Plants That Are Toxic to Cats

Many common plants we have around the house or in your garden are toxic to cats. Today, our Boulder and Westminster vets discuss some of the toxic plants you may have at your home, as well as signs your cat has eaten a toxic plant, and how you can help your companion if it occurs.

Cat Poisoning

Since cats love to explore and jump around, it can be difficult to keep plants that may be toxic to them out of reach.

To help protect your cat from illness, our Boulder and Westminster vets recommend that you take the time to research the plants in your house (and in your garden for outdoor cats) to ensure they don't pose a threat to your feline friend.

Protecting Your Cat

Removing toxic houseplants from your home, or moving them to a room your cat doesn't have access to, is the safest thing that you can do for your pet. Nevertheless, if your cat does ingest a toxic or poisonous houseplant, knowing the plant's name could help your vet to quickly treat your feline friend.

If you notice your cat eating any plant that you're unsure of, call your vet. 

Plants That Are Toxic to Cats

Several plants are poisonous or toxic to cats. The list below includes many of the most common plants that could harm your cat or kitten:
  • Oleander 
  • Peace Lily 
  • Pothos, Devil’s Ivy
  • Sago Palm
  • Spanish Thyme
  • Tulip
  • Yew
  • Spring bulbs 
  • Amaryllis 
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Azaleas and Rhododendrons
  • Castor Bean
  • Chrysanthemum 
  • Daffodils
  • Dieffenbachia 
  • English Ivy 
  • Hyacinths
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lily
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Marijuana 

Toxic Parts of Plants

Pollen, needles, seeds, flowers, and leaves can all be potentially toxic for cats. Cats often ingest toxic plant substances while grooming themselves due to pollen or seeds being trapped in their fur or on their paws. Bored cats may find that a hanging plant makes for an amusing toy and chew the leaves or vines while playing.

Signs Your Cat May Have Ingested a Toxic Plant

Different plants pose different health risks to cats, and some are much more dangerous than others. Symptoms of plant poisoning in cats can range from mild skin irritations to serious issues impacting the kidneys or heart.

Symptoms of Irritants

  • Red, watery eyes
  • Irritation around the mouth
  • Itchiness, scratching
  • Swelling

Gastrointestinal Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Other Serious Symptoms

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Drooling, difficulties swallowing
  • Frequent Urination
  • Irregular heartbeat

What to Do if Your Cat Has Been Eating Plants 

See your vet if you notice your cat eating a plant that you are unsure of. Before heading to the vet there are a few things you should do:

Move Your Cat to Safety

Calmly remove any bits of plant from around your cat's mouth, paws, or fur, then move your cat to a safe confined space (well away from the plant) while you prepare to see the vet.

Identify the Poison

Take a few seconds to identify the plant that your cat has been eating before calling your vet, or if it's after hours, seek emergency veterinary care. Let the vet know what has happened and that you will be bringing your cat in for an examination.

Bring a Sample of the Plant With You

Bring along a sample of the plant to show your emergency veterinarian, or if you are unsure which plant your cat has been eating consider bringing in a sample of your cat's vomit containing the plant material.

Diagnosis of Plant Poisoning in Cats

Being able to identify the plant that your cat has ingested will give your vet a head start when it comes to diagnosing and treating your pet.

Your vet will need to run a series of diagnostic tests in order to identify the poison ingested if you are unable to provide the name of the plant, or a sample of the plant matter. These tests will be necessary for your vet to provide appropriate treatment.

Are you concerned your cat has ingested a toxic plant? Contact our Boulder and Westminster vets right away for emergency care.