What to Do if Cat Eats Wandering Jew?

by Jayley
What to Do if Cat Eats Wandering Jew

Cats are curious creatures, often exploring their surroundings with a sense of adventure. Unfortunately, this curiosity can lead them to interact with plants that may not be safe for them, such as the wandering jew plant. 

In this article, we will delve into the potential dangers associated with cats ingesting wandering jew plants, the symptoms to look out for, and the steps you should take to ensure your feline friend’s well-being.

is wandering jew toxic to cat

Understanding the Wandering Jew Plant

Understanding the Wandering Jew Plant
Understanding the Wandering Jew Plant

The wandering jew plant, scientifically known as Tradescantia zebrina, is a popular and visually appealing houseplant. Characterized by its vibrant green and purple leaves, it adds a touch of nature to indoor spaces. However, despite its aesthetic appeal, this plant can pose a threat to your cat if ingested.

Cats are known for their nibbling habits, and certain plants may attract their attention, including the wandering jew. It’s crucial for cat owners to be aware of the potential risks associated with their feline companions interacting with this particular plant.

Why Wandering Jew Plants Can Be Toxic to Cats?

Why Wandering Jew Plants Can Be Toxic to Cats?

The wandering jew plant contains compounds that can be harmful to cats. Oxalates, found in many houseplants, including the wandering jew, can cause irritation and other adverse reactions when ingested. The leaves of the wandering jew plant, in particular, contain these substances, making them potentially toxic to cats.

Identifying the symptoms of wandering jew plant toxicity in cats is essential for prompt intervention. Symptoms may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty breathing

If you suspect that your cat has ingested any part of the wandering jew plant, it is crucial to act quickly to minimize potential harm.

What You Should Know

Wandering jew plant toxicity can vary from mild to severe, depending on factors such as the amount ingested and the size of the cat. While some cats may only experience mild gastrointestinal upset, others may develop more serious complications.

It’s important to note that attempting home remedies without professional guidance may not be the best course of action. Trying to induce vomiting or administering substances without proper knowledge can potentially worsen the situation. Always consult with a veterinarian before attempting any home treatments.

The stems of the wandering jew plant, like the leaves, contain oxalates and can be harmful if ingested. In addition to removing the plant from your cat’s reach, ensure that all parts of the plant, including stems, are inaccessible to your pet.

Also, be aware that some cats may be more curious than others, and even a short exposure to the wandering jew plant can lead to ingestion. Within a short period, a cat can chew on the leaves or stems, potentially leading to toxicity. It’s crucial to be vigilant and take preventive measures to avoid such situations.

What to Do if Your Cat Ingests Wandering Jew

What to Do if Your Cat Ingests Wandering Jew

If you catch your cat in the act of nibbling on a wandering jew plant or notice symptoms of ingestion, it’s important to seek help from a veterinary expert promptly. Veterinarians are trained to assess the situation and provide guidance based on the specific circumstances.

One of the first steps you should take is to remove your cat from the vicinity of the wandering jew plant. Limit further exposure by placing the plant out of your cat’s reach. This immediate action can prevent additional ingestion and reduce the severity of potential symptoms.

Let your veterinarian know as much detail as possible about the incident. Provide information on how much of the plant your cat may have ingested and any observed symptoms. This information will help the vet assess the severity of the situation and determine the appropriate course of action.

Go to the veterinarian’s office or an emergency animal clinic promptly. Providing timely medical attention is crucial in cases of plant ingestion. The veterinarian may induce vomiting to eliminate any remaining plant material in the stomach and administer activated charcoal to help absorb toxins.

Once at home, follow the care instructions provided by the veterinarian. This may include monitoring your cat for any changes in behavior or symptoms and administering prescribed medications if necessary. Home care is essential to ensure your cat’s continued recovery.

Recognizing Symptoms of Wandering Jew Plant Ingestion

While this article focuses on cats, it’s worth noting that dogs can also be affected by wandering jew plant toxicity [4]. 

  • If you have both cats and dogs at home, it’s in your best interest to keep such plants out of reach for all your pets. The toxic components affect both cats and dogs, and the best course of action is prevention.
  • Keep a watchful eye on your cat after any potential exposure to the wandering jew plant. If you notice any changes in behavior, eating habits, or litter box patterns, it’s essential to seek veterinary advice right away. Acting promptly can make a significant difference in your cat’s recovery.
  • Use caution when introducing new plants into your home, especially if you have cats. Look for information on the toxicity of plants before bringing them into your living space. Many reputable sources, including veterinary websites and pet poison hotlines, provide lists of plants that are toxic to cats.

It’s quite common for symptoms of wandering jew plant ingestion to manifest within a few hours. Keep an eye out for signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and any difficulty breathing. If you observe any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Read also: Is Fittonia Toxic To Cats?

How Wandering Jew Plants Propagate and the Importance of Prevention

Wandering jew plants are known for their ability to propagate easily. This means that even a small part of the plant, such as a leaf or stem, can potentially grow into a new plant. Understanding this reproductive capability is crucial for pet owners, as it emphasizes the importance of preventing access to any part of the plant.

The two main methods by which wandering jew plants propagate are through stem cuttings and seeds. Ensure that both these potential sources of new plants are out of reach for your cat. Cats are known for their agility and ability to reach high places, so it’s essential to place the plant in an area completely inaccessible to your feline friend.

Cats may come into contact with wandering jew plants while exploring their environment. Take proactive measures to prevent your cat from accessing the plant. This includes placing it in areas where your cat doesn’t typically play or rest. If you notice your cat showing interest in the plant, redirect their attention with toys or other forms of enrichment.

Cats are naturally attracted to different textures and smells. The wandering jew plant’s unique coloration and pattern may make it a tempting spot for exploration. Identify alternative, cat-friendly plants, and spots in your home to satisfy your cat’s curiosity without putting their health at risk.

Additional Considerations for Cat Owners

Add a note to your list of cat-proofing tasks when bringing new plants into your home. Before introducing any plant, check whether it is safe for your cat. Many pet poison hotlines offer comprehensive lists of plants that are toxic to cats, serving as a valuable resource for responsible pet ownership.

Make sure to communicate with everyone in your household about the potential dangers associated with certain plants. Expectations and awareness of the risks can help ensure that everyone plays a role in keeping the environment safe for your pets.

Limit your cat’s access to indoor plants that may pose a risk

Still, another important consideration is outdoor exposure. If your cat has access to outdoor areas, be aware of the plants in your yard, as some outdoor plants can also be toxic to cats.

It is important to be vigilant and proactive in creating a safe environment for your cat. Often, a momentary lapse in supervision can lead to potential dangers. Regularly assess your home for any changes that may introduce new risks to your cat’s well-being.

While not all cats will be attracted to plants, some are more curious and potentially more at risk. If you have a particularly curious cat, consider placing plants out of reach or opting for cat-friendly alternatives. The top priority is ensuring the safety and well-being of your feline companion.

Consider the exposure of your cat to potential hazards

Cats may enjoy jumping onto surfaces where plants are placed, and this behavior can put them at risk. Be mindful of their natural behaviors and tendencies when arranging your living space.


While the wandering jew plant adds beauty to indoor spaces, its potential toxicity to cats requires careful consideration by pet owners. Recognizing the signs of ingestion, understanding the symptoms, and taking prompt action are essential steps in ensuring the well-being of your feline friend. 

By being proactive, informed, and seeking expert help when needed, you can create a safe environment for your cat to thrive without the risk of wandering jew plant toxicity. Remember, responsible pet ownership involves not only providing love and care but also creating a home that is free from potential hazards.

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