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Are Croton Plants Toxic to Cats? Vet-Approved Safety Facts

Chelsie Fraser

By Chelsie Fraser

Croton plant close up

Vet approved

Dr. Nia Perkins Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Nia Perkins

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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The plant commonly known as the croton is a popular ornamental flowering plant.1 The term “croton” is also used to refer to a genus of flowering plants that belong to the same family. While croton plants are loved for their colorful foliage and unique features, they are toxic to cats.

Croton Toxicity

All varieties of the croton plant (Codiaeum variegatum) are toxic to cats. This includes all the different varieties, like Banana, Bush on Fire, Eleanor Roosevelt, Oakleaf, Magnificent, Sunny, Gold Sun, Mammy, Petra croton, and Zanzibar.

The croton contains a chemical called 5-deoxyingenol. It is poisonous to animals and is present in the roots, flowers, stems, and leaves. The milky sap that is emitted causes forms of contact dermatitis in humans, and the berries that the plant produces can be fatal for children.

Signs of Croton Poisoning

If your cat ingests part of a croton plant, their mouth will become swollen, and they will begin to drool. Other signs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Lethargy

If you suspect that your cat has come into contact with a croton, you must see a veterinarian immediately.

sick grey cat
Image Credit: one photo, Shutterstock

Keeping Your Cat Safe

Since croton plants are toxic to pets and humans, it is best to avoid buying them altogether. There are plenty of cat-safe options for decorative, flowering plants, such as:

If you absolutely must have croton plants and a cat, it is best to grow them inside an outdoor terrarium contained by a cat-proof fence.

You can use cat repellents and deterrents to keep your cat away from your plants, but these are not recommended for use if you have small children, as they can be toxic.

Other Toxic Houseplants

Aside from crotons, many other plants can be toxic or harmful to your cat, including:

There are other common household and garden plants that are toxic to cats and not included in this list. The best way to stay safe is to speak to your vet or check the ASPCA database for safe and poisonous plants before making a purchase.

poinsettia on a vase
Image Credit: Ray_Shrewsberry, Pixabay


All croton plants are toxic to cats, regardless of the variety. The best way to keep your cat safe from croton poisoning is to avoid having these plants in and around your house. Several varieties of ornamental flowering plants are cat-safe. Before purchasing a plant, check to ensure that it isn’t toxic to your pet before bringing it home.

Featured Image Credit: mfuente, Pixabay

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