Is Thanksgiving Cactus Toxic to Cats?

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  • Is Thanksgiving toxic to cats? 

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

    What is Thanksgiving cactus?

    Family Cactaceae
    Botanical name Schlumbergera truncata
    Common names Thanksgiving cactus, False Christmas cactus, Crab cactus, Holiday cactus
    Plant type Succulent, cactus, perennial
    Flower colour Red, pink, white, yellow, purple
    Native to Brazil
    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).


    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

    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
    Hemerocallis spp.
    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


    • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

      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