Our kitties are one of our most loved and treasured family members but did you know that more than 700 of the common plants that we fill our houses and gardens with actually contain substances which can be highly toxic to cats, some even having fatal consequences.
Sometimes it is the whole plant that can be poisonous, where as with others it is just one part (such as the bark, leaves, pollen, stem or the plant’s roots). Here is a list of the top ten houseplants which can be extremely harmful to our moggies and should be avoided.
Top Ten Most Deadly Plants For Cats
Tiger Lillies are thought to be the most poisonous plants for cats, with the whole plant being toxic and causing vomiting, lethargy and loss of appetite if ingested. If left untreated, the poisoning can cause fatal kidney failure within 24 to 72 hours.
The Potato Family includes plants such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and chillies all of which contain a toxic substance called Glycoalkanoid Solamine which can be poisonous to cats. The raw leaves and stems of these plants can cause aggressive lower gastrointestinal pain if eaten by your cat.
Poison Ivy and other species of Ivy, can be highly toxic to your household pet (as the name suggests). If your cat comes into contact with poison ivy, severe rashes can appear which can become really nasty if left untreated.
Mistletoe is one of the most deadly plants for cats, but it is the berries in particular that you should keep the kitty away from. Ingesting these festive white berries can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, along with blisters in the mouth and breathing problems.
Chrysanthemum is a common household plant throughout the UK but should be approached with caution as far as your four-legged friends are concerned. Simply coming into contact with chrysanthemums can cause your cat to have severe allergic reactions particularly around their nose and mouth.
Weeping Fig trees are quite tempting for cats to sleep underneath but it is the leaves that are the most toxic part. If eaten in large quantities, the weeping fig can be highly poisonous to cats often causing stomach problems.
Azalea is a common landscape plant but both the leaves and the flowers can be poisonous to cats. If ingested, this plant can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pains, breathing and kidney problems for your moggie.
Juniper Shrubs are one of the most well known berry plants in the country, but it is the ingestion of too many of the leaves from these plants that can lead to severe abdominal pain and upset for your cat.
Bulb Plants such as daffodils and tulips are poisonous for cats, particularly the bulbs. If ingested, bulb plants will cause vomiting and diarrhoea and have been known to have fatal consequences, and should be avoided in your back garden.
Onions are a fairly common garden vegetable but should not be allowed anywhere near your cats. The toxic substance found in the plants can cause anaemia in your cat (with garlic having a similar affect).
If you would like to know what other plants may be toxic to your cat, please see the full list below:
Apple Leaf Croton
Avacado (fruit and pit)
Bird of Paradise
Cherry (pits, seeds & wilting leaves)
Cherry, most wild varieties
Crown of Thorns
Fruit Salad Plant
Giant Dumb Cane
Glacier IvyGolden Chain
Gold Dust Dracaena
Hahn’s Self-Branching Ivy
Indian Rubber Plant
Jack in the Pulpit
Janet Craig Dracaena
Japanese Show Lily
Lacy Tree Philodendron
Lily of the Valley
Madagascar Dragon Tree
Mother-in Law’s Tongue
Peach (pits and wilting leaves)
Poinsettia (low toxicity)
Saddle Leaf Philodendron
Snow on the Mountain
Spotted Dumb Cane
Star of Bethlehem
String of Pearls
Swiss Cheese plant
Tomato Plant (green fruit, stem and leaves)
Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia
Even though there are a number of plants on this list that are found in nearly every household, don’t panic. If you can’t remove them just make sure that they are out of reach and cannot be nibbled on by your curious kitty as there is no antidote for many of them.
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- Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals
- David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia
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