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12 Common Poisonous Plants for Cats

While we love having indoor plants to freshen up our space, there are several species that are toxic to cats. As a pet owner, your cat’s health and safety is your responsibility. Recognizing toxic plants and finding non-toxic alternatives are the best ways to keep your cat happy.

Why Do Cats Eat Plants?

Wild cats are known for their grass-eating habits, so it’s no surprise their domesticated relatives do the same. Eating plants may just come down to the fact that they enjoy the taste and/or are attracted to their movement.

Top 12 Poisonous Plants for Cats

It’s important to understand that some common houseplants are toxic to cats and better to keep outside or in an inaccessible area. Cats are curious, so it’s best to remove any toxic plants from your home if you’re unsure.

Symptoms often include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent urination
  • Weakness

If you notice your cat is suffering from any of the above and suspect they’ve ingested a toxic plant, it’s critical to seek emergency veterinary care right away.


The entirety of a lily plant is toxic to cats, including the stem, leaves, flowers and stoma. Drinking the vase water, eating a small portion of the leaves or simply licking pollen off whilst grooming can lead to fatal kidney failure in just a few days. Irreversible kidney damage is likely if your cat is not treated within 18 hours of ingestion.

Autumn Crocus

As a member of the lily family, all parts of an autumn crocus are toxic to cats. Ingestion of any plant material will likely cause gastrointestinal issues, in addition to liver damage and the potential for seizures. Symptoms may be immediate, but may not show up for a few days.

Sago Palm

As a tropical outdoor plant, sago palms are most commonly found in the south. You may see them in your local gardening store, but beware—all parts of this plant are toxic to cats. The seeds are the most dangerous, as they can trigger gastrointestinal issues, liver failure and seizures.


All parts of an oleander are toxic, including the water in the vase. While they aren’t common houseplants, oleander serves as a beautiful filler in bouquets. When ingested, this plant can cause cats to experience severe drooling, vomiting, seizures and fatal heart problems. If you have an outdoor cat, keep this plant out of your garden beds.

Azaleas & Rhododendrons

Most parts of azaleas and rhododendrons are highly toxic, with a small dosage required to see adverse effects. Loss of appetite, diarrhea, leg paralysis and a weakened heart rate are all possible symptoms that your cat has ingested either of these two plants.

Asparagus Fern

Asparagus ferns are also members of the lily family and are frequently seen in bouquets or floral arrangements. If ingested, your cat will experience gastrointestinal issues, as well as skin irritation.

Tulip and Hyacinth

The bulbs of these flowering plants are especially toxic for plants, containing toxins and alkaloids in concentrated amounts. Drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, depression and tremors are all common signs of ingestion. If you have outdoor cats, opt to plant a non-toxic alternative.


Philodendrons are a widely popular houseplant, as they are easy to manage and encompass a variety of species. For cats, philodendrons are mild to moderately toxic and may irritate the lining of their stomach, intestines or mouth.


These plants contain the same irritants as philodendrons that cause extremely painful oral irritation. In some cases, ingesting this plant can cause breathing problems for your cat. These plants love being outdoors in the summer, so it’s best to keep them away from your cat if possible.


All parts of this plant are toxic to cats, but especially the bulb. Ingestion of daffodils can cause gastrointestinal issues, along with cardiac arrhythmias, low blood pressure and even convulsions.


While kalanchoes are easy to maintain, they’re extremely toxic for cats. When ingested, your cat will likely experience gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. If your cat ingests a large amount of kalanchoe, more severe symptoms like heart arrhythmias, collapsing and seizures may occur.


Chrysanthemums are mildly toxic to cats and typically experience vomiting, diarrhea and a loss of appetite. You may also notice excessive drooling, dermatitis, or incoordination. All parts of chrysanthemums are toxic, so it’s best to keep them outdoors away from your indoor cats.

How First Care Animal Hospital Can Help

If you suspect your cat has ingested a toxic plant, it’s crucial to get emergency care right away. Care First Animal Hospital is proud to provide emergency and sick pet services to the Triangle area. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.

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