Home » other animals » 47 plants poisonous to cats: get rid of them from the house [PHOTOS

47 plants poisonous to cats: get rid of them from the house [PHOTOS

Plants poisonous to cats

Every owner of a domestic cat was surely convinced in the veterinary office that his pet, thanks to living in a strictly controlled and friendly environment, in the privacy of four walls, is exposed to much less threats awaiting other wild cats.

And there is indeed a lot of truth in this, which undoubtedly translates into a much longer life for indoor cats. Such cats avoid contact with individuals of their species, fighting for territory, fleas, worms or infected with infectious diseases. They do not succumb to traffic accidents, bites or any other dangerous events lurking in the dangerous, modern world full of devices that make life easier for man. They are also often sterilized or neutered, which significantly extends their life expectancy.

On the other hand, while sitting in a confined space, in a limited space, they may experience boredom and frustration, which results from the lack of a sufficient portion of exercise and the monotonous living environment. It is difficult to meet all the behavioral needs of a cat by being on a daily basis in several dozen square meters of an apartment, often with other animals.

We should also remember that such a life, although it has many advantages, unfortunately, is not devoid of other dangers that must never be forgotten. I mean poisoning with various substances with which our ward may come into contact with a potentially friendly and only by definition safe home environment.

The times when the main poison that a cat could ingest are slowly going back to the past rat poison.

Today, cats that have eaten a green plant or a beautiful-looking home flower go to clinics much more often.

In this article, I will try to draw your attention to what to consider when living with a cat under the same roof in the context of your plants and thus eliminate potential dangers and the risk of poisoning for your pets.

  • Plant poisoning in a cat
  • The behavior of poisons in the cat's body
  • Symptoms of plant poisoning in cats
    • Lily poisoning in a cat
    • Poisoning with diphenbachia in a cat
  • Plants poisonous to the cat
    • Plants that are toxic to cats and are used to compose bouquets
    • Potted plants poisonous to the cat
    • Garden and wild plants dangerous for the cat
  • Treatment of poisoning in a cat
    • Emetic drugs
    • Activated carbon
    • Enema
    • Fluid therapy
    • Diuretic drugs
    • Antidotes
  • Plants safe for the cat
  • Cat grass

Plant poisoning in a cat

Plant poisoning in a cat

When writing about poisoning cats with plants that they can find in their living environment, we automatically eliminate a number of other potentially dangerous substances that our cat may encounter.

At the outset, we must also realize that in almost one hundred percent of cases it will be accidental poisoning and not deliberately giving the cat something that will hurt him. It is difficult to imagine a situation where the owner will deliberately give plant substances in order to get rid of his ward, and thus to take his life.

Today's world is full of freely available products that can cause lethal poisoning in our pets. And although there are no precise, detailed statistical data, deliberate cases of poisoning, fortunately, do not often occur in veterinary medicine.

The concept of poisoning is well known to everyone, and if we wanted to precisely define what it means, we would have to write that:

poisoning is a deliberate (deliberate) or accidental introduction to the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, skin or mucous membranes of various toxic substances that significantly interfere with the metabolism and homeostasis of the body, which will result in serious health disorders, often including death.

In other words, it is a set of disease symptoms that appear in the body as a result of the action of a poisonous substance administered in a harmful amount, i.e. a dose.

Writing Fr dangerous plants in the environment of the cat in the context of poisoning, we mean almost always accidental ingestion, i.e. the delivery of poisons through the food or, less frequently, through the eye mucosa.

In order for poisoning to occur, a harmful substance must enter the body and be included in the functioning metabolic pathways. Therefore, the mere possession of beautiful but deadly potted plants will not pose a threat to the health and life of the cat, but only their entry into the digestive tract, and thus eating them.

In the surrounding environment, we can find many thousands of potentially dangerous plants, the consumption of which will end in full-blown poisoning, whether it be people or animals, which of course does not mean that such cases occur frequently.

In nature, animals are able, thanks to the natural instinct that determines the survival of the species, to perfectly distinguish everything that is harmful and simply avoid it. Otherwise, we would not be able to enjoy the relationship with a domestic cat for a long time, which would probably be destroyed, that is, it would simply become extinct.

From a chemical point of view, there is not much difference between pharmacological substances (drugs) and poisons, although it may seem strange to some. In both cases, they modify the physiology of the system with the only difference that in the event of poisoning, these changes are irreversible and often lead to cell death.

Poisons can have an effect:

  • neurotoxic, i.e. damage nerve cells,
  • ototoxic causing damage within the ear structures,
  • hepatotoxic leading to liver failure,
  • nephrotoxic destructive to the kidneys,
  • cardiotoxic, e.g.:
    • digitalis glycosides,
    • rhododendron,
    • Lily of the valley,
    • yew,
    • an avocado,
  • hematotoxic for blood toxicity.
Lily of the valley is poisonous to the cat

However, cases of poisoning occur as a kind of accidents caused by the curiosity of animals who want to try something new or as a consequence of neglect or ignorance of the man himself.

Often the owner is completely unaware of having plants that are deadly to felids in his home. We never assume that a cat, being a typically carnivorous animal, is able to eat a plant, and also a poisonous one.

We also often do not have elementary knowledge about what we bought in a florist, assessing the flowers in terms of their appearance.

For poisoning to occur and for specific symptoms to occur, the amount of the ingested toxic substance must be exceeded, in other words toxic dose. The toxic dose is the amount of a given substance that causes symptoms of poisoning. And as we all know, sometimes little is needed to harm.

The parameter that informs us about the harmfulness is certainly toxicity class specifying a value LD50 based on the conducted experiments. LD 50 is a conventional value used to compare the toxicity of different substances and represents the dose that causes death in half of the individuals exposed to it. The lower, the greater the harmfulness.

And this is how we distinguish substances among it:

  • super-toxic,
  • extremely toxic,
  • very toxic,
  • moderately toxic,
  • slightly toxic.

In fact, according to an old Paraselsus maxim:

everything is poison and nothing is poison only the dose decides whether something is poison.

Thus, clinical symptoms of poisoning will appear after consuming the right dose and taking a small amount, even of a poisonous plant, may not give symptoms of poisoning.

Plants often contain substances known generally as alkaloids showing great toxicity to felids.

Simply put, everything really depends on whether a given alkaloid is absorbed in the digestive tract and thus continues to undergo complicated metabolic processes.

The specific metabolism of cats and the lack of certain enzymes or their residual amounts also play a significant role here. From general information, we must know that most poisonings are acute, so they appear quite quickly after eating the toxic plant, usually within a few hours.

All these general information is to show us how various poisonings can be and you should never throw everything into one bag because in the case of a specific poisoning, the spectrum of symptoms or the time after which they manifest themselves is slightly different and, above all, the prognosis for recovery.

The behavior of poisons in the cat's body

Poisonous substances that your cat can take up while eating plants have a multidirectional effect on the body and most of them have a general effect, i.e it damages many organs and organs at the same time. Some plant substances show additionally local irritating effect on skin and mucous membranes.

In order for the poisons to have a systemic effect, they must be absorbed through the alimentary tract. Characteristically, the short digestive tract of a cat adapted to digest proteins from the bodies of its victims determines the fast transit time of the food content.

After swallowing the poisonous part of the plant, they first end up in the stomach where there is an acidic environment pH of the order of 1.5-2. Under such conditions, few substances are absorbed, which is certainly beneficial in case of poisoning.

Unfortunately, the further located small intestine z pH 6.7 to 9.2 creates ideal conditions for absorption, which determines the appearance of clinical symptoms. From here the toxic substances get into liver where they undergo intensive metabolic changes, i.e. biotransformation. It is here with the help of complex enzyme systems and the entire cycle of changes (cytochrome P450, mono-oxygenase, ketoreductase, reductase) toxic substances are processed and excreted in urine, bile or faeces.

The problem in cats is the low activity of certain metabolic pathways, e.g. glucuronidation which is manifested in the ease of poisoning with certain substances. The low efficiency of these processes, in turn, causes a very slow excretion of toxins from the body and prolonged symptoms of poisoning.

In the case of poisoning, the most important thing is the excretion of metabolites of poisons via the kidneys, hence renal filtration and its intensification are very important. It depends on the blood supply to the kidneys and it, of course, decreases in the event of vomiting or refusing to drink fluids, therefore it is extremely important to properly hydrate the poisoned cat.

So we can see briefly how the poisons themselves intervene in the complicated and diverse processes, which in turn leads to a very serious disturbance of the homeostasis of the system.

Symptoms of plant poisoning in cats

Symptoms of plant poisoning in cats

Poisoning resulting from eating poisonous plants in a cat will usually result in sudden clinical symptoms, often with a dramatic course.

A cat from a completely healthy individual, having fun and disturbing in a moment becomes very sick and suffering.

Of course, their palette will largely depend on what our client will eat and in what quantity.

Poisonous plants contain very different alkaloids and irritants, hence it is difficult to describe the poisoning in general to list all possible clinical symptoms.

Nevertheless, what will characterize them is the suddenness of occurrence, a short time from ingesting the poison to the appearance of very drastic symptoms and a significant deterioration of the clinical condition.

If we were to generalize, we would certainly observe the symptoms of the gastrointestinal tract in the form of vomiting if drooling, which result from irritation of the gastrointestinal mucosa by ingested toxins.

Funny cat vomiting
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The animal will show a complete lack of appetite, that is anorexia which probably does not surprise anyone.

There may be blood in the vomit or diarrhea in stool.

Not taking food and water, the deepened loss of fluids in the form of vomiting leads to dehydration, which further worsens the patient's condition.

You may experience fever, coughing and sneezing.

Various symptoms coming from the nervous system will also be quite characteristic, in the form of:

  • over-agitation,
  • balance disorders,
  • seizures,
  • significant impairment of consciousness,
  • fainting, leading to loss of consciousness.

Often there is also:

  • constriction or dilation of the pupils,
  • problems with maintaining balance,
  • excessive vocalization,
  • aggressiveness,
  • uncoordinated body movements.

Sometimes we encounter excessive sedation, lethargy or disturbance of consciousness manifested by not responding to external stimuli.

Poisoning with alkaloids present in plants can produce cardiological symptoms in the form of either very increased heart rate, tachycardia and heart rhythm disturbances or on the contrary - slowing down his work that is bradycardia and heart collapse in extreme cases ends cardiac arrest.

They also have poisoned cats often trouble breathing demonstrating dyspnoea manifested by catching air at all costs.

It all magnifies feeling anxious and anxious.

Sometimes we meet with strong, uncontrolled muscle contractions body which will lead to severe soreness.

The animal may unconsciously pass faeces or urine or, on the contrary, not pee at all, which is a symptom of extremely damaged kidneys.

It may also have yellowish mucous membranes due to liver damage.

When changes in the kidneys or liver are very severe and necrosis of these organs occurs, the animal goes into a coma, from where it is not far to death.

And although it is impossible to list all the symptoms, we can clearly see how serious these disorders are and that there is really something to be afraid of, the more so because they occur so suddenly.

We must also be aware of what I would like to emphasize once again that the clinical symptoms will be strictly dependent on the ingested toxin and can sometimes be very different from each other.

Lily poisoning in a cat

Lily poisoning in a cat

Writing about the possible symptoms of poisoning, I mentioned a little general what should certainly make the owner of the cat anxious.

Now let's look at the poisoning on a specific example of a plant that is a lily.

More than one woman got this beautiful flower for various ceremonies, which not only pleased the eye, but also provided a beautiful fragrance in the apartment. However, are we aware of the dangers associated with it in the context of poisoning in domestic cats??

Cats nibbling lilies put in a vase risk serious health problems, including death. This is because of being induced by them acute kidney injury an organ without which no organism is able to function. The alkaloids contained in the lily show a strong nephrotoxic effect. Many plants are called lilies, but in fact not all belong to them.

All plants of the Lilium genus are deadly, for example:

  • Asiatic lilies,
  • oriental lilies,
  • Easter lilies,
  • Hemerocalis.

Consuming any part of this plant can be deadly and should not be underestimated under any circumstances.

Symptoms of poisoning appear extremely quickly after consuming the plant and are manifested in the form of:

  • vomiting,
  • stomach pain,
  • diarrhea,
  • drooling,
  • general sadness.

So they are very nonspecific and it is difficult to immediately associate them with poisoning. Often, the unaware owner suspects gastrointestinal problems that pass after some time.

And although sick cats feel better for a while, it does not mean that the threat has passed. The poisoning develops secretly, leading after just a few days to symptoms of kidney damage manifested by excessive thirst, i.e polydipsia, initially accompanied by excessive urination, i.e polyuria and then anuria (anuria).

There is a strong apathy and dehydration of the body, which further aggravates the failure.

Symptoms are nonspecific and late therapy often ends with the death of the animal, all because of such an innocent plant as a lily.

Urea and creatine jump lightningly, and we'll find the present in our urine kidney rollers clearly indicative of kidney damage.

Poisoning with diphenbachia in a cat

Poisoning with diphenbachia in a cat

In turn, a popular houseplant as it is difenbachia it can also be extremely dangerous to cats.

It contains insoluble calcium oxalates and oxalic acid in the form of sharp irritating needles.

When a cat bites a leaf, when it is in the mouth and comes into contact with saliva, it causes painful irritation of the mucous membranes and inflammation manifested by pain and swelling.

Contact with calcium oxalates causes an extremely pronounced allergic reaction, which is accompanied by release histamine.

Symptoms of cat poisoning with diphenbachia include:

  • excessive salivation,
  • sore tongue,
  • itching of these parts of the digestive tract causes a great feeling of discomfort,
  • breathing problems, sometimes fatal due to narrowing of the airways.

When the plant enters the digestive tract, the following occurs:

  • diarrhea,
  • severe abdominal pain,
  • vomiting, which is a symptom of inflammation of the mucosa and leads to dehydration.

Calcium oxalates are not toxic in themselves, but a severe allergic reaction to their consumption unfortunately poses a serious health risk to cats.

They are also popular with us wingflowers if anthurium.

These are, of course, only examples of plants and toxic symptoms that can occur in cats after eating them.

Plants poisonous to the cat

Plants toxic to cats

Many owners are completely unaware of the fact that a beautiful-looking, eye-catching potted plant or cut flower can pose a deadly threat to a cat. It can also be misleading to believe that cat owners would never eat a houseplant.

Sometimes the clinical symptoms of poisoning do not appear immediately, but they appear after a few days, which makes it more difficult to make a correct suspicion.

When deciding to have an indoor cat, we must, just in case, get rid of potentially dangerous plants that threaten the cat. For our peace and health of the cat, let us not assume that our cat will certainly not eat the plant, so as not to pay the highest price for the cat's health and life for such an assumption.

The list of potentially dangerous plants is extremely long and not all of them can be listed. So let's focus on the most important ones.

Plants that are toxic to cats and are used to compose bouquets

  • Amaryllis spp. (amaryllis),

    Amaryllis is poisonous to the cat

  • Celastrum spp (choke),
  • Chrysanthemum spp (chrysanthemum),

    Chrysanthemum is poisonous to the cat

  • Colchinum autumnale (autumn winter),
  • Euonymus japonicus (Japanese Euonymus),

    Japanese euonymus is poisonous to the cat

  • Euphorbia milii (dandelion),

    Wereworm is toxic to the cat

  • Helleborus niger (hellebore),

    Hellebore can poison your cat

  • Ilex spp. (holly),

    Holly is toxic to cats

  • Phoradendron spp. (mistletoe).


Potted plants poisonous to the cat

  • Aloe vera or aloe,


  • Azalea spp or azalea (very strong toxicity !!!),

    Azalea is very toxic to your cat

  • Diffenbachia spp,
  • Dracaena,


  • Ficuses,


  • Hydragea spp. that is, hydrangeas,


  • Common ivy,


  • Liguster,


  • Narcissus spp, or narcissus,


  • Philodendron spp, or philodendron,


  • Rhododendron Ficus spp, i.e. rhododendron, rhododendron,


  • decorative tobacco,
  • star of Bethlehem.

    Star of Bethlehem

Garden and wild plants dangerous for the cat

  • Allium spp, or garlic,


  • Wild wine,
  • Atropa belladonna, or hryvnia, nightshade,


  • Aconitum spp, or monkshood,


  • Horse chestnut,

    Chestnut tree

  • An avocado,

    An avocado

  • Kalmia large-leaved,


  • Bulb flowers such as tulip, hyacinth, iris,


  • Buxus spp or boxwood,


  • Convallaria majalis, or the May lily of the valley,

    Lily of the valley

  • Alpine violet, cyclamen,

    Alpine violet | source: wikipedia

  • Datura spp, or Datura,


  • Larkspur,


  • Digitalis purpurea, or purple foxglove,

    Purple foxglove

  • Hydrangea spp, or hydrangea,


  • Laburnum,


  • Lobelia,


  • Ligustrum vulgare, i.e. common liguster,

    Common liguster

  • Lilac plants,
  • Narcissus,
  • Oleander (very strong toxicity !!!),

  • Primrose,


  • Buttercup,


  • Robinia acacia,

    Robinia acacia

  • Field poppy,

    Field poppy

  • Hellebore.


Of course, the list of potential plants that are toxic to cats is enormous, and the ones listed here are just an example.

Treatment of poisoning in a cat

Treatment of poisoning in a cat

The most important action that we can take when a cat eats a plant is to remove the poison from the place of its absorption as quickly as possible, which prevents its penetration and the destructive effect it causes.

The time from poisoning to our reaction plays a significant role here.

The longer it is, the less effective the therapy is successfully completed and fully recovered.

So let's act carefully, conscientiously, using professional knowledge, but at the same time as quickly as possible.

In case of plant poisoning, hours are really crucial.

We should take action to expel the harvested plant as soon as possible by effectively inducing vomiting.

Emetic drugs

These actions are aimed at emptying the stomach as quickly as possible through administration of emetic drugs.

The drug of choice for inducing vomiting is apomorphine in dose 0.02-0.04 mg / kg m. c. administered intravenously or 0.08-0.1 mg / kg m. c. administered by the subcutaneous or intramuscular route.

Unfortunately, this drug is not available in many European countries, including Poland.

In our domestic conditions, we use it for this purpose hydrogen peroxide in an amount 1-2 ml / kg m. c. administered orally.

After one dose, we should wait a few minutes and repeat the administration if there is no vomiting.

Vomiting should occur quickly within several minutes after pouring water into the animal's mouth.

We should take such action at home, before going to the nearest veterinary clinic.

In the clinic, we can also use the emetic properties for this purpose xylazine which is an alpha 2 agonist, i.e. an older generation drug used for premedication in animals.

Of course, we also have to take into account its sedative and calming effects.

We administer xylazine in a dose 0.5-1 mg / kg m. c. by intramuscular injection.

Remember, however, that xylazine can cause respiratory disorders.

You should not induce vomiting after ingestion of diffenbachia.

In general, inducing vomiting makes sense when little time has passed since ingesting the poison, so up to 2-3 hours and when the consumed plant has not yet had time to absorb itself.

After this time, inducing vomiting does not make much sense and even gives the cat unnecessary unpleasant feelings and is contraindicated.

Not we should induce vomiting in animals:

  • unconscious with depression of the central nervous system,
  • respiratory failure,
  • disturbed consciousness.

This may cause it additionally aspiration pneumonia.

We can also carry out gastric lavage even in the case of an unconscious animal, on condition that it is intubated.

The procedure should be carried out in such a way that the acid content of the stomach does not pour into our lungs.

Activated carbon

By rinsing the stomach, we can also use various substances with toxin-absorbing properties, an excellent example of which is activated charcoal, medical, i.e Carbo medicinalis.

Medicinal charcoal is a first-line absorbent and a universal antidote that is worth using in case of poisoning.

The administration of coal does not require special equipment and additionally does not cause numerous side effects.

The charcoal dissolves in water and the prepared suspension is administered to the animal orally or via a gastric tube.

We use 1-5 g of coal per kg m. c. the animal.

Prepare the coal slurry by mixing 10-20 g of this product with 100 ml of water.


We can also remove poisons from the body by emptying the intestines of their contents, and thus by exercising enemas.

We take all these actions when the poison has not yet been absorbed and the consumed plant fragments are not digested in the digestive tract yet.

Fluid therapy

We should also try to rinse out and dilute the already absorbed toxins.

So we give fluids intravenously in a fairly large amount (10-20 ml / kg m. c. for an hour) which provokes the kidneys to work intensively and excrete toxins in the process of diuresis.

They are best suited for this purpose physiological fluid 0.9% or solution Lactated Ringer.

Diuretic drugs

We also induce strenuous diuresis by giving diuretics strong effects after prior hydration of the patient.

A strong loop diuretic as it is is suitable for this purpose furosemide in dose 2.5-5 mg / kg m. c. intravenously, intramuscularly or even subcutaneously every 4-8 hours.

Alone furosemide however, by increasing the diuresis we care about, it may also have nephrotoxic effects.

We can also increase diuresis with mannitol 0.5-2 g / kg i. v. administered intravenously, especially during anuria or swelling of the brain.


Also, whenever possible, we use specific antidotes or antidotes.

We can use for this purpose, for example potassium permanganate administered as an adjunct to gastric lavage, which has an oxidizing effect on plant alkaloids.

Unfortunately, in the case of plant poisoning in a cat, we do not have specific antidotes specifically for a given poison, hence we must implement a symptomatic action.

However, in order to know what the initial state is, in each case, we should perform a blood test at the beginning of treatment and after a few days, remembering about distant damage.

Such action informs us about what we are treating and allows us to evaluate the healing progress.

Plants safe for the cat

Potted plants safe for the cat

Not everything that is green must be dangerous to the cat and cause poisoning at once.

Cats, although they are typical carnivores, do not despise plants from time to time, which must be remembered perfectly.

So the best solution in the situation of having an indoor cat at home is to provide access to safe plants that, when eaten, do not cause symptoms of poisoning.

So what to choose?

Plants safe for a cat are:

  • agave,
  • the tagetes,
  • pineapple,
  • aster,
  • bamboo,
  • basil,
  • pansy,
  • zinnia,
  • citrus plants,
  • multiflorous eustoma,
  • japanese fantasy,
  • violets,
  • fuchsia,
  • carnation,
  • gardenia,
  • jasmine,
  • ginger,
  • Helichrysum,
  • fennel,
  • lavender,
  • Lovage,
  • pigweed,
  • thyme,
  • mallow,
  • lemon balm,
  • nasturtium,
  • impatience,
  • forget-me-not,
  • oregano,
  • oat,
  • papyrus,
  • parsley,
  • marshmallow,
  • rosemary,
  • chamomile,
  • rose.
Plants safe for the cat

So we can see clearly that not everything that is green has to be dangerous and sometimes it is really worth replacing some plants at home for your peace of mind, so as not to worry about the problem of poisoning later.

Cat grass

Today, we can buy special cat grass in virtually every pet store.

Cat grass consisting of selected grains:

  • barley,
  • rye,
  • oats.
Cat grass

They are fast growing, they start to germinate immediately after watering and we won't even see how long they are about 5 cm long.

Giving it helps to clear the gastrointestinal tract of bezoars and often causes cats to lose interest in other plants.

In addition, we ourselves have the satisfaction when we manage to grow a plant at home, for which our cat loves ?


Plants harmful to cats

To sum up - I am fully aware that it is impossible to exhaust the topic of plant poisoning in felids, even in a very extensive article.

The toxicity of potted plants or flowers resulting from the content of substances with a strong biological effect plays a protective role in nature against their accidental eating and destruction.

Unfortunately, it happens in domestic cats, which causes huge problems for their owners and for them is sometimes a deadly threat. However, acting in accordance with the principle that prevention is better than cure, it is enough to remove them from our apartments and houses, which eliminates the risk of accidental poisoning.

While sowing safe by yourself grass for the cat purchased in a pet store, we fully satisfy the need to eat green plants and we can interact with our cat in peace without fear of dangerous poisoning.

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