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Is Giant Holly Fern or Sword Fern Toxic For Cats?

Is Giant Holly Fern or Sword Fern Toxic For Cats
Written by Clair Chesterman

Giant Holly Fern or sword fern is non-toxic to cats. The giant holly fern is a “true fern,” and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) states that “true ferns” typically pose little threat to cats.

Can Cats Eat Giant Holly Fern or Sword Fern?

Your curious cat won’t likely suffer any harm if she helps herself to a small portion.

If your cat has lately consumed a giant holly fern, you can generally relax. Consuming this fern won’t likely harm your cat, and typically no veterinary care is needed unless she helps herself to a very indulgent serving.

Although this plant isn’t thought to be poisonous to cats, cats can have unpleasant reactions if they consume large amounts of any plant.

What is Giant Holly Fern or Sword Fern?

Giant Holly fern (Polystichum munitum), is known for its other names like Sword fern, Western sword, and imbricate sword fern. It is an evergreen fern that originated in Western North America where is it also the most common. This fern has become a native plant in parts of Great Britain and Ireland.

This fern has dark green fronds that reach heights of 50 to 180 centimeters and form a compact cluster that radiates out from a circular base. The pinnae alternate on the stalk, and they are single-pinnate. Each pinna is 1 to 15 centimeters long and has a bristly tip at the edge, a short upward-pointing lobe at the base that resembles a sword hilt, and a serrated edge.

It thrives in acidic, well-drained soil that contains tiny stones and abundant humus. It is quite hardy and can endure brief periods of drought, but it thrives primarily under conditions of continuous rainfall and low levels of sunlight. It also enjoys cool temperatures.

Keeping Cats Away From  Giant Holly Fern or Sword Fern

The location of your plants must be considered carefully.

Fortunately, sword fern works well with hanging plants. Place hanging baskets throughout the room to add liveliness, but make sure the plants are out of your cat’s reach at all times.

A colorful fern can also appear completely at home on a high shelf, out of reach of prying paws.

Aluminum foil can be another effective way to stop your cat from becoming obsessed because cats often don’t enjoy how it feels, tastes, or smells. Try wrapping the pot in foil or covering the soil with crumpled foil.

Plants to Avoid For Your Cats

If you are a cat owner and unsure if the plants growing in your yard are harmful to your cats, check out this list of toxic plants for cats. You can also check our list of non-toxic plants for cats.

About the author

Clair Chesterman

Clair Chesterman is a professional cat breeder having her own cageless CFA and CCA Registered cattery & fostering company FluffyMeowPaws in Eugene, Oregon. Clair is a plant enthusiast too and she made in-depth research on toxic and non-toxic plants for cats.