All cat owners want to keep their furry friends safe, and so it is imperative to understand which plants are poisonous to them and ensure that they are kept out of the house and garden. At the very least, they must be kept well out of reach of your cat, but with cats being as agile and cheeky as they are, toxic plants are best avoided altogether.
According to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, over 11,000 calls relating to plant poisoning in pets are logged every year, with cat-related calls accounting for around a third of those calls.
Here are some of the most common plants that are poisonous to our beloved felines.
Garden Lilies and Cats
There are many different species of lily, and some are more dangerous than others to cats. Some of the more dangerous ones include:
- Easter Lilies
- Japanese show lilies
- Stargazer lilies
- Asiatic lilies
- Rubrum lilies
- Tiger lilies
- Red lilies
- Western lilies
- Wood lilies
Cats only need to chew a very small amount of these lilies to ingest enough toxins to be fatal. Even simply licking at the pollen can lead to death. Easter lilies are particularly dangerous, causing acute kidney failure.
Other lilies, such as Peace lilies, are more mildly toxic, but can still cause worrying symptoms, and are best avoided. The overwhelming advice is that cat owners should avoid having any kind of lily in their house or garden.
Azaleas and Rhododendrons Are Poisonous to Cats
There are over 1,000 species in this extended plant family, and according to the Pet Poison Helpline, all are either moderate or severe in their toxicity to cats. Every part of these plants is highly toxic and only a small amount is required to cause alarming symptoms.
Symptoms include diarrhea, drooling, vomiting, loss of appetite, tremors, heart, arrhythmias, seizures and more, and ingesting these garden plants can be fatal for cats.
Is Cyclamen Toxic to Cats?
Also known as Sowbread and Persian violet, all parts of Cyclamen plants are toxic to cats, but the roots and tubers are the most dangerous.
Ingesting small amounts of this plant can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and vomiting, while larger quantities can affect a cat’s heart, cause seizures and have the potential to be fatal.
Otherwise known as the naked lady or meadow saffron, the Autumn Crocus is common in the fall, and is poisonous to cats, as well as dogs and horses. Its alkaloid colchicine makes it especially toxic to cats.
Symptoms from ingesting this plant include gastrointestinal issues, as well as respiratory difficulties, liver and kidney damage and potentially death. Toxicity from this plant can be evident quickly, but symptoms in cats can take days to become apparent.
Is Aloe Vera Toxic to Cats?
This common household plant is famous for its health benefits, yet it is toxic for cats. Symptoms of ingesting Aloe Vera in cats includes vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression and lethargy and occasionally tremors.
Tulips and Hyacinth
Both of these popular garde and bouquet plants are part of the Lilaceae family, and are therefore a relative of the deadly lily. All parts of these flowers are poisonous to cats, but the bulbs are the most dangerous, causing a range of stomach issues, as well as depression and tremors.
Is English Ivy Toxic to Cats?
English Ivy is a versatile hanging indoor plant, as well as an excellent ground covering plant that is not only aesthetically pleasing but helps to suppress weeds. Unfortunately, however, it is toxic to cats, causing a range of gastrointestinal issues. While it may not be severe in its toxicity, the symptoms can include abdominal pain, swelling of the mouth and excessive drooling and foaming and is best avoided by cat owners.
Cats and Christmas Trees
According to Christmas tree professionals at Fantastic, cats have a long history of causing problems with coniferous decoration and, unfortunately, oils within most species are potentially toxic and cause light to heavy mouth or stomach irritation that can sometimes become severe inflammations if your cat eats one-too-many needles without you preventing it.
Other plants that are toxic to cats:
This is by no means an exhaustive list, as unfortunately, there are many plants that pose a toxic threat to cats. Other common plants include:
- Sago Palm
- Narcissus (Daffodils)
- Bird of Paradise
- Snake Plant
- Wild Carnations
- Fern Palm
For a comprehensive list of plants that are toxic to cats, visit the ASPCA Plant List - Cats.
Given that cats can manage to get themselves into the most unlikely of positions, it is advised that cat owners simply avoid keeping toxic plants in the home or garden. While not all toxic plants can cause fatalities, the symptoms are typically quite distressing for both cat and owner.
If you are worried that your cat has ingested even a small part of a plant that is toxic to cats, take immediate action. Even if they have only licked or chewed at a small bit of the plant, depending on the species of plant, it could be fatal.
Call an animal poison control hotline immediately. Two leading helplines include the Pet Poison Helpline on 855-764-7661 and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center on 888-426-4435. Both can be subject to consultation fees, but are available 24/7 which is very valuable in a crisis situation where immediate action is necessary.
Alternatively, call your vet and treat the matter as urgent. The sooner your cat receives treatment, the more optimistic the outcome.
You Might be Asking... What Plants Are Safe for Cats?
Watch the video below to find out what plants are in fact safe for cats if ingested.