Is Lady Palm Safe for Cats?

The lady palm, or Rhapis excelsa, is a member of the palm family of plants.

The lady palm, or Rhapis excelsa, is a member of the palm family of plants.

An excellent question. Cats, of course, love to nibble plants. The lady palm, whose scientific name is "Rhapis excelsa," is a beautiful member of the palm family of plants. It is a common home and workplace ornamental, particularly in the southern and southwestern United States, and can grow as high as six to twelve feet, with a three to twelve foot leaf spread. In terms of cats, as with all home and garden plants, it is important to check whether or not there is the potential for toxicity. In the case of the lady palm, according to numerous reliable sources, there is no threat and no cause for concern.

Do Your Homework!

If you share your home with a cat, it is important to ask questions before bringing home any new plant or flower. Many plants and flowers, while lovely or fragrant, may pose a risk to your cat if touched or consumed. Therefore, if you are thinking of purchasing a new plant or flower, take a look at a list of toxic and non-toxic plants, flowers and foods published by reliable and respected information sources first. Websites for The Cat Fanciers' Association,, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA),, are good places to start.

It is also a good idea to check with a veterinarian or animal medical specialist. You can get good advice about what plants, flowers and foods to avoid and what to do in case your cat or kitten is affected adversely in any way by something that has been touched or eaten.

Also check with your plant dealer and be sure to keep a list of dangerous plants, flowers and foods in your home for reference. Finally, it is important to have an animal medical emergency telephone number handy in case of accidental poisoning. Rest assured, though, that the lady palm, according to The Cat Fanciers' Association, the ASPCA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is considered to be safe for cats.


  • According to a recent study conducted by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, the lady palm can serve as a natural air purifier. So, not only is the plant safe for cats, but as reported by Radio Green Earth, it can also "help rid the air of pollutants and toxins"!

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About the Author

Jeff Katz has been a professional librarian, educator, historian, writer and editor for almost 20 years. He holds a Master of Library Science degree from the University of British Columbia and a BA degree in Classical Studies from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

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