orange and white cat with chair and houseplants - 17 houseplants that are poisonous to cats

17 Houseplants That Are Poisonous to Cats

If you’ve ever felt bad for a houseplant when your cat has damaged it, know that plants can hold their own. In fact, there’s an extraordinary number of houseplants that are poisonous to cats. This post will show you some of the more common varieties that you might want to avoid if you want your plants to peacefully coexist with your feline friends.

The ASPCA has a much more extensive list of plants that are toxic to cats. That list served as our source for information on the clinical signs of ingestion. We encourage you to refer to it if you’re interested in learning which plants to avoid in your outdoor garden, too.

The ASPCA cautions, as do we, that if you think your cat might have eaten any part of one of these plants, no matter how small the bite, you should get in touch with your veterinarian immediately. If left untreated, poisoning often gets worse. The faster you act, the better.

Common Houseplants That Are Poisonous to Cats

These ordinary household plants are all toxic to cats in varying degrees. Their toxicity depends on a number of factors, including how large your cat is, any underlying health conditions they have, as well as how much the cat ate. If in doubt, don’t take chances—call your vet.

Aloe (Aloe vera)

The gel of this plant is safe to consume, but the white latex layer of the plant is not. Signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, anorexia and lethargy. Symptoms could be mild, depending on the amount consumed.

Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.)

While the bulbs are the most toxic part of this plant, the stalks and flowers are also poisonous.

If your cat ingests amaryllis, they might experience drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, depression, anorexia, tremors and seizures.

Azalea (Rhododendron spp.)

The azalea might be beautiful, but all parts of it are toxic and your cat will not need to eat much of it to experience problems. Signs of azalea poisoning include vomiting and diarrhea, weakness, lethargy, tremors, abnormal heart rhythms and even heart failure.

Begonia (Begonia spp.)

Begonias are among the less poisonous plants on this list, but any cat who ingests it should still be seen by a veterinarian. Clinical signs of toxicity include drooling, redness and irritation of the mouth, anorexia and vomiting. In large amounts, it can lead to liver failure. The roots are the most toxic part.

Cyclamen (Cyclamen spp.)

All parts of this lovely plant are toxic, although the roots are especially so. Cats who ingest cyclamen could experience drooling, vomiting and diarrhea. If ingested in large amounts, seizures and heart failure could occur.

Dumbcane (Dieffenbachia)

Dumbcane leaves and stalks are both poisonous. They’re also extremely bitter, which will hopefully be enough to deter your cat from eating it. Watch your feline friend for drooling, irritation of the mouth, difficulty swallowing and vomiting.

Elephant’s Ear (both Caladium hortulanum and Alocasia)

The leaves and stems of elephant’s ear plants are the most toxic part. Signs of poisoning include swelling, pain or irritation of the mouth, drooling, difficulty swallowing and vomiting. These plants can cause skin irritation on contact, as well.

English Ivy (Hedera helix)

ivy - 17 houseplants that are poisonous to cats

Ivy plants are moderately toxic, especially the leaves. Ingesting ivy can lead to drooling, vomiting and diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Jade (Crassula argentea)

Jade is very poisonous to cats. The highest concentration of toxins is found in the leaves. Signs of poisoning include vomiting, depression, lethargy and incoordination. Your cat might appear as if they’re drunk, which will not be as cute as it sounds.

Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe spp.)

All parts of this plant are toxic and can cause gastrointestinal problems. Ingesting kalanchoe can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and, if your cat eats enough of it, heart arrhythmias and seizures.

Oleander (Nerium oleander)

The oleander is so toxic that even the water in a vase of cut oleander flowers can cause reactions if it’s consumed. Needless to say, no part of it is safe to eat. Signs of oleander poisoning include drooling, diarrhea, abdominal pain, depression and death.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

Peace lilies are another plant that’s highly toxic and can impair a cat’s kidney function even in small amounts. Watch for drooling, difficulty swallowing, extreme mouth irritation, vomiting, lack of appetite and depression.

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Both the leaves and the stems of the pothos plant are toxic. Signs of pothos ingestion include irritation and burning of the mouth, drooling, difficulty swallowing and vomiting. While not typically life-threatening, pothos poisoning can be very painful.

Sago Palms (Cycas revoluta)

Sago palms are very poisonous, and even small amounts of them can lead to liver damage. All parts are toxic. Signs of sago ingestion include vomiting and diarrhea (both of which might be bloody), increased thirst, bruising, dark stools, jaundice, liver failure and death.

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

This plant is on the milder side of poisonous, which still doesn’t make it great. Ingesting the leaves of snake plants can lead to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa)

We all love this plant for its leaves, but those leaves are very toxic to cats, as are the stems. If you think your cat consumed some, look for signs of pain, swelling and irritation of the mouth, drooling, difficulty swallowing and vomiting.

Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)

The leaves, sap and fruit of the fig tree are all poisonous. Ingestion of any of these can cause skin irritation and gastrointestinal upset. Skin contact can cause irritation, as well.

Some Seasonal Plants That Are Poisonous to Cats

In addition to all the regular plants that are bad for your cat, many seasonal plants can also pose a danger.

It’s wonderful to bring some festive greenery inside during the holiday season. Unfortunately, much of the greenery we traditionally use to celebrate is toxic to cats. This includes holly, ivy, pine, poinsettias, eucalyptus and mistletoe.

In the spring, be wary of crocus, daffodils and hyacinths. Also keep lilies (both Easter lilies and Asiatic lilies) out of your cat’s reach.

In fact, with all the plants that are harmful to cats, it might just be safer to scroll down to the bottom of the ASPCA’s list of plants to find a few non-toxic options.

Feature image: cottonbro; Image 1: Brett Sayles

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