Non-toxic plants

Is Baby's Tears or Polka Dot Plant Toxic For Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Baby's Tears Toxic For Cats

Baby’s tears or also commonly called Polka Dot Plant, Measles Plant, Flamingo Plant, Freckle Face, and Pink Splash, is a non-toxic plant for cats. It is included in the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) list of non-toxic plants.

Can Cats Eat Baby’s Tears or Polka Dot Plant?

Cat sits near Baby's Tears

While baby’s tears plant is classified as a non-toxic plant, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be cautious around it. Cats are fond of putting things in their mouths. While they will not suffer poisoning symptoms, they may become unwell if they consume an excessive amount of the baby’s tears plant.

If a cat chews on the leaves of the baby’s tears, it is may not cause harm; but, if the plant is consumed in large quantities, vomiting and/or diarrhea may occur.

It is also important to know that since cats are naturally carnivores, their bodies do not have enzymes that can process ingested plant materials. Thus, eating too many plants can cause them digestive upset.

What is Baby’s Tears or Polka Dot Plant?

Baby's Tears and cats


Hypoestes phyllostachya, commonly known as baby’s tears or polka dot plant, is a flowering plant in the Acanthaceae family endemic to South Africa, Madagascar, and Southeast Asia. It’s an evergreen shrub with densely speckled pink or white leaves that seem like they’ve been splashed with paint. This tiny shrub has green leaves with pink-purple spots and creates thick, compact tufts. The opposing leaves are round and pointy.

Baby’s tears, also known as the polka dot plant, is grown as a decorative plant and is commonly used as a houseplant. It can also be grown outside as an annual in milder temperatures or a perennial in subtropics and tropics. In the United Kingdom, it received the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. Many distinct cultivars with various leaf hues have been developed.

Keeping Cats Away From Baby’s Tears or Polka Dot Plant

Baby's Tears and a cat nearby

Even if your plants are non-toxic, we recommend keeping them away from your cats. In this manner, you can ensure that your cat does not eat any harmful particles while also protecting your plants.

Certain odors, textures, and noises dissuade cats from exploring plants. To avoid burrowing cats, experts recommend covering the plant and soil with aluminum foil.

They also recommend covering the plant’s pot with double-sided adhesive tape if your cat scratches it. They loathe the sensation of these surfaces on their paws.

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.

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