Is Thanksgiving Cactus Toxic to Cats?

Is Thanksgiving toxic to cats? 

Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncate) is non-toxic to cats.

What is Thanksgiving cactus?

  • Genus: Schlumbergera
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Botanical name: Schlumbergera truncata
  • Common names: Thanksgiving cactus, False Christmas cactus, Crab cactus, Holiday cactus
  • Origin: Brazil
  • Flower colour: Red, pink, white, yellow, purple
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to cats

Thanksgiving cactus is a popular tropical cactus native to Brasil that blooms around Thanksgiving. In the wild, Schlumbergera species grow on the surface of tree branches (epiphytes) in rain forests.

The crab-like serrated, segmented flat stems (known as phylloclades), grow out in a characteristic arch, making them a perfect hanging plant. Flowers grow in a variety of colours including red, rose, purple, lavender, peach, orange, cream, and white.

Thanksgiving cactus can be grown outdoors in warm climates but unlike other succulents, it prefers to grow in partial shade.

Are Thanksgiving cactus and Christmas cactus the same?

Difference between thanksgiving and Christmas cactus

Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus are not the same, although it is easy to confuse the two as they both boom later in the year and have a similar appearance. Thanksgiving cactus has 2-4 saw-toothed serrations (claws) along the margins and the Christmas cactus has rounded serrations (scallops).

Safety

While Thanksgiving cactus is non-toxic to cats, fertilisers and pest repellents used on or around the plant may be potentially toxic.

Toxic and non-toxic Christmas plants

Christmas plants toxic and non-toxic to cats

Cats can’t differentiate toxic plants from non-toxic plants and poisoning can occur. Kittens are particularly at risk due to their curious nature. The level of toxicity can vary from mild to life-threatening.

Do your homework before you bring plants and cut flowers into the home so that your cats stay safe.


Common name
Scientific
name

Toxicity level
Holly Ilex spp. Mild to moderate
Mistletoe Phoradendron flavescens, Phoradendron
serotinum and Viscum album
Mild to moderate
Poinsettia Euphorbia pulcherrima Mild
Ivy Hedera spp. Mild
Lily Lilium spp. Severe
Daylillies
Hemerocallis spp.
Severe
Hippeastrum Hippeastrum spp. Mild to severe
Norway spruce Picea abies Non-toxic
Blue spruce Picea pungens Non-toxic
Serbian spruce Picea omorika Non-toxic
White spruce Picea glauca Non-toxic
Nordmann fir Abies nordmanniana Non-toxic
Fraser fir Abies fraseri Non-toxic
Douglas fir Pseudotsuga menziesii Non-toxic
Noble fir Abies procera Non-toxic
Balsam fir Abies balsamea Non-toxic
Grand fir Abies grandis Non-toxic

Author

  • Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio