African Violets are a popular houseplant known for their beautiful, colorful blooms and easy maintenance.
Given their popularity, a lot of owners wonder whether these aesthetically pleasing plants are safe for cats.
Happily, they’re recorded as being non-toxic to cats by the ASPCA. So as far as contact and sniffing goes, they probably won’t do any harm.
But this isn’t always going to be the case, especially if your cat decides to snack on one.
African violets are known to cause gastrointestinal upset in Cats, in particular irritation of the digestive tract.
This is causes by the fibrous nature of the leaf, as well as various compounds such as saponins.
When cats consume large amounts of the flowers or leaves, vomiting and/or diarrhea are often the result. Loss of appetite is another common symptom.
Although these symptoms aren’t usually severe, you should keep a close eye on your cat.
If symptoms persist after a few days, contact your vet.
On rare occasions, African violets can cause skin irritation in feline due to the presence of certain oils and sap.
These can stick to the fur and skin, resulting itching, redness and small bumps.
To remove the oils and sap, wash your cat’s skin and fur with soap and water.
Be sure to contact your vet if the skin irritation persists or if you notice further sigsn of an allergic reaction.
These might include difficulty breathing or swelling.
How to Keep You Cat Safe Around an African Violet
While African violets are generally considered safe, it’s still important to prevent your cat from ingesting or coming into repeated contact with the plant.
Here are some tips to keep your cat safe around African violets:
- Make Sure the Plants Out of Reach – Keep the African violet in a location that’s inaccessible to your cat like a high shelf or hanging basket.
- Check Your Cat’s Behavior – Monitor your cat when he’s in the vicinity of the plant. If he shows interest in the plant, distract him or remove the plant.
- Clean Up Fallen Leaves/Flowers – Sweep up/vacuum away fallen leaves or flowers.
- Wash Your hands after Handling the Plant – Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling the plant
While African violets are thought to be non-toxic, they may cause skin irritation or stomach upset on occasion.
The ingesting of small amounts of the plant will likely only result in mild symptoms.
But the consumption of arger amounts can lead to more serious issues.
So ensure that the African Violet is out of reach and supervise your cat when he’s around it.
If you observe any symptoms offgastrointestinal upset or skin irritation, contact your veterinarian for advice.
See our article on which plants are toxic to cats for more information.