Is Thanksgiving Cactus Toxic to Cats?

Last Updated on October 20, 2021 by Julia Wilson

Is Thanksgiving toxic to cats? 

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

What is Thanksgiving cactus?

  • Origin: Brazil
  • Botanical name: Schlumbergera truncate
  • Common names: Thanksgiving cactus, False Christmas cactus, Crab cactus, Holiday cactus
  • 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.

Schlumbergera 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. 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?

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

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, Canaan fir Abies balsamea Non-toxic
Grand fir Abies grandis Non-toxic