If you suspect that your cat has ingested a toxic fern, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.