Houseplants bring life and a bit of nature into the home, but some can be dangerous if ingested, especially by curious cats. Since even the most responsible pet owners can't supervise their cats every second of the day, you can focus instead on removing toxic plants from their environment. Let's take a look at which plants are toxic to cats!
Cats are curious creatures, and sometimes that sense of adventure can get them into sticky situations. If your feline friend tends to nibble and lick, you'll want to keep a close eye on what they're investigating. This article will include plants that may be toxic, so you won't run the risk of accidentally poisoning your cat!
Are All Plants Toxic to Cats?
Not every plant is toxic to felines, but some are. We recommend that you treat every new plant as if it were harmful to your cat until you determine whether it's safe. It's always a good idea to monitor everything your cat eats to ensure it consumes healthy and edible food.
Not all poisonous plants are equally toxic to felines. Some may only cause mild irritation, while others may result in severe symptoms. Plants poisonous to felines show their symptoms quickly, so you'll know whether your cat ingested something it shouldn't have almost immediately.
Common Plants That Are Toxic to Cats
Many plants are poisonous to cats, but some are more likely to grace a home than others. Lilies are among the largest groups of plants that cause poisoning in cats, so you may want to play it safe and avoid them altogether. These are some popular plants that are poisonous to our feline friends:
- Autumn Crocus
- Lily of the Valley
- Sago Palm
- Peace Lily
- English Ivy (also referred to as simply "Ivy")
- Jade Plant
- Snake Plant
- Castor Bean
- Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa)
- Easter Lily
- Aloe Vera
While not all Lillies and Ivy plants are poisonous to cats, it's probably safer in the long run if cat owners stay away from these species. The plants that cause the most severe irritation are Lillies (though the Peace Lily induces a milder reaction), Hydrangeas, Sago Palms, and Oleanders.
Is Hemp Toxic to Cats?
The hemp plant itself is toxic to cats. If ingested, it could cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and stomach irritation. It is safe for ingestion only once the hemp plant material has been properly handled and processed into safe-to-consume products.
One example of the most popular hemp-derived product is CBD, which is both legal and generally safe for cats. While we don't advise letting your cat chew on cannabis leaves, CBD can actually be very beneficial for your feline friend. Experts have found that hemp oil is harmless for cats.
While CBD oil itself does not contain any toxic compounds to felines, it may become harmful if exposed to extreme heat. Substances change when heat is applied, and CBD oil will release peroxide if it gets hot enough. Peroxide is dangerous for cats, so be sure to keep your hemp oil cool.
As a reminder, make sure to only give your cat CBD products that have been specially made for pets! Some products made for humans may not be suitable for felines but ask your vet first just to be sure.
Can I Give My Cat CBD?
Yes, you can give your cat CBD! In fact, CBD for pets can even be used to help a cat that has accidentally ingested poisonous plants (after visiting a veterinarian first!). CBD can ease stomach discomfort, promote a calm state, and alleviate a sick animal's nervous thoughts.
CBD encourages these relaxed feelings throughout your pet's body by boosting its endocannabinoid system (ECS). Think of the ECS as a control room. It helps the body regulate its daily, essential functions by keeping everything in order and contributing to the cat's overall well-being.
The ECS is present in all mammals, and this control center is busy at work right now in your feline friend! You can give this system some support with CBD, which boosts the ECS's functionality. If the ECS is a control room full of busy technicians, CBD is the fresh pot of coffee that lifts their spirits!
What Happens if My Cat Eats a Toxic Plant?
If a plant is poisonous, this doesn't automatically mean that it is fatal. Poisonous plants for felines may cause gastrointestinal irritation, and symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, kidney failure, difficulty swallowing, liver failure, drooling, irregular heart palpitations, and in severe cases, death.
However, your cat WILL get sick if it eats a toxic plant. Vomiting and diarrhea are two of the most common signs of toxicity. If you notice these symptoms, check your plants for nibbled leaves. Take your cat to a veterinarian immediately if the problems persist, or contact an animal care organization.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has substantial resources for emergency pet care. Whether you're certain or unsure if your cat has eaten a toxic houseplant, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
What Parts of the Plant Are Toxic to Cats?
The pollen, needles, seeds, flowers, and leaves are potentially toxic to cats. This means that if a plant is listed as toxic, you should keep it either out of reach or out of the home completely. Which part of the plant is dangerous can also depend on its species.
For example, all parts of the Sago Palm contain cycasin, which can cause liver failure in felines. On the other hand, castor bean seeds pose a greater threat to cats than the rest of the plant's parts. Still, we don't recommend putting one of these plants in a space that is easily accessible by your pet.
You can remove the berries from English Ivy, but the leaves are still harmful. All parts of a lily are highly toxic to felines. Pruning leaves or removing seeds are good preventative steps, but the most prudent choice is to keep the plant out of reach from the animal or choose a non-toxic species.
Signs Your Cat Has Consumed a Toxic Plant
There are several reactions cats can have to toxic plants, and you may be able to assist in their treatment by informing the vet of their signs. We'll split common symptoms into mild, moderate, and severe so that you have a good idea of their condition. These are the mild indications of poisoning:
- Red, watery eyes
Moderate symptoms of poison ingestion include:
- Changes in urination or appetite
Serious signs of an emergency are:
- Heart palpitations
- Breathing difficulties
What To Do if Your Cat Consumes a Toxic Plant
If your cat shows mild toxicity symptoms such as drooling, it may not have consumed too much poison. Closely monitor your pet and take them to the vet immediately if the problems persist. If your cat eats leaves, flowers, or other plant parts that cause vomiting and diarrhea, take it to the vet for treatment.
Moderate to severe symptoms should be considered an emergency. Give your cat access to food and water but do not force them to eat or drink if they are vomiting. The most important thing you can do is safely transport your cat to a pet hospital or animal care center like the ASPCA. If possible, bring a part of the consumed plant to the vet so they can better diagnose and treat the issue.
Final Thoughts - Plants That Are Toxic to Cats
Houseplants like Lilies, Aloe, or Jade are popular choices for sprucing up a home. All plants have their benefits, but we need to keep a closer eye on toxic plants around our furry friends by ensuring they are far out of reach or gone completely from the household! Try pet-safe plants like the Gloxinia, African Violet, or Areca Palm to make sure your cat will never be at risk and to keep your home as beautiful as possible!