Is Bamboo Toxic to Cats or Safe?

Bamboo is an evergreen perennial woody tree-like grass that belongs to the grass family Poaceae. Like other grasses, it has a culm or jointed stem. Additionally, the internodal stems are hollow with diameters that can range from a millimeter to as large as to 10 –12 inches.

There are many species of this evergreen grass that can grow from as short as a few centimeters to as tall as 40 meters. In fact, these grasses are some of the fastest-growing plants with some species’ shoots able to grow at a rate of 3 feet a day. [1]

Although they are flowering plants, they propagate mainly through rhizomes with both the running and clumping species.

Finally, although their highest concentration is in South and East Asia and Islands found on Indian and Pacific oceans, this plant can withstand varying climatic conditions, i.e., ranging from mild temperate to subtropical to tropical conditions.

Bamboo tree -safe for cats
Bamboo tree Is it safe for cats?

Common uses

Some of their common bamboo use include the use of their charcoal as fuel, in making kitchenware, construction, textiles, culinary (young shoots are eaten in some areas), decoration, making musical instruments, among other uses.

Also, they are used as ornamental plants with some varieties able to withstand indoor conditions. Additionally, these plants can be grown in gardens.

Some of the popular species include Phyllostachys edulis, Phyllostachys edulis, Phyllostachys nigra, Phyllostachys bissetii, Phyllostachys violascens, Pseudosasa japonica, P. variegatus, and Pleioblastus fortunei.  

Lucky bamboo

The use of bamboo as an ornamental plant has not gained popularity like the lucky bamboo or Dracaena sanderiana which is a totally different plant that belongs to the family Asparagaceae. Is lucky bamboo safe for cats

Dracaena sanderiana is a popular indoor pot plant especially in some parts of India where it is associated with prosperity and happiness hence many people have it in their houses and business premises.

Lucky bamboo is known by various popular names such as Goddess of Mercy’s plant, ribbon plant, Belgian evergreen, curly bamboo, ribbon dracaena, and Sander’s dracaena.

Is it bad for cats

According to ASPCA, this grass, also known by other common names are Golden, and Fishpole bamboo is non-toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. Therefore, do not panic if you see your kitty or canine pal eating this plant’s leaves.

However, as carnivores, cats are unable to digest plant materials well. Therefore, if they ingest a lot of any plant materials, expect some stomach upsets, vomiting or diarrhea. However, unless your cat is showing pica behavior, these pets hardly eat a lot of plants leaves or stems.

Therefore, this plant should make a good indoor and outdoor plant if you have these pets at your home, including horses.

While we have noted that bamboo is not harmful or poisonous to cats, there is one genuine concern we would wish to mention.

Young shoots of this grass have taxiphyllin, a cyanogenic glycoside which may result in cyanide poisoning once degraded by enzymes to form hydrogen cyanide.[2] However, proper cooking often degrades taxiphyllin.

Owing to this fact, we encourage you to ensure your feline pal does not eat bamboo shoots. More research needs to be done on the safety of this plant’s shoots.

What about palm bamboo?

We already looked at the safety of its safety where we noted that it is not poisonous or toxic to cats besides being a palm or belonging to the palm family Arecaceae.

Bamboo palm
Bamboo palm

Is lucky bamboo poisonous to cats?

Yes. Dracaena sanderiana is toxic to cats since it has steroidal saponins whose ingestion will cause symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, abdominal pain, incoordination, and dilated pupils. Therefore, these pets should not eat Dracaena sanderiana.

We will look more on dracaena toxicity to cats which have other names including corn plant, cornstalk plant, ribbon plant, dragon tree, and Madagascar dragon tree.


While we have noted that bamboo is safe for cats, this does not include other unrelated plants that many be bearing this name.

See also

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