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Are Bonsai Trees Poisonous To Cats?

Although not all bonsais are poisonous to cats, many of these trees are. 

Thus, you should not let your cat rub against, chew, play with, bite, or eat your bonsai tree as it could seriously harm them.

If you have a pet, it’s always important to make sure your home is as safe as possible for them. 

You should therefore check whether your plants are toxic – especially if your cat frequently takes an interest in them.

Many cats like to chew on and play with plants, and if your cat is among them, you need to know whether your bonsai is poisonous.

Are Bonsai Trees Poisonous to Cats?

It’s important to remember that bonsai trees can be any kind of tree, so there is rarely a blanket rule about whether they are safe for an animal to eat or touch. 

Instead, whether or not your tree is poisonous to cats depends on the different chemicals and compounds inside your specific tree.

However, it is generally best to assume that a bonsai tree is poisonous to cats because many trees are, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

So, even if you know your bonsai is safe for cats, you should take steps to prevent your cat from eating it or playing with it.

Also, conversely, your cat can harm your bonsai tree. 

Bonsais are fragile and delicate and could break or die if they experience too much stress.

Cats could also transfer infections to the tree and break off the branches.

Additionally, even if your tree won’t cause a serious illness in your cat, the tree could harbor toxins that may give your cat an upset stomach. 

Or, the tree could scratch the inside of your cat’s mouth if they try to eat it.

You should therefore avoid letting your cat eat or play with your bonsai tree even if you think it is safe.

Which Bonsai Trees Are Poisonous to Cats?

Many bonsai trees are poisonous to cats, and it’s best to assume that a tree is poisonous until you know for sure that it isn’t.

The below bonsais are ones you should be particularly careful about because they are toxic to felines:

  • Fig bonsai
  • Buddhist pine bonsai
  • Plum bonsai
  • Azalea bonsai
  • Cherry bonsai
  • Australian palm bonsai
  • Apricot bonsai

And remember that your cat doesn’t even necessarily have to eat the tree for symptoms to occur. 

Some of these bonsais may cause itchiness or distress if your cat brushes against them.

Also, if the tree is in flower, your cat may accidentally get pollen on its fur, and if it licks the pollen off, he or she could suffer from diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, and more.

But, ingestion is typically the worst and can lead to seizures, trembling, weakness, or even death.

You should therefore be careful even if your cat doesn’t seem interested in eating your bonsai tree because any cat could accidentally ingest part of this plant.

So, treat bonsai plants with extreme caution if you have cats and don’t take any risks.

Which Bonsai Trees Are Usually Safe for Cats?

Even if you plan to keep your cat and your bonsai tree separate, you might want to know which trees are safer for cats.

It’s best to choose cat-friendly plants at all times, even if you don’t plan to let your cat go near the plant. 

Accidents can happen at any time, and a non-toxic plant means there is a lot less of a chance of a serious problem occurring if the cat ingests it. 

So, you should stick to bonsais such as the bamboo palm (not to be confused with lucky bamboo), the Japanese maple, and the Juniper, which do not cause life-threatening injuries in cats.

However, don’t depend on this list to keep your pet safe because there is always the potential for a cat to have an adverse reaction to any plant. 

Read More > Are Bonsai Trees Poisonous To Dogs?

How Can I Keep My Cat Away From My Bonsai Tree?

You might be wondering how you can effectively keep your cat away from your bonsai tree, and it’s important to consider this before choosing where to put your plant.

You should place your bonsai somewhere your cat cannot reach and somewhere the cat is not at risk of coming into contact with any falling pollen, fruits, or leaves.

A high windowsill will often be suitable but remember that cats are good climbers, so this may not be sufficient if your cat is interested in the tree.

Thus, you might want to put your bonsai in another room instead and keep the door closed so your cat cannot go in there.

Combine these methods with a high shelf and discourage the cat from entering the room, and they should be safe.

You can also put up a barrier around your bonsai, particularly if you grow the tree outside

A barrier should help to keep the cat away from the tree. 

Why Are Bonsai Trees Toxic to Cats?

The toxicity can vary from tree to tree, but in many cases, bonsai trees contain a phytotoxin known as cycasin, which can cause liver failure. 

When ingested, cycasin will release oxidants into your cat’s bloodstream, damaging the liver and eventually causing it to fail.

Yet, you may be able to help your cat recover if it has eaten a bit of your bonsai, but you will need to take swift action.

Therefore, even if the cat is not yet showing symptoms, call a vet as soon as possible.

Your cat will likely need immediate medical intervention, especially if it has any problems breathing.

You should also immediately remove as much of the plant from your cat’s mouth before transporting your animal to the vet. 

Overall, most cats will survive this kind of poisoning, provided you take swift action. 

So, don’t delay or wait for symptoms to start showing, or it may be too late.


Many bonsai trees are poisonous to cats, so if you aren’t sure of your plant’s toxicity, it is best to keep your tree well away from your pet at all times. 

Generally, eating the leaves or stems could cause vomiting, diarrhea, or even death, so never allow your cat to play with or nibble on a bonsai.

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