21 Plants that are Harmful to Cats
“In a cat’s eye, all things belong to cats.”
It’s a fact that cats love plants. Whether indoors or outdoors, they love chewing, gnawing, and nibbling plants. They are probably attracted by the scent, the taste, the waving leaves, or they do it out of boredom. No matter what the reason is, cats are very much attracted to plants. As a cat parent, you should be aware of the plants you have inside your home or in the garden. Here are 21 plants that are harmful to cats:
Amaryllis plants contain lycorine, an alkaloid chemical that is poisonous to cats. Aside from lycorine, the plant also contains other harmful substances. Ingestion can cause drooling, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, depression, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, low blood pressure, and tremors.
The autumn crocus contains an alkaloid called colchicine that is harmful to cats. Symptoms of autumn crocus poisoning include salivation, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, difficulty in breathing, seizures, liver damage, kidney damage, and in worst cases, death.
Azalea plants contain grayanotoxins that are toxic to cats. Signs of azalea poisoning include drooling, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, hypotension, seizures, coma, and even death.
A castor bean plant contains a powerful natural toxin called ricin. This toxin can be found in small amounts in the whole plant but is highly concentrated in the seeds. Ingestion can cause excessive salivation, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, weakness, hypotension, lack of appetite, tremors, and death.
Chrysanthemum plants contain a natural insecticide or pyrethroids known as pyrethrin. Signs of chrysanthemum poisoning include coughing, salivating, vomiting, lack of appetite, depression, discoordination, and agitation.
Cyclamen contains a toxic substance called saponins. You can find this noxious component all over the plant but it is highly concentrated in the roots and tubers. Signs of cyclamen poisoning include drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heartbeat, seizures, and in worst cases, death.
Daffodils contain alkaloids and glycosides. These toxins can be found in the flower but are highly concentrated in the bulbs. Daffodils contain toxic calcium oxalate crystals as well. Signs of poisoning include salivation, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension, drowsiness, breathing difficulty, and convulsions.
Also known as dumb cane, dieffenbachia contains noxious calcium oxalate crystals. Symptoms of poisoning include a burning sensation in the mouth, panting, salivating, gasping, wheezing, restlessness, and vomiting.
English ivy plants contain sapogenin and polyacetylene compounds which are both naturally occurring chemicals. Signs of English ivy poisoning include excessive drooling, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea.
The sap of euphorbias is toxic to cats. Symptoms of poisoning include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, skin irritation, and in worst cases, liver and kidney failure.
The bulb of the hyacinth contains high concentrations of calcium oxalate raphides, lycorine alkaloids, and allergenic lactones. Symptoms of hyacinth poisoning include drooling, nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, depression, breathing difficulty, and tremors.
The buds and leaves of the hydrangea plant contain cyanogenic glycosides that when ingested and mixed with water releases hydrocyanic acid inside your pet’s body. When this happens, the cells are deprived of oxygen and the body responds negatively. Symptoms of hydrangea poisoning include nausea, vomiting, breathing difficulty, abdominal pain, diarrhea, depression, convulsions, and coma.
The kalanchoe plant contains toxins called bufadienolides that are harmful to cats. Signs of poisoning include drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, arrhythmias, seizures, and collapse.
There are numerous lily plants but the most dangerous to cats are Easter lilies, Japanese lilies, stargazer lilies, red lilies, daylilies, wood lilies, Western lilies, and Asiatic lilies. Ingesting a petal or two, drinking water from the vase, licking pollen, or chewing on a leaf or two could lead to death. Symptoms of poisoning include drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, seizures, and death.
Every part of the oleander plant contains toxins called cardiac glycosides that have an adverse effect on the heart muscle. Signs of oleander poisoning include drooling, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, lethargy, weakness, discoordination, collapse, dilated pupils, and death.
Pothos plants contain calcium oxalate crystals that are released when a cat bites the plant. Signs of poisoning include pain in the mouth, excessive drooling, vomiting, lack of appetite, and swallowing difficulty.
A sago palm plant contains a toxin called cycasin that when eaten goes directly to the liver and causes liver failure and even death. Symptoms of sago palm poisoning include salivation, nose bleeds, vomiting, depression, diarrhea, weakness, convulsions, liver failure, and death.
Toxic from roots to leaves, Schefflera plants have specialized cells called idioblasts that contain raphides calcium crystals. Symptoms of poisoning include drooling, dysphagia, dyspnea, choking, convulsions, renal failure, coma, and death.
The skunk cabbage plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that are harmful to cats. Symptoms of poisoning include drooling, oral pain, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Tulips contain toxins known as tulipalin that are harmful to cats. Symptoms of tulip poisoning include excessive salivation, dizziness, vomiting, labored breathing, diarrhea, convulsions, coma, and even sudden death.
The yew plant contains unknown toxins that are harmful to cats. Symptoms of yew poisoning include salivation, nausea, vomiting, dyspnea, diarrhea, weakness, tremors, convulsions, coma, and death.
Cats are curious creatures. They love exploring and climbing, there is no such thing as “out of reach” in their vocabulary. If you want to keep plants inside your house or garden, make sure that the plants you choose are cat-friendly. For a complete list of plants toxic to cats, you can check out ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants Lists.
If you suspect that your cat has ingested a poisonous plant, call your vet immediately or you can call ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Hotline at (888) 426-4435.