Did you know there are plants that are toxic and even deadly to cats? Cat owners who love to decorate their homes with beautiful flowers and other plants should be aware of what might potentially harm a cat. Since cats are naturally curious animals, they will likely want to take a nibble of the plants in or around your home. Every cat lover should be aware of what plants are dangerous to cats. While some plants must be avoided, there are plenty of alternatives that can be purchased and are equally beautiful!
The first step to keeping your cat as safe as possible is to keep it indoors. If you have an indoor cat, you will only have to worry about the plants inside and immediately surrounding your house (although it is safest to keep all the plants on your property cat-friendly). For some cats, a combination of living indoors and outdoors is the best way to stay happy and healthy. Outdoor cat owners should be extra careful with the plants they keep on their property. They should also be observant of where their cat ventures outside. An outdoor cat could come across a neighbor’s toxic plant. General signs to look for to determine whether a cat might have eaten a toxic plant include vomiting, seizures, diarrhea, hiding, lethargy, and lack of appetite. If you see your cat eat a toxic flower or plant, or even if you suspect it has eaten something toxic, be sure to call a veterinarian or pet poison hotline immediately.
Not all plants are harmful to cats. In fact, some are very helpful! Many cat owners purchase and grow cat grass for their cats. Cat grass can be grown in a small pot indoors, and a good place to grow it is in your cat’s favorite sunning spot. Cats will come up to the pot and nibble on the grass when they are ready for a snack. This can be a healthy part of your cat’s diet. Of course, cats love catnip as well. Catnip can be grown or purchased dried.
Please take a look at and get to know the following list of plants. See the links for more information on and images of the plants. Remembering which plants are toxic to cats can help keep your feline friend safe and healthy! This is not an exhaustive list, and before purchasing any plant for a home with cats, be sure to check and see if it is toxic.
Lily – Lilies are very common plants, especially around Easter. They are extremely toxic to cats. Even eating a couple petals or leaves or drinking water from the plant’s vase can result in death. If you see a cat eat any part of a lily, you should take it and the plant to a veterinarian immediately. Cats that have eaten lilies can be saved, but steps must be taken very quickly after the cat has ingested the plant.
Sago Palm – The sago palm is a common decorative plant in warm climates. It looks like a small, short palm tree, but is not technically a palm. They are primitive plants that were dominant when dinosaurs were alive. Sometimes, sago palms are grown indoors as houseplants. All of the sago palm is toxic, and the seeds are the most toxic part. The survival rate for cats that have ingested any part of the sago palm is estimated to be at 50%, even with aggressive treatment.
Dracaena – Sometimes these plants are called corn plants, cornstalk plants, dragon trees, or ribbon plants. They are popular indoor plants because they help to keep air clean, are easy to maintain, and can live in low light. Their most notable characteristic is their long, flat green leaves.
Amaryllis – These plants are grown from a bulb and have flowers that look similar to lilies. They are popular as indoor plants but can be grown outdoors in tropical and subtropical climates. The bulbs can be popular gifts, so if you receive a bulb that might be amaryllis, be sure to determine exactly what it is before growing it.
English Ivy – This plant can grow in a variety of soil types and is popular in gardens. It can also be found in forest edges, fields, and coastal areas. It can grow both in vine form or as a shrub. The vines can reach up to 99 feet in length. Cat owners need to be especially careful when it comes to English Ivy because of its ability to aggressively grow up buildings and its popularity in gardens and landscaping.
Tulips – Tulips are very common and popular plants for outdoor gardens. The most toxic part of a tulip is the bulb, and poisoning could easily result if a cat (or dog) digs up a bulb. Eating the leaves and flowers can cause irritation to a cat’s mouth and esophagus. For those who grow tulips but do not have cats, putting up mesh netting around the garden that the tulips are in can help deter a cat from entering.
Please take a look at the links below for more information on plants and flowers toxic to cats:
- Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List – Cats
- Plants that are Toxic to Cats
- Plants and Your Cat
- Plants That May Poison Your Pets
- What Common Plants are Poisonous to Cats?