Are Asparagus Ferns Toxic to Cats? Let Us Find Out

Are Asparagus Ferns Toxic to Cats? Asparagus ferns are an easy and beautiful addition to any home. They not only freshen the air indoors but also help purify it. But are they toxic to cats? This article sheds more light on the question.

Table of Contents

What Are Asparagus Ferns?

Asparagus fern is growing in a zinc pot.

The Asparagus fern is growing in a zinc pot.

Asparagus ferns, also known as Asparagus status. Asparagus ferns are often confused for ferns because of their leafy appearance. They can also grow up to 50cm high in warm climates.

Asparagus ferns are native to Africa, Asia, and Europe but are now available globally.

Are Asparagus Ferns Poisonous to Cats?

Asparagus fern is growing in small plastic containers.

Asparagus fern is growing in small plastic containers.

Asparagus ferns are known to be potentially toxic to cats. But do they pose a threat to your pet’s health? The answer is yes – and no.

Yes, because asparagus ferns contain a glycoside called asparagus-N-oxide (ASNO), which is toxic to some cats. As with many other mammals, some cats are sensitive to glycosides. They can respond by developing several symptoms.

And no, because asparagus ferns don’t affect all cats. Some cats might eat asparagus ferns and be fine. Still, keep your cat away from asparagus ferns unless you’re sure the cat is asymptomatic of asparagus poisoning.

Symptoms Of Asparagus Poisoning In Cats

A poisoned cat is drooling with bloody saliva.

A poisoned cat is drooling with bloody saliva.

Asparagus fern poisoning symptoms generally appear within three to five days after ingestion. These symptoms, however, may take up to two weeks for full development.

Mild symptoms include the following.

  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anorexia
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • General body weakness
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Gastrointestinal upsets

Severe symptoms include the following.

  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Liver failure
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

If untreated, the symptoms of asparagus poisoning can be severe enough to lead to death. That explains why you should call a vet immediately if you suspect your cat has consumed asparagus.

How To Treat Asparagus Toxicity In Cats?

A vet is examining a sick cat in a hospital.

A vet is examining a sick cat in a hospital.

The first line of treatment you’re supposed to administer is activated charcoal. Do this as soon as possible following ingestion of the plant. If you don’t have access to activated charcoal, take your cat to an emergency clinic immediately for treatment.

In addition to administering activated charcoal, you should monitor your cat. In this case, you should seek veterinary care right away. Your vet will give you an over-the-counter medication, doxycycline, to help treat symptoms before your pet gets medical attention. Once the vet examines it in the hospital, they will treat it with fluids and antihistamines until it’s stable enough to go home.

Moreover, take preventive measures, so your cat does not eat more of these plants. You can do this by cutting out the affected plants (asparagus ferns) from your yard or garden or by having someone else do it for you. Getting rid of this plant completely prevents further exposure.


At this point, now you know if asparagus ferns are toxic to cats and what to do should your cat show symptoms of asparagus poisoning. For more information about this topic, feel free to contact us.