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13 Poisonous Plants For Cats - Protect Your Feline Friend

Did you know that some popular home and garden plants can be toxic for your cats when eaten?


But why in the world would my cat eat plants? There could be various reasons for this: a nutritional deficiency in your cat's diet, your cat could be looking for more moisture, or your cat could be feeling nauseated and looking for plants to help induce nausea on purpose.


Whatever the reason, I'm here to help you make sure you populate your home with plants that are safe for cats.

Cat looking through plant leaves

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When your cat is showing symptoms of having eaten something poisonous, here are some ways to determine which organ is affected:

  • Difficulty breathing (airways affected)

  • Drooling or difficulty swallowing (mouth, throat, or esophagus affected)

  • Vomiting (stomach or small intestines affected)

  • Diarrhea (small intestines or colon affected)

  • Excessive drinking and urinating (kidneys affected)

  • Fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat and weakness (heart affected)

 

13 Poisonous Plants For Cats

 
Closeup of Jade plant

1. Jade

They are also referred to as rubber plants, money plants, or lucky plants.


Symptoms may not appear immediately, so it is vital to monitor your cat's behavior and health closely after exposure to the plant.


Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting

  • Neurological symptoms such as incoordination

  • Depression

Treatment:

  • Seek veterinary care immediately

 
Green pothos plants in a pot

2. Pothos

This plant has a few names, including pothos, golden pothos, and taro vine.


Symptoms include:

  • Dry mouth, throat, and tongue

  • Lip irritation

  • Excessive drooling (hypersalivation)

  • Vomiting

  • Difficulty swallowing

The severity of the symptoms will depend on the amount of plant material ingested, so it is crucial to monitor your cat's behavior and health closely after exposure to the plant.

 
Red Amaryllis

3. Amaryllis

Beautiful, right? Like humans, cats may be drawn to the giant, vibrant flowers and find it too irresistible not to take a bite.


All parts of the amaryllis plant, including the bulb, are toxic when ingested.

Symptoms include:

  • Stomach pain

  • Excess drooling

  • Tremors

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Decrease in appetite

 
Sago palm

4. Sago Palm

Palms are not pet-friendly at all.


Your curious cat might find these plants attractive, but they should be avoided entirely, as your cat can die when eating Sago Palm.


Symptoms include:

  • Gastrointestinal and liver damage

The symptoms of sago palm toxicity may not appear for several days after ingestion, making it difficult to diagnose and treat the poisoning in time.

 
Bright pink Rhododendron

5. Azaleas and Rhododendrons

These plants are both classified in the genus Rhododendron. For cats, all parts of these shrubs are toxic when eaten.


Symptoms include:

  • Tremors

  • Seizures

  • Abnormal heart rate

  • Vomiting

Treatment:

  • Seek veterinary care immediately

 
Green Elephant's ear plant

6. Elephant's ear

Elephant's ear is a popular houseplant, but unfortunately, you'd have to give it away when your cats come home to stay.


All parts of the elephant ear plant, including the leaves, stems, and roots, contain toxic calcium oxalate crystals.

Symptoms include:

  • Oral irritation

  • Burning, and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and throat

 
Various colored Chrysanthemums

7. Chrysanthemum, Daisy, Mum

This colorful flowering plant should be entirely off-limits for cats.


All parts of the chrysanthemum plant, including the leaves, flowers, sap, and stems, contain toxic pyrethrins.


Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Hypersalivation

  • Incoordination

  • Dermatitis

Treatment:

  • Seek veterinary care immediately

 
Eucalyptus leaves

8. Eucalyptus

These fragrant, mind-soothing leaves (including eucalyptus essential oils) should be kept out of reach from cats.

Symptoms include:

  • Drooling

  • Vomiting

  • Decreased appetite

  • Diarrhea

The severity of the symptoms will depend on the amount of plant material ingested or the extent of skin contact, so it is essential to monitor your cat's behavior and health closely after exposure to the plant.

 
White lilies

9. Lily

All parts of lily plants are toxic, including leaves, roots, petals, and pollen. Even the water from a vase of lilies can be harmful.


Symptoms include:

  • Acute kidney failure

  • Irritation to the mouth and stomach

To prevent your cat from being exposed to lilies, it is best to keep them out of your home completely.

 
Marijuana plant

10. Marijuana

The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, can cause neurological effects in cats if ingested.


Symptoms include:

  • Disorientation

  • Sleepiness

  • Vomiting

  • Low blood pressure

  • Seizures

  • Coma

The onset of symptoms can occur within a few minutes to a few hours after ingestion, and they can last for several hours to days, depending on the amount ingested.


It is important to note that some products containing marijuana, such as edibles or oils, can contain other ingredients that are also toxic to cats, such as chocolate or xylitol.

 
Peace Lily in a pot on windowsill

11. Peace Lily

Peace lily toxicity in cats is usually mild and self-limiting, and most cats recover within a few hours to days with supportive care.


All parts of the peace lily plant, including the leaves, stems, and flowers, contain toxic calcium oxalate crystals.


Symptoms include:

  • Severe burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, and tongue

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Vomiting

  • Excessive drooling

 
Various colored Tulips

12. Tulip

Tulips are among the most notable poisonous plants to cats. All parts of the plant contain toxins called tulipalin A and B, with the highest concentration in the bulb.


Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting

  • Depression

  • Diarrhea

  • Hypersalivation

It is important to note that other plants in the Liliaceae family, such as daffodils and hyacinths, also contain similar toxins and can be toxic to cats.

 
Snake plant

13. Snake plant

The snake plant is a wildly popular hard-to-kill houseplant. However, they contain chemical compounds which are toxic to cats.


Symptoms include:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

 

If your cat shows signs of being poisoned, do the following before you take your cat to your veterinarian:

Bring a sample of the plant or plant material to the veterinary office, including pieces of plant found in your cat's vomit.

 

The Bottom Line

It's your responsibility to take whatever steps you can to protect your cats from exposure to poisonous plants. If this means you have to get rid of some of your favorite plants, do so with a happy heart. Lucky for you, many plants are safe for cats that you can place around your home with peace of mind.

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