15 Plants That Are Toxic To Cats

Key takeaway

Many pet parents don't realize how decorating their home may impact their cat's health and wellness. If you keep plants inside, your cat could be in unnecessary danger. Many common houseplants are toxic to cats and can cause symptoms ranging from mild vomiting and diarrhea to severe symptoms like seizures, coma, and even death.

Many pet parents have plants in their homes. However, you might not realize that some of your plants are toxic to your pets. As a cat parent, you know that your cat gets into anything and everything. Your cat companion can climb on top of furniture, appliances and of course, their cat tree. This means they may mistake houseplants for cat toys. Of course, there are many cat-friendly houseplants. However, not every plant you bring home is safe for your pet. Cats may swat, eat, or nibble on plants, so it’s important to know what plants could potentially harm them.

Cats can also rub up against plants. While most plants are only dangerous when ingested, your cat may accidentally ingest parts of the plant that have rubbed off on them while grooming themselves, so there are many ways your cat could get poisoned from toxic house plants. The best thing you can do is research plants before bringing them home to ensure they're safe for your pet.

If you already own houseplants, research what's in your home, and protect your cat from harm by removing the plants or keeping them where your cat can't get to them. If you're wondering, "What are the plants that are toxic to cats," keep reading.

1. Amaryllis

Amaryllis, also known as Belladonna lily or Naked Lady, is a beautiful red-flowered plant that's one of many houseplants that are toxic to dogs and cats. These plants can cause vomiting, diarrhea, pain, and even tremors.1>

2. Azaleas and Rhododendrons

Azaleas, also known as Rhododendron, are common houseplants that are toxic to cats and can cause symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to cardiac failure.

3. Chrysanthemum, Daisy, Mum

Chrysanthemums, also known as daisies, and mums, have many varieties but are known for their beautiful color. Unfortunately, these plants are toxic to cats, dogs, and even horses, with symptoms ranging from vomiting to incoordination and dermatitis.

4. Daffodils, Narcissus 

Daffodils may resemble tall grasses, so your cat may nibble them or rub up against them. The bulbs are the most toxic part of the plant to dogs and cats, with symptoms that include salivation, diarrhea and vomiting, tremors, and cardiac arrhythmias.

5. English Ivy

Also known as California Ivy, English Ivy is toxic to all pets, including cats, and can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

6. Hyacinth

Hyacinth is a beautiful purple-blue plant that may attract cats because they easily detect blue and violet hues. However, hyacinth is toxic to cats and can cause vomiting, diarrhea with blood, and tremors.

List of 15 plants that are toxic to cats

7. Lily

Lilies are beautiful spring plants with white, pink, red, or orange flowers. However, even though they're popular indoor plants, many varieties are toxic to cats. Lilies can result in acute kidney failure, so cats should avoid the petals, leaves, and even the pollen created by these plants.2

8. Lily of the Valley 

Lily of the valley has a white flower with large green leaves. These plants are toxic to pets and can result in disorientation, coma, and seizures.

9. Marijuana

THC is toxic to pets, so they should avoid all marijuana plants and products. Signs of marijuana toxicity in cats include depression, vomiting, incoordination, dilated pupils, seizure, coma, and even death.

10. Oleander 

Oleander is most commonly known as a garden plant, and it's toxic to many different animals, including cats and dogs. Don't let the beautiful pink flowers fool you; these plants are incredibly dangerous for cats and can result in pain, drooling, diarrhea, and even death.

11. Peace Lily 

Peace lilies are not true lilies, but they are just as dangerous to cats. These plants are common indoor plants but are mildly poisonous to cats even though they are not as toxic as true lilies. Symptoms of peace lily toxicity in cats include burning of the mouth, drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. 

12. Pothos, Devil's Ivy 

Devil's Ivy is a beautiful green vine that grows well inside or outdoors. However, while it makes a great table plant, it is incredibly toxic to pets, including cats. If your cat consumes Devil's Ivy, also known as Pothos, They can experience difficulty swallowing and vomiting. 

13. Sago Palm 

The Sago palm resembles a small palm tree with stiff fronds. However, this cute little plant can cause serious health complications in pets when ingested. Symptoms of sago palm ingestion include vomiting, thirst, bruising, liver damage, liver failure, and even death.

14. Spanish Thyme

Spanish thyme is a fragrant plant with thick green leaves. Don't let its name fool you; while regular thyme is not toxic to cats, Spanish thyme is. Spanish thyme can cause all types of reactions in cats, from vomiting to lack of appetite and bloody diarrhea.

15. Tulip

Tulips are most known for their color variety, ranging from pink and red to yellow, white, and orange. While tulips can make any room look nice, they are toxic to cats. The bulb is especially dangerous, but the entire plant can be harmful and cause vomiting and diarrhea symptoms.

The above house plants that are toxic to cats are not an extensive list. Do your due diligence as a pet parent and research plants before bringing them home and putting them somewhere your cat can get them. Check out the ASPCA's list of Poisonous Plants for cats

Signs of toxicity

Signs Of Toxicity

Most toxic plants cause irritation and inflammation, so the most common symptoms of toxicity in cats when it comes to plants are redness, swelling, and itchiness.3 However, you can also expect digestive issues as your cat's body tries to naturally expel the toxins. 

Signs of toxicity from plant ingestion may include:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Breathing problems or wheezing
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Lethargy
  • Coma 
  • Seizures
  • Death (in rare cases)

If your cat consumes any part of a potentially poisonous plant, take them to the vet as soon as possible for treatment. 

Which Plants Are Not Toxic To Cats? 

While many plants are toxic to cats, you're not limited when it comes to how you decorate your home. Here are a few houseplants that are safe for cats:

  • Catnip is mostly a plant for your cat, but it can be fun to grow, especially because you can use it to calm stressful cats and give them something to play with when you're not home. 
  • Spider plants are green, leafy plants that can be hung inside or outside. 
  • Orchids are beautiful indoor plants that are not toxic to cats. If you're looking for a touch of color, try an orchid instead of a lily. 
  • Money trees can bring a taste of the outside indoors and give your cat something they can explore. 

Toxic Plants: Frequently Asked Questions

What plants are most toxic to cats?

Several indoor plants are toxic to cats, ranging from mild toxicity to potentially fatal. Some of the most toxic plants include peace lilies, sago palms, tulips, and oleander. Before you bring any plants home, research them to ensure they're safe for pets because you won't be able to watch your cat constantly to prevent them from chewing on or rubbing against your houseplants. 

Will cats eat toxic plants?

Cats will eat toxic plants even though they're usually careful about what they eat. In the case of indoor cats vs. outdoor cats, indoor cats don't have experience with the outdoors or plants, so they can get curious about new plants in the home and may want to play with them or chew on them. 

How do I stop my cat from eating poisonous plants?

The best thing you can do to prevent your cat from becoming ill from plant poisoning is to avoid putting dangerous plants in your home. However, if you already have dangerous plants, you can deter your cat by spraying all of your plants with citrus juice like orange or lemon juice. Cats don't like the smell of citrus, so it should be enough to keep them away from toxic plants. 

Gray cat behind a snake plant

Final Notes

Be careful with what you put in your home. Cats are naturally curious creatures and have instincts to play with and chew on plants. Before you buy a new plant, do your research to ensure they're safe for pets. If you're ever unsure if a plant is safe, avoid putting it somewhere your cat can get to it. Cats are great climbers, and you can't watch them all day long. 

Therefore, it's best to avoid buying plants that could harm their health. Instead, choose plants that are safe or can benefit your cat. If you notice your cat experiencing any of the symptoms of toxicity, consult a vet immediately.

References

  1. "Poisonous Plants." ASPCA, https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants?field_toxicity_value%5B%5D=02.

  2. "Lilies." Pet Poison Helpline, 3 Mar. 2020, https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/lilies/.

  3. Jennifer Coates, DVM. "Poisonous Plants for Cats." PetMD, PetMD, 31 Mar. 2022, https://www.petmd.com/cat/emergency/poisoning-toxicity/e_ct_poisonous_plants.