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Can Cats Eat Bamboo? Is It Toxic to Cats?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

bamboo plants

If you’re new to owning a kitty, figuring out things that are potentially dangerous for them takes a lot of time. Learning about safe foods, treats, and even toys take up a lot of your time. While we feel for you on that front, those aren’t the only things around your home that can be toxic for your kitty. Certain plants can be quite toxic for cats. With many of us loving the look of plants scattered around our home, when a cat comes into the equation, you must learn which ones are safe for them to be around. Why? Let’s be honest, your cat is going to chew on themTrue bamboo is not toxic to cats, but some similar plants are. Keep reading to learn more!

Is Bamboo Toxic to Cats?

Bamboo is one of those plants that looks great around the house. It sets off certain room designs and makes the whole home feel more inviting. The big question for cat owners is, can cats eat bamboo? Is it toxic for them? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is a bit confusing. While true bamboo is not toxic to cats, some species are.

Let’s take a deeper look at bamboo and whether it’s safe to have around your kitty. We’ll discuss the different types of bamboo and what could happen if your kitty accidentally eats the wrong kind.

bamboo in the backyard
Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay

What Is Bamboo?

True bamboo, or safe bamboo, is the Bambusoideae species. This is an evergreen plant that is best known for being hollow and growing very quickly. Certain Bamboo species can grow to nearly 3 feet in less than 24 hours. This makes it quite easy to grow. Bamboo is used for building due to its sturdiness and as food. One species, giant bamboo, is even known as the largest grass family member.

People love adding bamboo to their homes and backyard gardens. With it being so easy to grow it makes an ideal border both inside the home and out. Luckily, it is also easy to grow. You won’t need to worry about killing it easily, especially if you don’t have a green thumb.

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Cats and True Bamboo

When it comes to true bamboo, it’s completely safe for your cat. It can actually be beneficial for them. Cats are born obligate carnivores. This means they get their nutrition from meat and protein. True bamboo is 22% protein. This makes it a nutritional treat for your kitty. While animal protein is better for your cat, having bamboo occasionally shouldn’t be a problem. Just avoid making it a normal part of their diet.

cat walking in front of a bamboo leaves
Image Credit: AjayTvm, Shutterstock

The Confusion with Lucky Bamboo

While true bamboo isn’t an issue for cats, there are bamboo plants out there that are dangerous. One that is easily found is lucky bamboo. Also known as money tree or heavenly bamboo, this plant isn’t truly bamboo. Having this plant around your cat can be very dangerous as it is toxic to them.

What Happens If a Cat Eats Lucky Bamboo?

In most scenarios, lucky bamboo can make your kitty very sick. How sick they become is determined by how much of the plant they’ve ingested. When contacting your veterinarian, try to give them an idea of how much your cat has eaten. This will help them determine the best course of treatment. Here’s what to look for if your cat eats lucky bamboo.

lucky bamboo
Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

Common Cat Symptoms After Eating Lucky Bamboo:
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Coma
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Coordination Problems
  • Drooling
  • No Appetite
  • Difficulty Breathing

In Conclusion

While true bamboo is not toxic to your kitty, other plants that share the same name can be. Before bringing any plant into your house, make sure it is safe for your cat to ingest. You may try all the tricks in your arsenal, but stopping your cat from taking a nibble of the plants around your house is unlikely. When it comes to real bamboo, feel free to use it at will. If your cat decides to give it a taste, they’ll be just fine.


Featured Image Credit: raedon, Pixabay

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