The aloe vera plant has been used for many years by humans for medicinal purposes. It is often hailed as a miracle plant and has a wide range of uses, but also many homeowners like to keep an aloe vera plant as a decorative houseplant.
So, what happens when your cat decides to have a nibble on your aloe vera plant? Can cats eat aloe vera, and is aloe vera toxic to cats?
Unfortunately, aloe vera plant is toxic to cats. The leaves of the aloe vera plant contain a form of latex which, if ingested, can cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats. Cats should not eat aloe vera plants but can be given other forms of aloe vera, such as aloe vera gel or juice, if they are prepared correctly.
Do Cats Eat Aloe Vera Plants?
Cats are curious creatures and will investigate any interesting objects in the household, including house plants such as aloe vera. Cats have a highly evolved sense of taste and generally avoid eating anything which may be toxic to them.
However, some cats have been known to eat aloe vera plants, so it is best to keep these plants out of reach of your cats.
Why Do Cats Eat Aloe Vera Plants?
It is believed that cats may occasionally eat toxic substances when they have an upset stomach, to deliberately induce vomiting. This is often seen in outdoor cats who will eat grass which is then regurgitated.
An indoor cat that does not have access to grass may be tempted to nibble on houseplants such as aloe vera to fulfil this need.
However, the aloe vera plant has toxic side-effects that may make any existing digestive problems even worse.
Is Aloe Plant Poisonous to Cats?
Aloe vera plants are poisonous to cats. The juicy leaves of the aloe vera plant contain latex, which is partly made up of a substance called saponin. Saponins are toxic to cats, with symptoms occurring six to twelve hours after the aloe vera plant has been ingested.
Symptoms of aloe vera toxicity include diarrhea, vomiting, reduced appetite, depression, muscle tremors, and a change in urine color.
If you suspect that your cat has eaten some aloe vera plant, take your cat immediately to your veterinarian along with any remaining parts of the aloe plant.
Even if your cat is not showing signs of poisoning it is important to seek medical help quickly as this will help increase the chance of a full and quick recovery.
Feeding Aloe Vera to Your Cat
Aloe Vera plants should not be fed to cats under any circumstances, as the toxic saponins can cause potentially fatal illnesses. Some forms of aloe vera such as gel or juice may be safe for cats.
But they must be introduced gradually into the diet and discontinued if any side effects are observed.
Is Aloe Vera Juice Safe for Cats?
Aloe Vera juice which has had the toxic saponins removed can be safely fed to cats. In human medicine, aloe vera is reported to have anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating properties, although it is not known if cats also benefit from aloe vera in the same way.
Aloe Vera juice has a bitter taste that your cat may dislike, you may need to disguise the flavor for your cat before they will eat it.
Can Cats Eat Aloe Vera Gel?
Aloe Vera gel can be safely fed to cats if it has the toxic saponins removed. Aloe Vera gel is reported to have health benefits such as improved healing and cell regenerating powers.
Medicinal-grade aloe vera gel can be used to treat skin conditions in cats and will not be toxic if licked or ingested by your cat.
How Often Can Cats Eat Aloe Vera?
Aloe Vera plant should never be fed to cats as it is toxic. Aloe Vera juice and gel may be safely fed to cats as the toxins have been removed, but it is recommended that they are not given for long periods at a high dose.
Feeding aloe vera to cats is reported to have many health benefits, but tests have not been carried out to determine how long it is safe to feed it for. Some pet foods contain added aloe vera, which is the safest way to feed aloe vera to your cat on a long-term basis.
Supplementation with aloe vera juice or gel at a high rate should not continue for more than two weeks, although it can be fed for longer periods at a lower dose.
So, Is It Safe for Cats to Eat Aloe Vera?
Aloe Vera plants are not safe for cats to eat as they contain toxic saponins, which can cause symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, reduced appetite, depression, muscle tremors, and a change in urine color.
Aloe Vera can be supplemented into your cat’s diet in the form of gel or juice, as the toxic saponins have been removed.
Some claims have been made about the health benefits of feeding aloe vera to cats. However, the safest way to give your cat aloe vera is to feed a complete cat food that contains aloe vera.
Here are some other related questions on this topic.
Can Aloe Vera Kill Cats?
If ingested, the aloe vera plant is mildly to moderately toxic to cats if prompt veterinary attention is sought. A full recovery from aloe vera plant toxicity depends on rapid veterinary treatment, and if the poisoning is severe then organ damage may develop.
This may lead to a prolonged stay in hospital for your cat, and unfortunately may result in death.