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12 Houseplants That Are Poisonous To Cats

Did you know that these 12 plants are poisonous to your cat? Here’s what you need to know about keeping your pet safe in your house and your yard.

Bridget Reed

Updated March 14, 2023 • Published March 16, 2022

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12 Houseplants That Are Poisonous To Cats

One of the most frightening moments as a pet parent is when you think that your furry friend got their paws on something that could be harmful to them.

Unfortunately, accidents happen and pets mistakenly gain access to items—plants, food, or otherwise—that can prove extremely harmful to their health.

If your cat accidentally consumes the wrong type of plant, it could potentially poison them and lead to drastic emergency situations. 

Diligent pet parents must ensure that they are well-versed in plants that could harm their pets. Recognizing and avoiding these plants is an essential part of creating a pet-safe household and yard.

Which plants are most toxic to cats?

While you likely know that some plants are toxic to cats, you might be unsure about which ones pose the biggest threat. This list will provide you with a better understanding of what plants you should avoid.

1. Lily

Unfortunately, these beautiful flowers are actually lethal to cats. Your feline could even suffer from deadly kidney failure from simply biting into a lily leaf or petal. This could also occur as a result of your pet licking lily pollen from their paws or having a drink of water from a vase that had cut lilies in it. 

You might be curious as to why lilies are harmful to cats, but sadly the root of this toxicity has not yet been identified. However, it is known that all forms of lilies contain a chemical that could harm feline kidneys. For example, Easter lilies and tiger lilies are also dangerous and could cause acute kidney failure. 

If your cat eats even a small amount of lily, it's critical that they get immediate medical treatment from the vet. This will be essential in helping your cat recover. 

2. Oleander

Oleander lands itself on the do-not-ingest list for both dogs and cats. This plant, which is renowned for its beauty and ability to thrive in drought-like conditions and poor soil, is full of toxins that threaten our furry friends.  

The reason that this plant is so hazardous to cats is that it has cardiac glycosides. This works to inhibit sodium and potassium ATPase pumps. The result could be several potential ailments, including cardiac irritability, arrhythmias, and even depolarization. 

3. Amaryllis

This extremely common plant is harmful to pets and can result in a myriad of potential health problems if your cat ingests it. The amaryllis poses a threat to dogs as well. 

If your pet ingests part of the amaryllis, you might notice that they are vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, abdominal pain, depression, tremors, anorexia, or hyper-salivation. 

4. Tulip

Tulips are another common seasonal garden and houseplant that could be extremely dangerous for your pet to consume. While they can surely spruce up your garden with their vibrant colors, tulips can also spell disaster for your cat. It’s best to avoid these. The bulbs can potentially prove harmful, too. 

5. Daffodils

Daffodils are a must-avoid for your pet cat. According to the ASPCA, these blooms that are often included in landscaping should be avoided, as they can be poisonous. If you're getting your yard landscaped, it’s best to ask the team to skip these. 

6. Azaleas

Azaleas are common holiday plants, but unfortunately, they could wreak havoc on your pet’s body. That’s why you should ensure that any holiday flower bouquets you bring into your home do not have azaleas. Because cats are able to climb, you don’t want to have these at any height. 

7. Sago palm

The sago palm is especially popular in warmer climates, so if you live in a warmer part of the country, you want to be sure that your pet does not accidentally ingest any of this plant.

Unfortunately, ingestion of sago palm can lead to a slew of adverse effects. These can include liver damage, failure, coagulopathy, increased thirst, vomiting, Selena, icterus, bruising, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, and even death in severe situations. If you think that your cat consumed the sago palm, you need to seek immediate veterinary attention. 

8. Rhododendrons

Rhododendrons, while beautiful, are dangerous for your pet cat. If ingested, your cat may suffer from digestive upset, loss of appetite, drooling, and even leg paralysis or death.

9. Hyacinth

These plants can often be found in the garden, but they’re definitely something you shouldn’t keep outside (if your cat wanders there) or inside, either. These plants can prove extremely hazardous for cats, especially the bulbs. It’s best to avoid them completely.

10. Jade

While jade plants are an attractive addition to your home, they pose a hefty risk to feline friends. Therefore, it’s best to avoid and seek out an alternative option that has a similar appearance but won’t lead your pet to experience illness. 

11. Poinsettia

This popular holiday plant is actually extremely hazardous to your pet cat. Unfortunately, even if they only ingest a small amount, they can experience life-threatening consequences. Your best bet is to avoid holiday plants like poinsettias and mistletoe. 

12. Aloe vera

Aloe vera is known for its medicinal properties for humans, but for cats, it does not hold the same allure. If your cat consumes aloe vera, they could endure several uncomfortable symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting, depression, and more. That’s why it’s best to ensure that if you do need to have aloe vera in your house, you keep it far, far away from your pet. 

How to avoid poisonous plants for cats

The best thing to keep in mind as a pet parent is that it is your responsibility to ensure that your cat does not accidentally get their paws on a toxic houseplant.

Here’s what you need to know about helping your pet stay safe:

Do your research

According to Pawp veterinarian Dr. Jenna Olsen, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure in this situation.

“In order to avoid this type of situation altogether, minimizing a cat’s exposure would be your best bet. Do your research before getting a new plant, or bringing in a bouquet,” Dr. Olsen shares. “If you aren’t sure about a particular plant, ensure you place them in a location or room they don’t go in. Cats are curious by nature and often chew on things they aren’t supposed to, which can lead to unfortunate accidents.” 

Know how to identify them

You should also learn more about how to identify these plants and other hazards to cats so that if you see one, you can make sure that your pet stays away. In addition, being well-versed in poisonous plants helps reduce the chances that you will accidentally bring one into your home

What should I do if my cat eats a poisonous plant?

It’s essential that if you fear your cat ate a poisonous plant, you reach out to a knowledgeable source immediately, like the ASPCA Poison Control hotline. 

“Depending on the type of plant, part of the plant, and volume ingested, they will let you know if you need to go to your veterinarian for vomit induction and/or further treatment," Dr. Olsen explains. "Some toxic plants may just cause hyper-salivation and mouth irritation, so a vet visit is not always indicated. However, some have the potential for kidney failure, cardiac changes, and seizures, so it is important to contact them sooner rather than later.” 

If you're unsure about your next steps for your pet or want advice on anything from food types to behavioral concerns, you can reach out to Pawp at any time of the day or night. 

If you fear that your cat consumed a poisonous plant, Pawp’s team is here to advise you on what your next steps should be. With 24/7 telehealth, you can get the help your pet needs anytime, anywhere.

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