Is It Safe To Have A Christmas Cactus Around Pets?

During the holidays, you may be tempted to purchase some unique greenery for your home. However, if you have pets it's important to know which plants are safe, as some are toxic to animals. For instance, Vets Now says that many popular Christmas varieties such as poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, amaryllis, lilies, Christmas roses, ivy, and daffodils should not be kept in your home if you have cats or dogs. Also, keep in mind that if sharp pine needles from Christmas trees are ingested by your furry friends, they may also cause harm, per PetMD.

Perhaps you're wondering if a Christmas cactus, a popular choice around the holidays, is safe to have around pets. These cacti are given their unique name because they bloom with beautiful pink flowers in the winter. Further, if properly watered and taken care of, these plants can last for years and years. But is this species is harmful to cats and dogs?

The verdict on safety

Because so many holiday plants can be harmful to animals, you may assume that Christmas cacti are as well. However, according to PetMD, they aren't actually toxic to pets. Therefore, if your cat or dog ingests a small amount, they should be perfectly fine. Additionally, because holiday varieties of cacti don't have any spikes, your pets won't suffer any harm by venturing too close.

Just because Christmas cacti aren't toxic doesn't mean they won't cause some kind of illness, though. For instance, if your furry friend eats a large amount of the plant, it could irritate their stomach and cause serious side effects such as vomiting or diarrhea. Therefore, if you notice that your cat or dog has taken a large bite out of your Christmas cacti, you may want to monitor them closely, per Daily Paws. Further, you may get some peace of mind by bringing them to the vet, as it's always better to be safe than sorry.

The best places to keep Christmas cacti

Since Christmas cacti aren't actually toxic to pets, they're one of the safest holiday plants to decorate with. However, to protect your animals from any harm, you may want to keep them in hard-to-reach areas. For example, if you only have a dog, high places like on top of the refrigerator or on a tall shelf could work. 

On the other hand, those with curious cats may need to be a bit more creative. One way is to hang your Christmas cactus in a place with bright, indirect sunlight. However, when doing this, make sure your kitty can't reach it by hopping on a nearby ledge or shelf. Another trick you can try is distracting your feline with cat grass, though this may not be a great long-term solution. Additionally, because Christmas cacti love humid weather, you can place them in a sunny bathroom, keeping the door closed to help protect your pets.