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:

• 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 and is republished with permission.

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8 Comments on Keep These Poisonous Plants Away from Your Cats

  1. yes, sadly i found out the hard way. I had lilies i’d bought at Trader Joes. My beloved Zumi got sick one night, i think from chewing on one of the leaves. She began vomiting blood very hour–we had to go to the emergency vet in the middle of the night. She had to be on IV for several days and kept in the hospital. about 3 days and $2000+ later…she came home and recovered. Boy, no more lilies! All lilies are poisonous to cats — which is not known to most people. I think they should display warning wherever flowers are sold.

    • I’m glad Zumi recovered, Ariana. Lilies are highly toxic to cats, and unless treatment is initiated quickly, many cats don’t make it. Here’s more information on lily toxicity:

      • Oh you don’t have to convince me! All lilies are toxic and will never enter my house as long as i have cats!

  2. I’m with Ingrid on this one. I am not a plant person at all and do not have any in my house. You should definitely do your research before having any.

  3. Excellent post. I keep our plants in the diningroom which is a no kitty zone ( we even added a lock to be sure they don’t push the door open.

  4. An internet search can provide information on plants are toxic to cats. One of my cats (domestic long hair) never showed interest in plants. The other (Maine Coon mix) constantly snacked on my spider plant and bamboo with no ill effects. I also had schfflera which he never bothered. I found that if I added raw, fresh veggies to his food (organic alfalfa sprouts, organic shredded broccoli) he left my plants alone.

  5. I got rid of all my plants before I took my rescue cats home. Some of them were toxic to cats (aloe vera), and I didn’t know what the other plants were, so I decided to give them away.

    I’m however wondering why you don’t have any other plants? Do you think your cats would destroy them? I’m planning to get some non-toxic plants, but so far, I’ve been too lazy to learn which plants aren’t toxic to cats.

    • In addition to the fact that I have a black thumb when it comes to plants, I just prefer to not have to worry about learning which plants are okay and which ones aren’t.

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