Top 11 House Plants That Can Harm Your Cats
Which house plants can harm your cats? This is a question every cat owner should ask themselves. If you love having plants in the house and you like keeping your feline friends safe, you need to brush up on the most dangerous plants for cats.
Believe it or not, things like flowers and spiny plants aren’t the only things that can be dangerous to cats. Even vegetables and herbs can make your cat sick or cause them serious discomfort. And if you don’t research a plant before you buy it, you could end up putting your cat in grave danger.
That’s why we have collected a list of the 10 most dangerous plants for cats. These plants should under no circumstance be kept inside of your house. They’re fine outside, but if you have a curious cat who likes to bite flowers and chew leaves, steer clear!
The House Pants Poisonous to Cats List
Azaleas are extremely common plants that can prove hazardous to your cat’s health. Every single part of the plant should be considered dangerous, and if your cat is caught eating azaleas, you should immediately call the pet poison health line. Symptoms include gastrointestinal problems, cardiovascular issues, and even danger to your cat’s central nervous system.
Daffodils are springtime annuals and look great in bunches. But regardless of how good-looking these plants are, they should be kept far away from cats. A study from the Canadian Veterinary Journal showed that daffodil flowers, their leaves, and their bulbs are all poisonous to cats.
One of the only animals in the world able to eat eucalyptus leaves is the koala bear, as well as a few different bird species in the wild. Eucalyptus leaves are pretty in your home and toxic to almost every other animal, including your cat! Be sure to keep eucalyptus leaves far away from your feline friend.
Hyacinths come from the eastern Mediterranean and smell amazing. Unfortunately, these bulb flowers are dangerous for your cat because they contain alkaloids that can poison them. Despite how beautiful these foreign flowers are, they are not good for pets!
Jade and other succulents are great plants for people who enjoy low-maintenance gardening. But unfortunately, jade as well as a handful of other succulents can prove poisonous to cats. Keep your cat away from jade at all costs.
Why are lilies poisonous to cats?
As Litter-Robot resident veterinarian Dr. Justine Lee points out in her post about the top 10 poisons that land cats in the emergency vet, cats are at a higher risk of poisoning because they have an altered liver metabolism.
Ingesting as little as two petals or leaves can result in severe, potentially irreversible acute kidney failure in your cat.
Depending on the genus, the toxic principles of lilies include insoluble calcium oxalates; lycorine and other alkaloids; cardenolides (convallarin and others); saponins, and more.
Which lilies ARE and are NOT poisonous to cats?
When a cat eats part of a lily, the amount of poisoning varies greatly depending on the sub-family of lily. Lily plants that are the most toxic to cats belong to the Lilium genus (which includes Easter lilies, tiger lilies, and Asiatic lilies) and the Hemerocallis genus (which includes daylilies). The thing that makes these plants such a problem is that they’re commonly found in flower arrangements—as they tend to be fragrant, inexpensive, and long-lasting.
There are other species of lily that are poisonous to cats, as well. In general, avoid bringing the following plants into the house:
- Easter lily (also called trumpet lily)
- Tiger lily
- White lily (also called Madonna lily)
- Asiatic lily
- Stargazer lily (also called Oriental lilies)
- Calla lily (also called pig or arum lily)
- Lily of the Valley
- Wood lily (also called red lily)
- Japanese Show lily (also called rubrum lily)
- Bush lily (also called Clivia lily)
- Plantain lily (also called Hosta lily)
“Lilies” that are not considered toxic to cats (because they are not true lilies) include the following:
- Peruvian lily
- Sand lily
- Corn lily
- Ginger lily
- Sego/mariposa lily
- Canna lily
- Saint Bernard’s lily
- Red palm lily
- Resurrection lily
- Scarborough lily.
Mandrake is perhaps the most poisonous plant on the list for cats. The mandrake shrub is a great house plant with beautiful flowers, but its root is extremely toxic both to humans and cats. You shouldn’t be chewing on a mandrake root and neither should your cat!
Milkweed is great to keep in your garden if you like monarch butterflies. Butterflies are attracted to milkweed like crazy and it’s a great way to make your own private butterfly house. Unfortunately, the fruit that comes from the milkweed plant is toxic to your cat and to you, and so definitely take care when considering milkweed.
It’s hard to have Christmas without mistletoe. But mistletoe as well as other holiday plants like amaryllis can be dangerous for the health of your cat and should not be left inside your house. If you need to celebrate with a bit of mistletoe, be sure to put it somewhere that your cat can’t accidentally eat it.
This one might not be that common, but it’s important to know that onions can be dangerous to your cats. If for some crazy reason you decide to grow onions inside your house, be aware that eating onion can make your cat sick. This also goes for garlic and chives. And not only will they make your cats it, but they can make your dog sick too.
Tomato is not something that you should give to your cat. Now, the tomato fruit itself is relatively harmless (though it’s still not recommended to feed your cat tomato) but the stem and leaves of the tomato plant can prove toxic. If you have tomatoes growing in an indoor garden, make sure your cat can’t go anywhere near them.
How To Have Plants but keep them Away from your Cats
The best way to keep plants that your cats can’t get to is to put them in places that your cats can reach or jump to. Obviously there are less places in your house than if it was a dog, but even still there are some examples of ways to get plants up out of the way. We found some hanging planters one THIS website and we think they could work really well. Something worth checking out.
Poison Symptoms in Cats
If your cat happened to get into some poisonous plants, there are going to be some immediate symptoms that you should be able to recognize. The issue is that all plants have different toxins, and this means different reactions.
For example, if your cat has been eating any kind of onion plant, you’ll notice that they become weak, their gums get pale, and they have a reduced appetite. On the other hand, if your cat ate a jade plant, you’ll probably notice them vomiting and stumbling around uncoordinated.
To be quite honest, most poison symptoms are very common and ambiguous, from vomiting to diarrhea and from difficulty breathing to excess licking and salivating. Many people don’t realize that their cat has ingested a toxic plant until it’s too late.
If you notice that your cat has a loss of appetite, if they seem disoriented, if they’re coughing or having difficulty breathing, or even if their pupils are dilated, you may want to contact your veterinarian immediately.
What to Do if Your Cat Eats a Poisonous Plant
If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your cat has been eating or nibbling on a poisonous plant, the first thing to do is to find out how much of it they’ve eaten and call your vet right away.
If your veterinarian is not available, you can always phone a pet poison control centre. These are very important numbers that you should have handy in case there is a pet emergency.
Whatever you do, do not try to make your cat vomit. Do not try to cure your cat yourself. Always follow the steps given to you by a professional, and you probably shouldn’t base your diagnosis on anything you read online.
Of course, the best treatment is always prevention. If you know that there are poisonous plants in your house, get rid of them. It’s not worth poisoning your cat.