The list of plants that can be harmful to cats is a long one. The effects of plant toxins in cats can range from moderate gastrointestinal upset to life-threatening cardiovascular and nervous system poisoning. Prevention is the best way to avoid accidental plant poisoning in cats. Be careful not to bring any houseplants into the home that are toxic to cats. You should also be careful of what you plant outside if you let your cat in the garden.
Here’s a guide to how some common plants can be harmful to your cat if eaten.
Mouth and throat irritation: philodendron, dieffenbachia, jack-in-the-pulpit
Gastrointestinal irritation (including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea): tulip, daffodil, amaryllis, wisteria, English ivy, iris, bird of paradise, nightshades, castor bean
Cardiovascular effects (including irregular heartbeat and difficulty breathing): lily of the valley, foxglove, oleander, larkspur, hydrangea, apple seeds, almonds, and the pits of cherry, peach, and apricot
Nervous system effects (including trembling, dilated pupils, salivation, twitching, staggering, and convulsions): yews, tobacco, rhubarb, belladonna, jimsonweed, henbane, datura, periwinkle, chinaberry, marijuana, morning glory
If you suspect your cat has ingested a poisonous plant, call a pet poison hotline like the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center and make arrangements to get your cat to the vet as soon as possible. While inducing vomiting with ipecac syrup or hydrogen peroxide and water can be beneficial in many cases, it’s still important to get advice and additional treatment from a veterinary professional.
Certain plant toxins such as digitalis (lily of the valley, oleander) and cyanide (fruit pits) are extremely dangerous to cats, so immediate treatment is essential in saving your cat’s life. Check out the Cat Fanciers’ Association listing of plants that are toxic to cats HERE.