The plants on display in your home and the flowers blooming in your garden look beautiful. However, did you know they can also harm your furry feline friends? That your cat can consume poisonous plants?
Before bringing plants or flowers into your home or onto your property, ensure you’re not accidentally introducing poisonous plants to cats. This guide discusses some of the most dangerous plants that are poisonous for cats and presents some safer alternatives.
Which Common Plants and Flowers Are Poisonous to Cats?
You might be surprised at the number of plants and flowers that are poisonous to cats. Here are some of the most well-known varieties to keep in mind:
- Lily: May cause an upset stomach and kidney failure
- Day Lily: May cause an upset stomach and kidney failure
- Cycad or Sago Palm: May cause severe stomach upset, liver failure, and neurological issues
- Pothos/Devil’s Ivy: May irritate the mouth and gastrointestinal tract
- Peace Lily: May irritate the mouth and gastrointestinal tract
- Azalea: May cause heart rate abnormalities and neurological issues
- Aloe Vera: May cause diarrhea and vomiting
- Philodendron: May irritate the mouth and gastrointestinal tract
- Hosta: May cause vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite
- Tulips: Bulbs may cause heart rate, rhythm, and blood pressure abnormalities; the rest of the flower may cause an upset stomach
- Daffodils: Bulbs may cause heart rate, rhythm, and blood pressure abnormalities; the rest of the flower may cause an upset stomach
Some plants are more harmful than others. For example, even the water that lilies rest in is poisonous, whereas the effects from tulip petals are less likely to cause long-term issues.
Despite these differences, it’s still a good general practice to assume that all parts of the plants and flowers listed above are toxic to cats.
Signs of Plant Toxicity in Cats
Cats are independent creatures and keeping track of them all day can be challenging. As a result, you might not know if or when they’ve consumed a toxic plant until they start showing symptoms.
Here are some warning signs that might indicate your cat has eaten something they shouldn’t have:
- Redness, swelling, or itchiness of the eyes, mouth, or skin
- Gastrointestinal distress (vomiting or diarrhea)
- Difficult breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Excessive water consumption
- Increased urination
- Heartbeat changes (fast, slow, or irregular)
The sooner you notice signs of toxicity, the better.
If something seems off with your cat, trust your gut. Don’t just assume they’ll shake it off and recover.
What Should I Do if My Cat Eats a Poisonous Plant?
If you know or think your cat has consumed a poisonous plant, try not to panic. Taking the following steps will help you properly treat your cat and get them the help they need:
- Remove remaining plant matter from the cat’s fur or mouth
- Confine your cat to a safe area to monitor them
- Contact a local pet poison hotline
- Contact your vet
Try to identify the specific plant your cat consumed, too. This information will help the vet take the appropriate steps when diagnosing and treating them.
When you get your cat to the vet, they might administer medications to encourage vomiting. They may also use activated charcoal to absorb remaining toxins in the digestive tract or sucralfate to protect damaged parts of the stomach.
After initial treatment, the vet may also offer supportive care, including pain medication, anti-inflammatory medication, and intravenous fluids. They’ll also monitor your cat to see how the treatment works and ensure their symptoms don’t worsen.
Possible Consequences of Poisoning
Cats that consume toxic plants don’t always survive their effects. Certain plants, particularly lilies, can be fatal to cats.
Even if your cat survives after consuming a toxic plant, they might face long-term consequences.
For example, the cat might need to take medications long-term (possibly forever). They might also need to follow a special diet.
What Are Safe Alternatives to Toxic Plants for Cats?
The best way to prevent your cat from consuming poisonous plants is not to have them in your home in the first place.
Yes, this is a bit of a bummer, especially if you’ve put a lot of time and money into cultivating your collection. Your cat’s health and safety are worth the effort to swap out your plants, though.
The good news is that you don’t have to give up your love of fresh flowers or gorgeous greenery to protect your cat. Here are some safe alternatives to consider instead:
It might have a dangerous-sounding name, but this plant is still safe for cats. They’re also excellent for those who lack a green thumb, as they thrive out of direct sunlight.
Not only are spider plants safe for cats, but they also have powerful air-purifying properties. These plants are highly resilient, too, and grow well without direct sunlight.
If you want a palm plant for your home, skip the sago palm and choose a parlor palm instead. Parlor palms are slow-growing, cat-safe plants that need just a bit of indirect sunlight to survive.
Do you prefer flowering plants instead of purely green ones? If so, African violet is an excellent choice that adds color to your home and won’t harm your beloved cat if ingested.
Gloxinia plants have stunning red, blue, pink, and purple flowers. Native to Brazil, these unique plants are gorgeous and veterinarian-approved.
Orchids are another excellent flowering plant for cat lovers. The only downside is that they don’t bloom very often (once per year for up to three months).
Has Your Cat Come in Contact with a Toxic Plant?
After reading this guide, have you realized that some of your houseplants are toxic to animals?
We all make mistakes, so there’s no need to beat yourself up. Now that you know which plants are harmful, it’s time to switch them out for safe alternatives.
If, during the transition process, your feline cat consumes poisonous plants, remember to reach out to a vet immediately.
A video consultation with one of Cooper Pet Care’s qualified veterinarians is only a few clicks away. Fast, simple, and secure – get the answers you need.