Is Majesty Palm Safe for Cats?
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The majesty palm (also known as Ravenea rivularis) is one of several palm species that are popular as houseplants thanks to their ease of care and dramatic effect in any room. If you’ve got one of these lovely plants in your home and are a cat parent as well, you’ve probably wondered- is majesty palm safe for cats?
The majesty palm tree is free from any harmful or irritating substances, so your cat is in no danger from eating, rubbing on and doing anything else cats do around it. The majesty palm is also listed as being non-toxic to dogs and humans.
So even if your cat chews your tree down to a bare nub, the only thing to suffer should be the appearance of your plant.
In this article, you’ll learn more about why majesty palm is a great choice for homes with curious felines or other pets. We’ll also cover how to keep your palm in good shape even if it’s a target for aggressive nibbling or rubbing. Finally, you’ll get a better idea of other cat-friendly plants if you want to grow your houseplant collection.
Is Majesty Palm Toxic to Cats?
According to the ASPCA, majesty palm is listed as being completely non-toxic to cats. That means that no part of the plant- leaves, stems, trunk and roots- contain any substances that could harm your cat.
So there’s no need for concern about your cat’s health if they just can’t seem to get enough of your palm.
Are Majesty Palms Toxic to Dogs?
Even though dogs tend to find majesty palms far less attractive than cats do, you still don’t need to worry if your dog takes a nibble on occasion.
Just like with cats, all parts of the majesty palm are safe for consumption. Again from the ASPCA, the majesty palm is listed as non-toxic for puppies and dogs.
How to Keep Your Majesty Palm Healthy
According to North Carolina State Extension, majesty palm is a tropical plant from Madagascar. As an indoor plant, here are some basics on the care of this beauty:
- Majesty palm needs a large enough pot to accommodate the root ball and maintain balance (it can grow up to 10 feet tall indoors!). It likes loose, fertile soil, like this cactus soil mix from Espoma. Cacti, succulents and palms all have similar needs for loose, well-draining soil.
- Bright light to medium indirect light is best. A few feet back from a south or east-facing window should work well. If you don’t have a sunny window to work with, a grow light is a great way to supplement.
- Allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering so the top of the soil surface feels dry to the touch. The exact watering schedule will vary from one home to another, but plan to water your majesty palm about once a week.
- Use a balanced fertilizer every two to three months during the active growing season. This organic formula from Jobe’s is especially formulated for palm trees, and it’s listed as being safe for kids and pets. Still, it’s a good idea to keep your cat away from a freshly fertilized plant if possible.
- Maintain room temperature between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re comfortable, your majesty palm probably is too!
- Routine pruning isn’t necessary for shape or health, but feel free to cut off yellow or dried-out fronds.
- Your majesty palm actively grows during spring through fall, typically April through September, and is dormant from about October through March. During winter dormancy, reduce your watering frequency by about half and hold off on fertilizing until the spring growing season begins.
- Repotting should be done biannually in spring or early summer. Use a pot that’s about 2 inches larger in diameter than the old one, and make sure the pot has good drainage holes.
- To mimic its natural habitat in a damp climate, consider occasionally misting your majesty palm or using a plant humidifier.
RELATED: Stop by our post on our favorite plant humidifiers to get one that’s right for your majesty palm!
Tips for Keeping Cats Out of Houseplants
Even though eating, playing with or rubbing on majesty palm won’t hurt your cat, it can definitely hurt the health and look of your plant. Try these tricks for discouraging your feline from spending so much time around your majesty palm:
Lay Citrus Fruit Peels in the Soil
Cats dislike the scent of any citrus fruit, including oranges, grapefruit, lemons or limes. Put some fresh peelings from these fruits on the surface of your palm’s soil to help your cat stay away.
But don’t use any citrus essential oils; these are extremely concentrated and may be toxic to animals.
Grow Cat Grass
One reason your cat may be drawn to your majesty palm is the primal urge to eat greens, which outdoor cats usually satisfy by eating grass.
Instead, growing some yummy cat greens indoors may be enough to meet that need without further damage to your majesty palm. This all-in-one kit from The Cat Ladies gives you everything you need to get started, and refill packs are also available.
This is another strong scent that cats don’t like. Sprinkle a light layer of cayenne pepper on the soil surface, and your cat should shy away pretty quickly.
Which Palms Are Safe for Cats?
Besides majesty palm, many other palm varieties are also cat-safe. So if you want to create your own little indoor palm grove, here are some good options that won’t hurt your feline friend:
Parlor palm is essentially a miniature version of the majesty palm. It has similar care needs as the majesty and produces even more fronds (leafy branches).
Bamboo palm is also similar to majesty palm, except it has multiple thin trunks that resemble a bamboo plant. It’s also slightly smaller than the majesty and produces abundant fronds.
Ponytail palm looks just like that- a ponytail! It’s a small plant that can easily sit on a tabletop, and it has low watering and care needs.
Cat palm is similar to majesty palm but stays more compact overall and has shorter fronds.
Other Pet-Friendly Houseplants
In addition to several palm varieties, there are plenty of other cat-safe plants that bring a splash of color and life to your home.
Here are just a few options for you to consider:
- Peperomia (also known as the baby rubber plant) is a family of small, hearty plants with fleshy leaves that come in several different colors. It’s tolerant of full or partial sun, doesn’t mind drought and grows at a slow, easily manageable pace.
- Maranta (also known as prayer plant) is a beautiful little plant that folds or rolls its leaves as if in prayer every night. This one also comes in several different colors, likes medium indirect light and tolerates infrequent watering.
- Polka dot plant is a cute and colorful low-growing plant that comes in reds, pinks, and whites with dark green splashes. It tolerates bright, direct sun as well as low light and likes moist soil.
- Spider plant is well known for its brightly contrasting green and yellow leaves and the offshoots of baby plants it grows. This plant is highly adaptable to direct and indirect sunlight, can be grown indoors or outdoors, and really thrives when ignored for a week or two at a time.
- Purple waffle plant is an easy-care, fun little houseplant that has a lovely color, prefers indirect sunlight and moist soil.
RELATED: We’ve covered the delightful purple waffle plant in detail in our comprehensive care guide. Stop by to learn more!
- Echeveria is a petite, low-growing succulent that is easy to grow and produces little baby plants next to the rosette “mother”. Like other succulents, it prefers direct sunlight, dried-out soil between waterings, and is a slow grower. It will even form small yellow or orange blooms on occasion!
Which Houseplants are Toxic to Cats?
Unfortunately, there are also many houseplants that could make your cat sick if ingested, and some are even fatal.
Here are some common houseplants cat owners should keep well out of reach or avoid altogether:
- Pothos (all varieties)
- Philodendron (all varieties)
- Snake plant
- Jade plant
- Fiddle leaf fig
- Nephthytis (arrowhead plant)
- Peace lily
This list is by no means exhaustive. If you’d like to review a full list of plants that can be harmful to cats, you can find it on the ASPCA website.
The majesty palm is an excellent houseplant that’s easy to care for and brings a touch of tropical color to your home. And if your cat has an appetite for all things green or is just curious, majesty palm won’t hurt them a bit.
But of course, if you want to keep your cat from totally taking over your majesty palm, no one will blame you! So try out some tricks to help your cat and plant coexist peacefully.
We want to know what you think! Do you have any other questions about cats and majesty (or any) palm houseplants? Have you had luck with any other strategies for discouraging your pet from abusing your plants?
Share your thoughts in the comments!