Calathea Plants and Pet Safety: Toxicity Concerns for Cats and Dogs

By: Matt Slaymaker
July 4, 2024
Are Calathea Plants Toxic to Cats and Dogs
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Are you in love with the gorgeous Calathea plants and want to expand your collection by adding these beauties to your indoor greenery? With their unique leaf patterns and stunning variegations, Calatheas can be the perfect conversation starter, adding visual interest to any living space. 

But are Calathea plants toxic to cats and dogs? What about to humans? 

Many pet owners often worry about whether to introduce these exotic-looking plants into their homes, due to concerns about their pets' safety. 

So, keep reading to find out if your beloved pets can coexist with Calatheas safely and without risk to their well-being. Our comprehensive guide will answer all your questions and help you put your mind at rest.

Let's start with a quick introduction to these easy-to-grow houseplants.

About Calathea Plants 

About Calathea Plants

Unique potted plants from the tropical regions of South America, Calatheas (Calathea spp.) belong to the family Marantaceae. You'll also find that Calatheas are referred to as prayer plants, due to how their leaves fold up at night and unfurl in the morning, resembling hands in prayer. 

Most Calathea varieties thrive in humid conditions and are best suited for USDA zones 10-11. Their stunning, glossy, and patterned leaves, with dark or silvery brush marks as if painted by an artist, are a sight to behold. Symbolically representing a fresh start or new beginnings, Calatheas are much loved and sought after by novice and seasoned plant enthusiasts alike.

Some popular varieties of the prayer plants include the Calathea Concinna "Freddy", known for its striking green and white striped leaves, the famous Calathea Orbifolia with its intricate, feather-like patterns on its foliage, and the rare and high-demand Calathea Rattlesnake, admired for its wavy, lance-shaped, and stunningly patterned lime-green leaves with burgundy undersides. 

Calatheas are easy-care plants, requiring bright, indirect light, high humidity, and well-draining soil to thrive. Regular watering is essential, but the soil should never get soggy to avoid root rot. Exposure to direct sunlight should be avoided, as it could lead to sunburn. 

People, who share their space with pets, however, may hesitate to bring home a Calathea plant, worrying about their safety. So, let's find out whether a Calathea plant is toxic to pets, or it’s another myth about this beautiful houseplant.

Is Calathea Toxic to Cats? 

Is Calathea Toxic to Cats

The good news is that a Calathea plant isn't toxic to cats. According to the ASPCA, this pet-safe plant is free from toxins that could harm your feline. It's one of the few houseplants with a sturdy structure and hard-to-chew leaves that may deter your curious cat (or any pet) from nibbling on or damaging it. 

Yet, it's not advisable to give your cat a free pass to ingest a large amount of the Calathea. Its thick, fibrous leaves can be hard to digest, potentially causing gastrointestinal issues for your feline.

What Happens If a Cat Eats Calathea?

Your cat may show the following signs of discomfort after eating the Calathea plant:

  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Drooling 
  • Stomach upset 
  • Loss of appetite  
  • Lethargy

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it's advisable to see your vet immediately before the situation worsens. 

Is Calathea Plant Poisonous to Dogs?

Is Calathea Toxic to Dogs

As is the case with cats, Calathea plants are non-poisonous to dogs, too. None of its parts contain any compounds to harm your furry friend. Still, it's best if you don't allow your dog to nibble on this tropical houseplant

Ingesting a large amount of Calathea leaves can lead to mild gastrointestinal discomfort, due to their fibrous texture and thickness. Some other possible problems include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and stomach ache. If you notice any adverse reactions or symptoms in your canine pet after they've nibbled on the plant, always seek professional veterinary advice.

Even though Calathea plants are safe, it's best to keep them (or any other houseplants) out of your pet's reach. This will also ensure that your plants don't suffer any damage from the advances of your curious pets.   

Is Calathea Toxic to Humans? 

Is Calathea Poisonous to Humans

Calathea isn't toxic to humans. Its leaves or stems don't contain calcium oxalate crystals or other dangerous compounds to potentially cause any harm to you or your kids. However, it's still advised to supervise young children around Calatheas to prevent them from accidentally ingesting parts of the plant. 

While the plant itself is not harmful, other houseplants can be, and young children may still experience mild stomach upset if they chew on the leaves. To ensure safety, always keep plants out of reach and educate children about not touching or ingesting them.  

How to Stop Cats and Dogs From Eating Houseplants? 

How to Stop Cats and Dogs From Eating Houseplants

Stopping your cats and dogs from eating Calatheas or any houseplant may seem a challenge. But these handy tips should help you protect both your furry companions and beloved plants:

  • Keep all your houseplants at a suitable height; use hanging baskets and planters, and high shelves to prevent your pets from easily accessing them.
  • Spray some diluted lemon juice on your plants' leaves to chase away cats, as they are very sensitive to citrus smell.  You can also add a few drops to the soil of the plant. 
  • Get your cats and dogs their own plants to play around, thus leaving yours; you can plant catnip and pet grass (a type of wheatgrass) that both cats and dogs can benefit from. 
  • Pebbles on the soil can deter your dog or cat from digging and damaging your plant’s roots. Fencing your green corner and making it hard to access can also help protect your plants.
  • You can train your dog how to behave around houseplants, and not touch them with positive reinforcement and treats.

Pet-Safety & Indoor Plants: FAQs

Q: Is Ponytail Palm toxic to cats and dogs?

A: The Ponytail Palm is considered non-toxic to cats and dogs. According to the ASPCA, its leaves, stem, and trunk are safe and do not contain any toxic chemicals. 

Q: Is the Peacock plant toxic to cats?

A: No, the Peacock plant isn't toxic to cats. Still, prevent your feline from chewing on the plant to avoid digestive issues in your cat and maintain your green companion’s good looks.  

Q: Is Boston fern toxic to dogs and cats?

A: While a Boston fern isn't directly toxic to cats and dogs, ingesting large quantities can lead to stomach upset, including vomiting and diarrhea. Additionally, the texture of the plant's fronds can irritate your pet's mouth and throat. 

Q: Is the Chinese Money plant toxic to cats and dogs?

A: The Chinese money plant is non-toxic to cats and dogs alike. Its leaves and stems are free from hazardous compounds, making it a safe plant for curious pets who might chew on plants out of curiosity. 

Q: Is Money Tree toxic to cats and dogs?

A: No, the popular and lucky Money Tree is completely safe for cats and dogs. But as is the case with other houseplants, you should discourage your pets from feeding on it regularly. 

Q: Are all Calatheas safe for cats?

A: Yes, all Calatheas are safe for cats. But it's worth noting that your pets should be deterred from eating large amounts of these plants to avoid stomach discomfort. 


All Calathea varieties are non-toxic to both cats and dogs, making them a safe addition to pet-friendly homes. However, it’s still advisable to keep pets away from your indoor greenery, as nibbling on any houseplants can potentially cause digestive issues.

To complement your Calatheas, consider growing other pet-friendly plants, such as the similarly looking Maranta Red Prayer plant, the gorgeous Spider plant, or the unique Hurricane fern that boasts spiraled fronds as if swirling in the wind.