Can Cats Eat String of Hearts? (Solved & Explained!)

When you’re a pet owner, special care and consideration must be taken before choosing house plants that will share a space with your beloved pets. There are a wide variety of common house plants that can be toxic and even deadly if ingested by your pet.

One of the most popular house plants lately is the string of hearts plant. This beautiful plant is a common sight in homes because of its beautiful appearance. Cat owners might be wondering if this particular plant is safe for cats when ingested.

The string of hearts plant (aka Ceropegia woodii) is not toxic to cats and won’t cause any harm if ingested in small amounts like you might encounter if your cat chews on the leaves a little bit. However, most house plants can cause adverse effects on a cat’s digestive system and might lead to stomach upset and diarrhea. 

Can Cats Eat String of Hearts?

What is the String of Hearts Plant?

String of heart plants are a popular choice for house plant enthusiasts because it’s easy to care for and has a unique look that differs from most common house plants. It has trailing vines that are well suited for both regular pots and hanging baskets.

The leaves have an attractive marble pattern, and the thin vines are a delicate purple shade. This plant even blooms flowers that are a pale magenta color and their bead-like appearance has earned this plant the nickname of the rosary vine.

Is String of Hearts Plants Toxic to Cats?

The string of hearts plants has no toxic qualities that will harm your cat. A cat who eats a string of hearts plant will not suffer any harmful effects overall. This does not mean you should allow your cat free access to your string of hearts plant, but if they happen to get their paws on it, they should be just fine in the long run.

Why Do Cats Like to Eat String of Heart Plants?

Cats tend to eat houseplants because in small amounts it can be beneficial for their digestion and helps them handle hairballs. On top of that, cats just enjoy playing with houseplants as a form of entertainment and to relieve stress.

In their natural environment, cats would have access to a variety of plants to play with and chew on. So don’t be surprised when your indoor cat chooses your houseplants as a way to calm those instincts.

String of Hearts Plants Can Cause Digestive Issues

In general, even non-toxic houseplants can cause stomach upset, lack of appetite, vomiting, and may even lead to diarrhea in animals who ingest a large amount of the plant material.

This is true of most animals but can cause even more problems for cat owners because felines are very agile and can jump very high, often gaining access to a plant that’s placed high up out of reach.

But, if your cat does eat a large amount of plant material from a string of hearts plant and is suffering any adverse side effects afterward, you should consult with your veterinarian for advice on what to do.

Cats Could Get Tangled in the Vines

One of the most recognizable characteristics of the string of hearts plant is its long vines. These vines can grow quite long and may provide a temptation for curious cats who like to swat at things. This could cause your frisky pet to get tangled in the vines, causing potential damage to both the plant and your pet.

If you have a particularly curious cat in your home, it may be necessary to keep your string of hearts plant somewhere out of reach. Since they do very well in hanging baskets, you could try suspending the plant from the ceiling so the cat can’t reach it.

House Plants Present a Choking Hazard

If you have a cat who is very interested in eating your string of hearts plant the stem, leaves, or vines could become a choking hazard. Cats usually don’t know what’s best for them and may try to eat and swallow parts of the plant. This could be a risk for the cat if anything gets lodged in its throat and causes an obstruction.

For the most part, the plant material will be soft enough to pass through a cat’s system without getting stuck. But, if your cat is having trouble breathing for any reason, seek emergency veterinary care immediately.

How to Keep Your Cat Away from Your String of Hearts Plant

There are a few safe and effective ways to dissuade your cat from eating a houseplant.

1. Use Mustard

Mix two spoons of mustard mixed with water and spray the mixture directly on the plant. If you don’t want to risk spraying it, you can soak a cotton ball with the spray and simply place it near the plant.

2. Use Pepper

Freshly ground black pepper has a potent smell that should keep your cat far away from your plant. Sprinkle pepper around and on the plant for best results.

3. Use Lemon

Lemon and citrus-based is a safe repellant for cats if you mix your own at home. Avoid essential oils of any kind because they can lead to serious health problems for cats. Boiling a lemon or citrus fruit and allowing it to infuse for about ten minutes results in a safe and effective repellant that can be sprayed directly on plants.

4. Use Herbs

Pairing your houseplants with a variety of fragrant herbs might deter your cat from getting too close. Rosemary, mint, and basil are popular choices. And you get the benefit of having fresh herbs available to use in your recipes!

Get Some Cat Grass!

Giving your cats access to a freshly grown pot of cat grass is a great way to keep them from eating your houseplants. Cat grass is designed to be eaten and chewed on by your feline friend. It’s easy to grow, cheap and accessible, and will keep your cats occupied so they’re less likely to chew on your string of hearts plant.

Conclusion

Having a pet of any kind in the same home with houseplants can be challenging. As a responsible pet owner, you don’t want your cat to ingest anything that could be harmful to them. At the same time, you may enjoy the hobby of taking care of houseplants. So, it’s important to find a happy balance.

The good news is that your cat can eat a string of hearts plant without any serious side effects, so this particular plant may be a great choice for people who want the best of both worlds.