Cat and the Money Tree

Are Pachira Aquatica Poisonous To Cats? Money Tree Toxicity

Sometimes money does grow on trees! Well, not really but that doesn’t stop many people from buying money trees in the hopes that’ll bring them good luck!

The money tree, the scientific name being pachira aquatica, hails from South America and can grow up to sixty feet in the wild. These trees don’t reach that height at home, thankfully, but are still appreciated as a decorative plant.

With any sort of decorative plant, the most obvious question for a cat owner is if money trees are poisonous cats? After all, even the simple tulip can be toxic and at times possibly lethal to your cat.

Is Pachira Aquatica Toxic to Cats?

If you have a money tree, good news! They’re not poisonous to cats at all! Although, this being said they can provide an upset stomach if the leaves are ingested. At worst, your cat may vomit if they eat a leaf or two but even this is a rarity.

Will My Cat Eat My Money Tree?

Now that we know a money tree isn’t poisonous to your cat, let’s see if your cat will even care about this plant in the first place. Cats are, after all, rather finicky in nature. You may have a cat that’s a complete angel, and one that’ll knock over any plant they see.

Kittens especially love money trees. Being small, a money tree is a perfect climbing toy for a kitten and while they’re at it they may nibble on the leaves. This in turn can give them upset stomachs which may result in vomiting or diarrhea.

Your money tree is likely not going to be happy with having torn leaves and claw marks on the trunk either. So keep kittens away from your money tree if at all possible.

Money trees are safe to have in the house, but it’s also a good idea to keep them in rooms your cat isn’t allowed in or provide enough distractions where they won’t have a reason to go after your tree.

jade plant
Jade plant (Crassula Ovata)

The Other Type Of Money Tree

The pachira aquatica is perfectly safe for your cat. The crassula ovata, or jade plant, is certainly not safe. Why is this plant being mentioned? Because the jade plant is also sold under the name of “money tree”.

Thankfully the pachira aquatica and crassula ovata look nothing alike, but if you just went by the trade-name you would never know the difference.

The jade plant is a succulent plant, not a tree, and while they can grow big they’ll grow outward and not upward. The money tree, being a tree, will grow upward and not outward.

The easiest way to tell the two apart is to simply look at the label of the plants, which will carry their scientific names along with their trade names.

Is The Crassula Ovata Poisonous To Cats?

Yes. The jade plant is toxic to cats. What causes the actual toxins is unknown, but the symptoms are well documented.

Poisoning by a jade plant will include vomiting along with depressive behaviors including lethargy and or loss of appetite implying the central nervous system is being affected.

There is no cure for poisoning from the jade plant, so remain calm, provide your cat with plenty of fluids, and bring them to the vet as soon as you can.

Your vet may induce vomiting while keeping your cat on a drip to provide liquid, or offer activated charcoal to clear out the cat’s system. The jade plant isn’t a cat killer like some other plants, thankfully, but this doesn’t make the experience any less pleasant for your cat or yourself. It’s best to exercise caution and not keep a jade plant around the house.

The money tree is a great houseplant to keep around, and it’s safe for your cat as well! The only problem is buying the jade tree by mistake, which is poisonous if your cat eats the leaves.

So before you go out and buy a money tree, do a little digging to get reference pictures of the “safe” money tree and the more dangerous jade plant.

Also remember kittens are drawn to the money tree, so wait until they’re a bit older before you buy one.

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