Is yucca plant including its cane, leaves, flowers, and roots poisonous to cats or not? If you have this edible ornamental plant, discover if it is safe to kitties or not.
Yucca spp. is an ornamental plant grown in many gardens with some species having edible flowers (especially the petals without their bitter reproductive parts), seeds, stems, fruits, and rarely their roots. It also has medicinal value.
Although cassava is also referred as to yuca (with a small spelling variation), and the two have some similarities, these two are not one and the same thing. Yucca is a perennial shrub belongs to the family Asparagaceae, while cassava belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae.
On how it looks like, yucca has sword-like leaves that are bluish-green in color, white flowers, and a cane-like stem. Since they are pest and disease resistance, most people find them a good option for houseplants or for their gardens.
Are yucca cane and plant poisonous to cats?
Yes. As ASPCA notes, yucca is poisonous to cats, dogs, and even horses if taken in large amounts. Some of the signs of toxicity include weakness, drooling, vomiting, incoordination, dilated pupils, tachycardia, dyspnea, among others. However, the plant is not poisonous to human beings.
Why is it dangerous or toxic to kitties? It is toxic because it has steroidal saponins, a glycosidic compound that protects it from fungi and insects . Large amounts cause intestinal upset and toxicity symptoms, a reason why it is listed as poisonous.
Other plants poisonous to cats with steroidal saponins and glycosides include “corn plant, dragon tree, money tree, and lucky bamboo,” notes DMV360.
Also, azalea, tulips bulbs, baby’s breath, begonias, ale, chrysanthemums, daffodils, larkspurs, bird of paradise, among others are toxic to felines.
However, if you look at the benefits of steroidal saponins in felines, more research needs to be done to affirm if these glycosidic compounds are poisonous indeed to dogs, felines or horses.
Yucca for cats
While the plant is poisonous, something that seems quite contrary to anyone’s expectation is that its purified extract is safe, all-natural and has medicinal value. Popular brands in the market include:
a). Yucca Intensive
Since it has steroidal saponins, it is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent which will help in joints, digestion, and skin and can be given to cats, dogs, and horses. It can also help in relieving itch due to allergies as it works in a similar way as steroid medications.
Since the herb is bitter tasting, always dilute it with apple juice or warm water to avoid mouth forming.
Use 1 drop for kitties weighing 10 pounds twice a day. Dilute it in a teaspoon of warm water, apple juice or mix it in wet feline foods.
b). NHV Yucca – Natural Cat and Dog Pain, Arthritis, Anti-inflammatory, and Appetite Aid
It helps boost appetite, supports immunity, minimizes pain including in arthritic felines. It has sarsasapogenin and smilagenin.
Also, it is very nutritive since it has “vitamin C, beta-carotene, B vitamins, magnesium, iron, calcium, manganese, protein, niacin, and phosphorus” notes Amazon.com and it has no preservatives or additives.
Besides the above brands, there are some cat foods that have yucca such as Natural Pate Flavors.
Since yucca plant, spines, leaves, cane( elephantipes), flower, and roots are poisonous, ensure your cats or even dogs do not access it as they may chew it.
Also, go for cat-safe ornamental plants such as baby rubber plant, Boston fern, roses, sunflowers, zinnias, asters, alstroemeria, snapdragons, carnations, gerberas among others.