When it comes to our feline friends, we can never be too safe. And this is certainly true when it comes to potential dangers in and around our homes. Our cats are naturally curious little beings, and some of the toxic plants on this list will trigger their curiosity simply because of their beauty or tempting structure. If you want to keep your cats safe and prevent any accidents from happening, then avoid bringing any of these toxic plants that can harm your cat anywhere near them.
Lilies—Of All Kinds!
I will be the first to say that lilies are absolutely stunning, but these toxic plants can be fatal for cats. The orange pollen on their stems can cause respiratory failure if ingested, and cats can indirectly come into contact with it should they brush against it casually. And if that should happen and they go to groom themselves, this is a recipe for disaster.
If someone offers you a bouquet of these lovely flowers, obviously thank them, but do NOT bring them into your home. Cats often do not know what is safe and what is not, and it’s our duty as their dedicated owners not to send them into an early grave by exposing them to potential dangers and toxins. There have been many sad stories of cats dying from lily poisoning, and hopefully, that is impactful enough for you to not want to have to take the risk.
Common lilies include: stargazer lilies, Easter lilies, daylilies, tiger lilies
If you’ve ever watched the Masters golf tournament in April, then you know exactly what plant I’m referring to. These bright bushes with colorful blooms put on a “show” once a year each spring. The Grayanotoxin found in the plant’s flowers can cause vomiting, diarrhea, malaise, and even cardiac failure. If you’re considering planting some around your home or have some currently, consider rethinking these if your cats travel outdoors.
Another spring bloomer, tulips are as pretty as can be, but they are also very dangerous should your feline friend come into direct contact with one. Although the bulb of this flower contains the highest concentration of harmful toxins, cats can experience vomiting, depression, diarrhea, and even hypersalivation should they come into contact with one of these dangerously pretty plants.
These miniature palms might be eye-appealing, but they are high on the list of toxic plants that can harm your cat. The Cycasin toxin found in these plants can lead to a wide range of dangers, and sadly, even death if the plant is ingested. Clinical sago palm poisoning symptoms include vomiting, melena, icterus, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, coagulopathy, liver damage, liver failure, or possible death.
These plants are often cited as hidden dangers lurking around pet owners’ homes because many growers and plant nurseries do not directly label them as toxic to cats—even dogs. For residents of Texas and other Southern states, sago palms are often found in abundance. And every pet owner should know, that every part of this plant is potentially deadly!
Many Holiday Season Plants
During the holiday season, many of us purchase poinsettias or other festive plants to decorate our homes with. But if you have cats and dogs, you should skip out on the real deal and roll with the fake plants to get the yuletide spirit in your home. Certain types of yuletide plants, such as mistletoe, holly (specifically those bright red berries), rosemary, and especially poinsettias are highly toxic to our pet friends.
While the degree of toxicity of this plant is mild to moderate, it’s important to list the aloe plant because many pet owners are not aware of its potential danger to their canines or felines. PetPoisonHelpline.com shares more on what to watch for concerning these toxic plants:
Aloes contain anthraquinone glycosides which are purgatives (medications that encourage bowel movements). When ingested, these glycosides are metabolized by intestinal bacteria forming compounds that increase mucus production and water in the colon. This can result in vomiting and diarrhea. Other clinical signs seen with aloe vera ingestion include depression, anorexia, changes in urine color, and rarely, tremors.
You might not think that an ordinary flower you see almost every day could do much harm, but such is not the case! There are several toxic components to these plants you’d probably never suspect as being harmful. The daisy’s sesquiterpene, lactones, and pyrethrins top the list of dangers, but there are additionally other potential irritants as well. According to the ASPCA, clinical signs of daisy poisoning for dogs and cats include vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, incoordination, and even dermatitis.
If you think your cat could have possibly been exposed to a toxic plant, these are the symptoms to watch out for:
- Difficulty breathing (if the airways are affected)
- Drooling or difficulty swallowing (if the mouth, throat, or esophagus is affected)
- Vomiting (if the stomach or small intestines are affected)
- Diarrhea (if the small intestines or colon are affected)
- Excessive drinking and urinating (if the kidneys are affected)
- Fast, slow or irregular heartbeat and weakness (if the heart is affected)
Remember, most of these plants are irritants, with common symptoms of contact being inflammation and swelling, with itchiness of the eyes, mouth, or skin which came in direct contact.
PetMD offers a full list for you of the potentially toxic plants for cats:
- Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.)
- Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale)
- Azaleas and Rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.)
- Castor Bean (Ricinus communis)
- Chrysanthemum, Daisy, Mum (Chrysanthemum spp.)
- Cyclamen (Cyclamen spp.)
- Daffodils, Narcissus (Narcissus spp.)
- Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia spp.)
- English Ivy (Hedera helix)
- Hyacinth (Hyacintus orientalis)
- Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe spp.)
- Lily (Lilium sp.)
- Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
- Marijuana (Cannabis sativa)
- Oleander (Nerium oleander)
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.)
- Pothos, Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum)
- Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
- Spanish Thyme (Coleus ampoinicus)
- Tulip (Tulipa spp.)
- Yew (Taxus spp.)
Remember, prevention is key to keeping these potentially fatal accidents from happening to your pet. But should your cat come into contact with any of the toxic plants listed above, stop what you’re doing and rush them to the vet immediately.
Keep in mind, that not all plants are bad! There are plants and grasses which are safe in small quantities!
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435.