Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 9, 2023 by Crystal Uys
Cats like to chew on plants. If you’re going to have live plants in your home, you must be aware of which plants are poisonous to cats. When in doubt, it’s always best to get rid of a plant. Just keeping plants of kitty’s reach may not be enough. Cats like to climb, which is why it is safer to remove toxic plants from your home altogether.
In some cases, only parts of a plant may be poisonous, but it’s safer to assume that if a plant is toxic, the entire plant should be removed.
The effect of poisonous plants on cats can range from mild gastro-intestinal upset to neurological damage and death. Some plants may cause irritation and inflammation on contact with the skin or mouth, other plants may affect specific organs like the heart or kidneys.
Most common poisonous plants
The following list contains some of the most commonly seen plants that are toxic to cats (Source: PetMd.com):
• Amaryllis (Amaryllis sp.)
• Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale)
• Azaleas and Rhododendrons (Rhododendron sp.)
• Castor Bean (Ricinus communis)
• Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum sp.)
• Cyclamen (Cyclamen sp.)
• English Ivy (Hedera helix)
• Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe sp.)
• Lilies (Lilium sp.)
• Marijuana (Cannabis sativa)
• Oleander (Nerium oleander)
• Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.)
• Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
• Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
• Spanish thyme (Coleus ampoinicus)
• Tulip and Narcissus bulbs (Tulipa and Narcissus sp.)
• Yew (Taxus sp.)
The deadly Lily
Plants in the lily family are deadly to cats. Just one small bite of a flower, leaf, stem or even the pollen of this plant can cause gastric distress, and, more importantly, if left untreated, can lead to fatal kidney failure. Immediate treatment is critical. If aggressive treatment is initiated within 6 hours of ingestion, chances are good that the cat will survive. After 18-24 hours, the prognosis, even with treatment, is poor.
Symptoms of plant poisoning
Symptoms will vary depending on which organ system a toxin affects, and can range from drooling, difficulty breathing or swallowing to vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drinking or urinating and a fast, slow or irregular heart beat.
Immediate veterinary care is essential
If you notice any of the symptoms above, or if you suspect your cat may have eaten a toxic plant, take your cat to a veterinarian immediately. Take a piece of the plant with you. Call a Pet Poison Hotline (a fee will apply with most services.)
The best way to prevent your cat from is to keep any potentially poisonous plants out of your home.
This article was previously published on Answers.com and is republished with permission.
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.