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Are Tomato Plants Toxic to Cats? Keeping Your Cat Safe

Melissa Gunter

By Melissa Gunter

tomato plant

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Dr. Tabitha Henson  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Tabitha Henson

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

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Bringing a cat into your home is an exciting time in a pet owner’s life. You have this lovable, yet curious creature that you are responsible for. Buying the right kitten and cat foods, the best kitty litter, and the most interactive toys on the market are only part of the duties you’ve taken on. As a conscientious cat owner, you must learn what common things around your home and backyard are toxic to your cat so you can keep him or her healthy and happy for years to come.

Perhaps you enjoyed growing a small garden out back, a few plants on the back patio, or perhaps you have an entire farm. Maybe you love to pick up tomato plants from your local farmer’s market. Either way, you may be wondering if tomato plants are toxic to cats. Unfortunately, for tomato lovers, that answer is yes the plants are toxic, but ripe tomatoes aren’t. To understand all this better, let’s learn more about cats and their relationship to tomato plants so you can keep your kitty safe.

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Are Tomato Plants Poisonous to Cats?

The answer to this question is yes. The tomato plant, which is part of the nightshade family, is poisonous to your kitty. The green parts of the plant and any unripened tomatoes on the vine are dangerous for both cats and dogs. Tomato plants contain the dangerous chemicals, solanine and tomatine. When ingested by felines, these chemicals can cause upset stomach, lethargy, and a slow heart rate in cats.

tomato plants in pots
Photo Credit: AlchemillaMollis, Pixabay

Are Tomatoes Dangerous for Cats?

You may be curious why certain cat foods list tomatoes as an ingredient but tomato plants are toxic to them. As we mentioned, it is the tomato plant and unripened tomatoes that are dangerous for the cats in your home. A ripe tomato will not harm your kitty, but adding it to their diet isn’t necessary. Yes, tomatoes provide fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, but you’ll find there are better ways to provide your kitty with these important nutrients. Keep in mind, however, like with any food besides their normal cat food, you could notice a bit of stomach upset when something new, like ripened tomatoes, is introduced.

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Do Cats Like Tomatoes and Tomato Plants?

Every cat is different so it’s hard to say whether a feline is going to get a craving for bright, red tomatoes or not. When it comes to plants around your kitty, however, it is best to be safe than sorry. Cats are naturally curious creatures. Whether it’s a tomato plant or a dangerous houseplant, having something dangerous around for your cat to nibble on is a bad idea. Most likely, at some point, your cat will take a bite, it’s in their nature.

Photo Credit: dimitrisvetsikas1969, Pixabay

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How Do I Keep My Cat Away From Tomato Plants?

It is your job as a good pet parent to keep your kitty safe from the dangers of the world around it. Unfortunately, this may mean sacrificing things you enjoy or confining your cat when all they want to do is explore. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can keep your kitty safe from interaction with tomato plants.

1. Keep Your Cat Inside

This may not sound like the best possible resolution to a curious cat, but it works. If you have a small garden or farm outside that has easy access to tomato plants, it may be best to make your kitty a house cat. You can still take your cat out to explore, but only when you are with them, and can keep them away from tomato plants or any other harmful things that may be lurking outdoors.

a tabby cat with collar lying on carpeted floor
Image Credit: jkalea, Pixabay

2. Barriers and Fencing

You may not realize it but there are quite a few tricks to keeping a cat away from dangerous areas. Motion-operated sprinkler systems are great at detouring a nosy cat. Ultrasonic motion detectors emit sounds your kitty doesn’t like and will make them retreat when they get too close.

Another thing you could try is tomato cages or fencing. By putting your tomatoes behind a secure fence or cage your cat cannot enter, you can continue growing your vegetables without worrying about your cat’s health.

3. Removing the Plants

If you’ve tried everything to keep your kitty away from your plants and they simply won’t stop trying, it is best to remove the plants. This is the only way you can be completely sure your cat is not ingesting any of the harmful parts of the plant. You may miss your hobby, but your cat will thank you for the love and care you are providing them.

tomato plants in soil and in a pot
Image Credit: neelam279, Pixabay

hepper single cat paw dividerWhat Do I Do If My Cat Eats a Tomato Plant?

When it comes to ingesting tomato plants, a lot of things come into play. If your cat hasn’t eaten much of the plant, they should be fine, but your vet should be contacted to be on the safe side. If you’re unsure how much your cat has ingested or if it is showing signs of poisoning, take them into the vet immediately. According to the symptoms they are exhibiting your vet may induce vomiting or use activated charcoal to help aid your cat through the process.

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In Conclusion

As you can see, tomato plants and cats are not a great mix. With the curiosity your cat is sure to exhibit, keeping your tomato plants away from them is the best thing you can do. With proper fencing and keeping a close eye on your cat, you should be able to continue your pastime without worries. Just remember to always be aware of your cat’s surroundings and anything that could potentially cause them harm. If they eat something you think is causing a problem, your vet is waiting to lend a helping hand.

Featured Image Credit: Ralphs_Fotos, Pixabay

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