Wandering Jew Plant Toxicity: Is Wandering Jew Plants Poisonous to Cats?

Do you have both a Wandering Jew plant and a pet? Have you noticed your cat’s skin is irritated?

I researched this after my cat decided he liked to taste my cuttings and also called my vet.

The answer I found is that it is non-toxic to cats but maybe mildly toxic to dogs.

Let us discuss if a Wandering Jew plant is poisonous to cats or dogs.

And what are the symptoms, causes, and treatment of wandering jew poisoning in cats or dogs?

What is a Wandering Jew plant?

Tradescantia zebrina, commonly known as a Wandering Jew plant or Speedy Henry, is usual in most gardens.

It is a species of spiderwort or more known as an inch plant.

The Wandering Jew plant is originally a herbaceous plant found in dense tropical rainforests and wetlands.

However, the plant has been introduced to households as a garden plant due to its exotic appearance.

The plant’s physical characteristics include a pointed and heart-shaped leaf with a purple outline, middle strip and underside, a bud-like formation, and a succulent stem.

It is also a trailing plant which means it spreads or hangs on vacant spaces.

The Wandering Jew plant hails from South America and is also considered regenerative and invasive to North America.

It is usually put in a pot along with the window or any space inside a house that receives indirect sunlight.

Under direct sunlight, the plant may dry out and eventually wilt.

is wandering jew poisonous to cats?

Wandering Jew And Cats_ Symptoms, Causes And Treatment Of Wandering Jew Poisoning (1)Pin

Studies and articles online have differing opinions on whether the Wandering Jew is poisonous to a cat or any other type of pet.

Let us divide those who say it is harmful and those who say it is not to have an informed decision after reading this article.

Yes, the Wandering Jew Plant is poisonous

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), a Wandering Jew plant can be toxic to cats, dogs, and even horses.

Other plant and pet blogs also note that the sap found on the stem of the Wandering Jew can cause skin or bowel irritation to a cat.

Dogs are more susceptible to being harmed by the Wandering Jew.

The Pet Health Network, the Wandering Jew plant can cause vomiting or diarrhea.

This can happen if the cat consumes any part of the plant, especially the stem.

Meanwhile, the Animal Emergency Centre in Australia says the irritation is caused by a contact allergen, a substance that causes an allergic reaction to those who touch it.

This is agreed to also by the University of New Zealand.

The Wandering Jew plant, according to their website, can “cause allergic skin reactions in dogs and other animals running through the foliage.”

No, the Wandering Jew Plant is Not poisonous

A 1987 study titled “Houseplant Poisoning in Small Animals” by the Iowa State University considered the Wandering Jew plant as an “attractive, hardy, and safe plant” for pets.

According to Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, they are unsure whether it is poisonous or not since there are no documented cases of the said poisoning.

The Minnesota Poison Control System also classifies the Wandering Jew as “non-toxic, safe, and not poisonous.”

Do note that whatever is non-toxic to humans can be toxic to animals.

As you can see, there are mixed conclusions on whether the Wandering Jew can harm your cat.

To be safe and sure, minimize or prevent contact between the plant and the cat. There is no need to risk your pet’s health to know it.

Symptoms of Wandering Jew Poisoning in cats

Cat CoughingPin

You do not need to panic if the Wandering Jew has poisoned your cat. Common symptoms include:

  • Mild to intensive skin allergy
  • Mild to intensive skin irritation

These symptoms can usually be found in exposed areas such as the abdomen, groin, anal area, scrotum, and paws. 

Treatment of Wandering Jew Poisoning in cats

If your cat shows these symptoms, all you need to do is to react as soon as possible you notice the effect on your pet and do either of the following solutions:

  • Bathe him if there is a significant show of skin irritation.
  • If your cat’s digestion is affected, it is better to consult the veterinarian for this. Let your pet drink water, lay still, and avoid further movement.
  • Topical creams like aloe vera can be applied to the allergic or irritated spot.

A rule of thumb is to react quickly, and the lesser the medication, the better. Your pet’s body can handle slight ailments and can recover naturally.

How to protect your pets to Wandering Jew poisoning?

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The best way to protect your cat from ingesting or contacting a Wandering Jew is to separate the plant from your children and pets.

Cats are naturally mobile, so a cat cannot access anywhere in the house that is not a good place to put the plant.

Since the Wandering Jew is a trailing plant, it may drape down from rods or beams if left unchecked.

Your cat may unknowingly or knowingly walk on it and get into contact or even ingest some part of the plant.

So I suggest you use this spray on your plants to keep your cat away. 

If not in direct contact, you can transfer the sap to your home and, in turn, be contacted by your cat.

The common things in which Wandering Jew sap is found are gloves and shears used for pruning, old pots (if you transplanted the plant), and old soil.


To sum it up, the plant can be mildly toxic to your plant.

This does not mean you should ignore that the Wandering Jew plant can cause harm to your cat’s digestion or skin.

However, there is no need to be alarmed or throw the plant away from your garden since it is not highly toxic.

The effect can be easily noticed but is not significant to cause a considerable ailment to your pet.

As said earlier, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Should your pet experience harmful irritation or poisoning from a Wandering Jew plant, let us know to update this article.

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