If a plant is poisonous to cats it is best to assume that all parts of the plant are poisonous (even though some parts may have higher concentrations of the toxins than others). Many toxic plants are irritants that can make your cat very uncomfortable. These plants can cause inflammation of the skin, mouth, stomach, and more. In addition, some toxins from plants will affect a particular organ like the heart or kidney. Keep your kitty safe both inside and outside your home by steering clear of these plants poisonous to cats!
Plants Poisonous to Cats
- Autumn Crocus
- Castor Bean
- English Ivy
- Peace Lily
- Sago Palm
- Spanish thyme
- Tulip and Narcissus bulbs
You can also visit the Pet Poison Helpline for their Top 10 Plants Poisonous to Pets, and the ASPCA for their extensive list of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants.
Do You Think Your Cat May Have Been Exposed to a Toxic Plant?
The most common signs of irritation are redness, swelling, or itchiness of the skin or mouth. If the toxic principle directly affects a particular organ, the symptoms seen will be related to that organ. For example:
- Difficulty breathing (if the airways are affected)
- Drooling or difficulty swallowing (if the mouth, throat, or esophagus is affected)
- Vomiting (if the stomach or intestines are affected)
- Diarrhea (if the intestines or colon are affected)
- Excessive drinking and urinating (if the kidneys are affected)
- Fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat (if the heart is affected)
What to Do if Your Cat Comes in Contact With a Poisonous Plant
If you see your cat eating a plant and you are uncertain if it is poisonous, or you think your cat ate such a plant within the past couple of hours, you can do the following before heading to the veterinarian:
- Call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-213-6680
- Remove any plant material from the hair and skin.
- You can wash your cat with warm water and a little non-irritating dish soap if necessary.
- If you don’t know what kind of plant it is, bring it with you! Veterinarians don’t receive much training in plant identification, but every effort needs to be made to identify the plant.
- If your cat has vomited at all, try to collect some of it for the doctor.
Seek Vet Care if You Think Your Cat Came in Contact With a Poisonous Plant
Diagnosis: The best diagnosis is made by identifying the plant. Your veterinarian will give your cat a physical exam, and order such tests as necessary to determine the overall health of your cat. These tests are especially necessary if the plant is known to target specific organs.
Treatment: Once your cat has vomited, your veterinarian may give your cat activated charcoal to absorb any of the toxic principles that may remain in the stomach. In addition, your vet may administer medication like sucralfate, which protects the damaged areas of the stomach. Supportive care, such as intravenous fluids or anti-inflammatory medication will be used as needed, especially if the gastrointestinal tract is severely affected.
Management of Illness from Plants Poisonous to Cats
Some plants are fatal for cats when ingested, regardless of how excellent the care may be or how quickly care was found. Unfortunately, this is usually the case with lilies. In addition, other plants poisonous to cats can cause enough damage that prolonged aftercare in the form of medication or a special diet is needed. This varies greatly per plant so be sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions.
The best way to keep your cat safe from plants poisonous to cats is to keep only fake plants indoors or to do diligent research when bringing any new plant into your home.
Related: Spring Cleaning Tips for Cat Parents