Plants and foods that are toxic to cats

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Guest post by Amanda McIntosh

If your cat is anything like mine, he is curious and adventurous, and more often than not he will try to get into things he shouldn’t.

Plants

The first time I took my cat outdoors, he was fascinated by the grass in the yard. He wouldn’t stop eating it. Thinking it could potentially harm him, I discouraged him from doing it. I later found out from my vet that cats will often enjoy eating grass and it’s perfectly safe for them. You can even buy kits to plant grass for indoor cats.

However, there are other indoor and outdoor plants that aren’t as safe. My cat had a random obsession with a Dieffenbachia plant, a medium-sized houseplant with large, thick leaves. I removed it out of his reach when he started gnawing on it. I found out after the fact that Dieffenbachias are toxic to cats. Thankfully, they are not life-threatening, and he suffered no ill effects.

The good news is there are plenty of indoor plants that won’t be harmful for  cats. The ASPCA website offers a complete list of toxic and non toxic plants for cats.

However, even once you’ve gotten rid of all potentially toxic greenery, you may still prefer that your cat doesn’t munch away at your remaining plants. To deter cats from ruining indoor plants, you can spray them with a diluted solution of vinegar or lemon juice. Cats don’t like the smell of either one.

If your cats go outside, consider growing a catnip plant in your yard. This worked for me: my cats love it, and it keeps them distracted from the other plants when they are outdoors.

Foods

Most cat guardians are aware that chocolate is highly toxic for their pets, but did you know that cats shouldn’t eat raw potatoes or unripe tomatoes? Other foods that should be off limits to cats are apricots, cherries, apple seeds, avocado, grapes, and certain nuts.

While these foods may not be deadly, consumption may cause vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Onions and garlic damage red blood cells & can cause hemolytic anaemia. Be especially careful when feeding baby food to a cat who’s lost her appetite. Some brands contain onion flakes or powder.

Some cat guardians give milk to their cats as a treat, but most cats can’t digest dairy products properly, so it’s better to find alternate treats for your cat.

While it’s tempting to share our food with our cats, make sure that it’s safe to do so. When in doubt, don’t feed it to your cat, or check with your cat’s veterinarian first.

Amanda McIntosh is a cat lover working for Trupanion, a pet insurance company in Seattle, Washington. A recent college graduate, she enjoys writing, cooking and playing with her two-year-old cat.

Photo by Shannon Kringen, Flickr Creative Commons

3 Comments on Plants and foods that are toxic to cats

  1. Ashley
    May 20, 2018 at 3:31 pm (1 year ago)

    Hi, I made bone broth and only added a splash of apple cider vinegar to bring out the minerals and one bay leaf in a huge pot. Do you think this would be safe to feed my cats? I wanted to give to my cars that aren’t eating raw food so they still get nutrients from the bones.

    Reply
  2. Max the Quilt Cat
    July 31, 2012 at 6:38 am (7 years ago)

    Great article. I didn’t know all those…. Thanks.

    hugs, Max, Bugsy and Knuckles

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm (7 years ago)

      Even though some of these seem like foods that most cats wouldn’t touch, you just never know, Max.

      Reply

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