Yucca is an ornamental plant that has also been used in folk medicine from time immemorial. Yucca also has several edible parts and commonly features in different cuisines around the world.
With this cocktail of health and dietary benefits, it’s easy to see why yucca features in most kitchen shelves and medicine cabinets all over the world. Some people even prefer to grow the plant in their backyard or garden.
If you keep a cat, you’ll occasionally have to contend with the thought of your furry, little friend nibbling on yucca leaves or chewing yucca canes. And like any concerned pet parent, you might be worried about the safety of yucca for your feline friend, so much to ask yourself, is yucca safe for cats?
No, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), yucca is listed among plants that are considered toxic to cats and dogs. So, is a yucca plant poisonous to cats?
Yes, and as you shall find, the toxicity of yucca depends on the amount of the plant that your cat has eaten.
Is A Yucca Plant Bad For Cats And What Makes It Toxic?
What makes yucca toxic to cats is the presence of saponins. Saponins refer to glycosidic compounds that protect the plants from insects and fungi.
If your cat ingests saponins in large quantities, it could lead to stomach upset and a wide spectrum of toxicity symptoms.
The following is a list of other plants that contain steroidal saponins, hence also toxic to cats;
- Lucky bamboo;
- Tulips bulbs;
- Money tree;
- Dragon tree;
- Azalea; and
- Corn plant.
Are Yucca Plants Poisonous To Cats? A Quick Review of What Yucca Is
If you grow the yucca plant or occasionally use yucca products for culinary or medicinal purposes, you’ll always have questions pertaining to the plant’s safety for your cat.
Indeed, it’s not uncommon to find yourself wondering, is yucca healthy for cats, or is yucca toxic for cats?
We’ve already pointed out that the plant is generally toxic to cats, especially if your furball ingests more quantities than it can handle.
But before we delve deeper into the topic of yucca and cats, let’s begin by exploring what this plant is all about.
Yucca, also known as Yucca schidigera or Yucca spp., is an ornamental plant that produces certain edible species.
The edible parts of the plant include the fruits, seeds, stems, and flowers (without the bitter reproductive parts). In rare cases, the roots can also be eaten.
Yucca belongs to the family of plants known as Asparagaceae. The plant sports sword-like, bluish-green leaves, white flowers, as well as a cane-like stem. Yucca plants thrive indoors as effectively as they do outdoors, thanks to their disease-resistant attributes.
So, is yucca poisonous to cats?
Yes, when it comes to yucca toxicity for cats, all the parts of the plant carry some level of toxicity.
Is yucca cane dangerous for cats?
Yucca is also often referred to as yucca cane. The term can also mean the stem of the yucca plant.
Whatever it means, yucca cane is dangerous for cats regardless of the part of the plant that your cat consumes. So, from the leaves to the stems, flowers, seeds, and even yucca roots for cats, no part of the yucca plant is safe for your kitto.
If your feline friend eats more yucca cane than it should, yucca toxicity could occur.
Some of the symptoms of yucca toxicity include;
- Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as an upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, gassiness, and abdominal pains;
- Neurological symptoms, such as body tremors, seizures, incoordination, and weakness;
- Drooling and dilated pupils;
- Elevated heart rate; and
- Shortness of breath.
But yucca toxicity isn’t the only thing that you should be worried about. Remember that cats are obligate carnivores. That means your feline friend can survive on a diet of animal protein. As such, its digestive system considers yucca as a foreign substance.
And introducing a foreign substance to your kitto’s system could lead to various severe complications, ranging from irritation to the digestive tract, allergic reactions, and choking.
Lastly, being a plant matter means there are very few nutritional elements that your cat can obtain from yucca.
Not only do cats derive all their dietary elements from a diet of animal protein. But their bodies are also designed to synthesize the minerals they cannot get from their regular diets, such as Vitamin C. So, you cannot purport to supplement your cat’s dietary needs by feeding it plant matter like yucca.
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Are There Any Yucca Benefits for Cats? Is Yucca Good For Cats?
Well, having already dwelt so much on the possible toxicity of yucca for cats, you could be wondering, is yucca schidigera safe for cats?
According to experts, yucca remains a harmful plant for cats and you should generally stay away from it. However, if you’re adamant about giving your feline friend some yucca, ensure you go slow on the portions.
If offered in moderation, the following are some of the possible health and nutritional benefits of yucca schidigera for cats.
Yucca is rich in Vitamin C, beta-carotene, fiber, B vitamins and a host of other minerals.
The soluble and insoluble fibers that are present in yucca can help to relieve indigestion in your cat. Plus, the fiber promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria, thereby boosting the overall immunity of your cat’s digestive tract.
Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants are instrumental in helping your cat to keep certain diseases at bay.
By occasionally allowing your cat to snack on yucca, you could significantly lower its chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, and many more chronic illnesses.
You might even consider yucca for cat allergies, especially skin allergies. That’s because the vitamin C that’s present in the plant has anti-inflammatory properties.
Also, while the saponins in yucca are toxic if your cat consumes them in large quantities, they are perfectly beneficial in small amounts. The compounds have been shown to prevent certain cancers and fight giardia.
One of the common yucca supplement for cats that vets recommend is this NHV Yucca for Cats product.
- Aids with chronic pain, stimulates appetite, encourages healthy digestion, soothes arthritis pain and more!
- Assists in the absorption of minerals, supports immune function, and decreases inflammation.
- Highly nutritive, rich in Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, B Vitamins, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, Manganese, Protein, Niacin, and...
Last update on 2020-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The yucca extract for cats contains antitumor, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-boosting properties.
The supplement can help with chronic conditions like cancer and arthritis, encourages healthy digestion, while also boosting your cat’s appetite. The extract contains no artificial additives and is approved by vets for use on cats.
So, Is Yucca Safe For Cats?
No, yucca comes with severe health risks for your kitto, especially if consumed in large quantities. The convention is to keep this plant as far away from your cat as possible.
If you must give your cat some yucca, ensure you only do so occasionally. And the portions should not exceed 50 mg per day.
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