Is Christmas cactus toxic to cats?
Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) is non-toxic to cats and can be safely grown in homes with pets.
What is Christmas cactus?
- Origin: Brazil
- Botanical name: Schlumbergera bridgesii
- Common names: Christmas cactus, Holiday cactus, Crab cactus
- Toxicity: Non-toxic to cats
Christmas cactus is a popular tropical cactus that blooms around Christmastime. The plant produces small, serrated, segmented flat stems (known as phylloclades) which grow out in a characteristic arch which it a crab-like appearance and makes them the perfect hanging plant. Christmas cactus can be grown outdoors in warm climates but unlike other succulents, grow in partial shade for the rest of the year.
Native to Brasil, Schlumbergera species grow on the surface of tree branches (epiphytes) in rain forests. The flowering period lasts up to eight weeks and colours include pink, red, lavender, orange, cream and white.
- Schlumbergera gaertneri – Easter cactus
- Schlumbergera truncate – Thanksgiving cactus
Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus are often confused due to the fact that they both boom later in the year. The Thanksgiving cactus has 2-4 saw-toothed serrations (claws) along the margins and the Christmas cactus has rounded serrations (scallops).
While Christmas cactus is non-toxic to cats, fertilisers and pest control used on or around the plant may be potentially toxic.
Toxic and non-toxic Christmas plants
Please be aware that cats don’t know toxic plants from non-toxic plants and poisoning can occur. The level of toxicity varies greatly from plant to plant. So, while I would have a poinsettia in my own home, I would not have a lily, which is deadly to cats.
Do your homework before you bring plants and cut flowers into the home so that your cats stay safe.
- Holly – Toxic
- Mistletoe – Toxic
- Poinsettia – Mildly toxic
- Ivy – Toxic
- Lily – Toxic
- Amaryllis – Toxic
- Christmas trees (spruce and fir) – Non-toxic. Pine – Toxic