Cats have an annoying habit of gnawing on plants because that usually helps with digestion. Sometimes it’s even just out of boredom, or for the sake of scratching the earth or sharpening claws. Berries, leaves, stems, sap… It turns out quite a few plants are deadly poisons! They can have severe consequences for animals, especially cats. Read on to discover which toxic plants to avoid if you have a cat!
5 toxic indoor plants for cats
This list isn’t all-inclusive, but it brings together 5 common plants that bode ill to our feline friends. In most cases, they just cause stomach aches and diarrhea.
But for some, heart and neurological disorders are the consequence of cats eating them!
Anthurium is a tropical plant that we’re all wild about: it has a beautiful, long-lasting bloom. For cats, though, it triggers salivation, digestive issues, diarrhea, vomiting, bleeding, respiratory problems, and swallowing issues. Not very reassuring! For cats, this is a highly toxic plant, whether it’s touched or ingested.
If your cat ingests certain varieties of philodendron, it could suffer from poisoning causing respiratory and digestive problems, bleeding, diarrhea, or even vomiting.
The ficus is one of the most common plants in our homes. Be it touch or ingestion, your cat could experience vomiting, stomach burns, diarrhea, oral lesions, kidney damage, or even facial swelling.
With its tropical vibe, yucca easily fits into the house. Yet, it’s clearly on the no-go list for cat owners. It causes colic, hypothermia, and excessive salivation. In rare cases, it even leads to paralysis of the hind legs and coma.
Trendy caladium, with its large decorative leaves, should be kept away from cats. It can can cause skin and mucous membrane irritations.
5 garden plants dangerous for cats
If your cat is lucky enough to have outdoor access, it’ll undoubtedly be tempted to nibble on every plant in the garden! Here are 5 plants to avoid outdoors.
Oleander is among the most toxic shrubs for cats. It only takes 2-3 leaves to kill a dog… so imagine the impact on a tiny cat! Indeed, swallowing leaves can lead to heart failure or paralysis of all respiratory muscles.
- Lily of the valley:
The star of May can cause excessive salivation, diarrhea, seizures, and tremors. Beware of the water in the vase which is also toxic.
→ You might find this interesting: safe ways to grow lily of the valley
- Tulips and hyacinths:
Mother Nature sure knows her stuff. The bitterness of boxwood leaves is usually enough to curb your cat’s appetite. But don’t tempt fate, as the boxwood is highly toxic. All parts of the plant contain alkaloids that can paralyze your pet. The lethal dose is just a few grams of leaves. So, steer clear of boxwood and instead easily replace it with osmanthus – which is more fragrant, too!
What to do if my cat has ingested a toxic plant?
Call your vet right away, who will most likely advise you to bring in the animal straightaway. They can then assess the severity of the poisoning and make the best decision for its treatment. Sometimes a stomach coating will be enough, other times it might require an IV drip or an anticonvulsant.
How to keep my cat away from plants?
Maybe your plants aren’t toxic. But you still might not want your cat wrecking them.
You’ll need to get crafty to keep that little furball away…
- For starters, you can use cat grass. This type of grass attracts your cat, making it lose interest in other plants.
- Here’s another trick: citrus! Place your citrus peels at the base of your plant. Your kitty hates this smell and will show its displeasure by backing away. There’s no doubt it won’t go near there again!
- The same goes for pepper.
Note that for both of these (citrus rinds and pepper), you’ll need to reapply more every now and then to maintain effectiveness.