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Toxic Plants and How To Keep Your Cat Safe

As a cat owner, it's crucial to be aware of the plants that can be harmful to your furry companion. Toxic plants not only pose health risks to your cat but can also result in costly medical bills. In this guide, we'll help you identify which plants to avoid completely, which ones to handle with care, and which plants are safe for your feline friend to enjoy. Cats are very curious and adventurous creatures that don't always know what is good or bad for them. As carers, it is our responsibility to ensure our cat's physical and mental wellbeing. One of the most common problems is lack of awareness of plant toxicity.

Why It’s Important

Plants that are toxic to cats can have severe consequences. Ingesting these plants can lead to fatal diseases, make your cat seriously unwell, and result in costly bills, due to veterinary expenses.

By taking the time to familiarise yourself with these hazardous plants, and removing any from within your home, you can protect your cat from harm.

Note: If you are unsure if a plant or flower might be toxic to your cat, we recommend that you leave it outside, or rehome your plant to be safe.

Additionally, some insurance companies may not always cover visits caused by exposure to toxic plants and flowers, and this may be considered neglect.

How to Identify Toxic Plants

Resources such as the ‘Picture This’ App, and can help you to identify the species of your plant. Once you’ve identified the species, a quick google search can help you find out if it is toxic to cats.

A useful video to familiarise yourself with some plants that are toxic to cats:

Levels of Toxicity

Some plants have varying degrees of toxicity, meaning they can cause varying levels of health problems if ingested.

What To Do If Your Cat Has Consumed a Toxic Plant

If your cat consumes a plant with medium or high toxicity, it's absolutely crucial to call a vet or pet hospital immediately. Some of these plants can be fatal to cats. If you suspect your cat has been poisoned or notice any symptoms, don't hesitate to contact an emergency service or Veterinary poisonous service. When it comes to your cat's life, it's always better to be safe than sorry. As an immediate action, you can remove the flowers from your home and move your cat to another room where the flowers haven’t been present, clean your cat’s fur and feet, as well as all surfaces including floors, tables, sofas. If possible, move the cat to another room where there is less chances of any pollen would have fallen while you contact your vet or 24/7 pet hospital.

Symptoms of Poisoning

If you see your cat show one or more of the following symptoms it is likely that they have eaten a poisonous plant or have been in contact with one, and you should immediately call for help.

Lethargy or Weakness

If your cat appears unusually tired, weak, or lacks energy after being exposed to a toxic plant, it may be a cause for concern

Digestive Distress

Look out for signs like vomiting or diarrhoea, which can indicate that a cat has ingested a toxic plant. Pay attention to any unusual colours or textures in their vomit or faeces.

Loss of Appetite

If you notice that your cat suddenly becomes uninterested in food, or has a reduced appetite, it could be a potential symptom of plant poisoning.

Breathing Difficulties

Watch for any difficulty in breathing or respiratory distress, as some toxic plants can affect a cat's respiratory system.

Increased Thirst and Urination

Keep track of any noticeable changes in your cat's drinking habits or urination patterns. Some toxic plants can affect kidney function, leading to increased thirst and more frequent urination.

Oral Irritation

Check for any signs of oral inflammation, such as redness, swelling, or sores around the mouth, tongue, or lips, which could suggest exposure to a harmful plant.

Neurological Signs

Be aware of any abnormal neurological symptoms, such as tremors, seizures, disorientation, or uncoordinated movements.

Rapid Heartbeat

Pay attention to an elevated heart rate or irregular heartbeat in your cat, as it could be a sign of toxic plant ingestion.


To ensure the safety of your cat, it is crucial to understand that many species of lilies are highly toxic to cats. It is strongly advised to take precautionary measures and keep all types of lilies far away from your furry friends. Simply removing the stamens and pollen from a lily is not sufficient, and still poses a significant risk to cats. Therefore, it is best to avoid bringing lilies anywhere near cats or into your home altogether.

Cats are at risk of fatal kidney failure and can cause death from the toxic chemicals present in lilies. These chemicals are found in all parts of the plant and can be ingested by cats by biting into a leaf or petal, licking pollen from their fur or paws, or drinking water from a vase containing lilies.

When purchasing a bouquet of flowers, be cautious and ensure that it does not contain any types of lilies.

If you have any type of lilies growing in your garden, we recommend removing them and replacing them with a cat safe alternative.

Note: Most flowers are NOT safe for cats, please avoid bringing in flowers into your home if you have a cat.

Daylilies (Hemerocallis)

Lilies belonging to the "True Lily" and "Daylily" families pose a high level of danger to cats.

It's important to note that every part of the lily plant is toxic, including the stem, leaves, flowers, pollen, and even the water in a vase.

Gloriosa Climbing Lilies

If a cat chews on the roots or tubers of the gloriosa lily, it can result in significant organ failure due to the presence of potent toxins.

Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum)

The Star of Bethlehem can cause life threatening heart irregularities, or death.

Asiatic Lilies

The Asian lily, also referred to as the Asiatic lily or Oriental lily, is highly toxic to cats. Even the consumption of just two petals or ingestion of water from a vase containing this flower can lead to kidney failure in cats.

Lily of the Valley

The presence of toxins in Lily of the Valley can lead to an irregular heartbeat, which can be extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening.

Additional symptoms of toxicity may include vomiting, diarrhoea, and weakness.

Peace Lily

While peace lilies may be classified as mildly toxic to cats, it's important to note that they can still cause harm if chewed on. Ingesting parts of a peace lily can lead to symptoms such as drooling, excessive licking, pawing at the mouth, vomiting, difficulty or pain when swallowing, and further episodes of vomiting.

Tiger Lily

Even minimal consumption of the tiger lily, including less than 1-2 petals or leaves, as well as exposure to its pollen or water from the vase, can lead to significant and sudden kidney failure in cats.

Stargazer Lily

If a cat ingests a stargazer lily, it is highly likely that they will display symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, and there is a risk of kidney failure, which could potentially lead to death.


Signs of intoxication by lavander can include diarrhea, vomiting, and weakness. This could lead to liver damage.

Some cats that consume, or come into contact with lilies do not recover and may pass away within a few days. In such cases, it is of utmost importance to urgently seek veterinary assistance immediately, if you suspect your cat has ingested a lily plant. Timely veterinary care can be the key to saving your cat's life, however, we urge you to avoid all types of lilies to avoid any potential risk of illness or fatality.

Toxic Indoor Plants

Although toxic houseplants are a risk for all cats, indoor cats can face a higher risk within the home environment due to the confined space, where a bored or curious cat may be tempted to investigate the indoor plants that are kept within your space. It is crucial to be able to recognise which indoor plants are toxic, as well as making sure that you’re giving your cat enough playtime to help avoid boredom, to ensure the safety of your feline companion.

Some toxic houseplants include;

Aloe Vera

​English Ivy

(Hedera Helix; Common Ivy; European Ivy)


(Epipremnum aureum; Devil's Ivy)

Snake Plant

(Sansevieria; Mother-in-law's tongue; Viper's bowstring hemp)

ZZ Plant

(Zamioculcas zamiifolia; Zanzibar gem; Fern arum)

Bird of Paradise

(Strelitzia Nicolai)

Monstera Deliciosa

(Swiss Cheese Plant)

Rubber Plant

(Ficus elastica; Ficus robusta)


(Elephant Ear)

Fiddle Leaf Fig

(Ficus lyrata; Banjo fig; Ficus lyrata bambino)

Sago Palm


(Dumb Cane)


Fir, Spruce and Pine

Can cause irritation to a cat's mouth and stomach

Other common indoor plants that are toxic to cats include:

  • Philodendron,

  • Croton,

  • Caladium,

  • Poinsettia,

  • Asparagus Fern,

  • Jade Plant,

  • Syngonium,

  • Tradescantia,

  • Yucca,

  • Scindapsus,

  • Begonia,

  • Bamboo Palm,

  • Calathea,

  • Christmas Cactus.

This includes all variations of each plant genus. For example;

Philodendron: Heartleaf Philodendron, Philodendron Birkin, Philodendron Black Cardinal, Philodendron Brazil, Philodendron Burle Marx, Philodendron Florida Ghost, Philodendron Gloriosum, Philodendron Splendid, Philodendron Hastatum etc.

Toxic Outdoor Plants

Crocus Autumn

(Colchicum Autumnale; Crocus Sativus; Liliaceae)

The autumn crocus contains a compound called colchicine. This substance can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats if ingested. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain.

In severe cases, colchicine toxicity can lead to liver damage and even death.



Foxgloves are poisonous plants and when consumed by cats, they can cause death within hours.

It is therefore crucial to remove these from your garden.



In the event that a cat consumes a significant quantity of this plant, it can be fatal. Immediate vet care would be required.


While chrysanthemums are considered mildly toxic, they contain pyrethrins, which are commonly found in dog flea and tick medications and pose a significant risk to cats.

If your cat has ingested chrysanthemums, be vigilant for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, and promptly consult your veterinarian for guidance.



Among daffodils, the bulbs are the most toxic to cats.

Ingesting these bulbs can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, excessive drooling, diarrhoea, while larger ingestions may result in convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors, and abnormal heart rhythms.


(Hydrangea Arborescens)

When it comes to poisoning from these plants, the most common symptoms include vomiting, depression, and diarrhoea.

While cyanide intoxication is rare, it typically manifests as gastrointestinal disturbances rather than other severe effects.


The Iris plant is harmful to cats due to the presence of Pentacylic terpenoids (zeorin, missourin, and missouriensin).

Symptoms of toxicity include increased salivation, vomiting, excessive drooling, lethargy, and diarrhoea.

The highest concentration of these toxins is found in the rhizomes of the plant.


The presence of lectin and wisterin glycoside in Wisteria plants makes them toxic to cats.

If a cat is exposed to these toxins, symptoms of toxicity may manifest as vomiting (sometimes with blood), diarrhoea, and a noticeable state of depression.


While dahlias are not as toxic as some other plants, they can still cause gastrointestinal symptoms and dermatitis (skin irritation) in your cat.


(Savin; Sabina)

Juniper berries are not considered to be toxic to cats, but if they eat too many, it can lead to abdominal pain and kidney problems. There is also some evidence that in people, a side effect of ingesting juniper berries is miscarriage.

Just to be on the safe side, if your cat is pregnant, don’t allow them to eat juniper berries.

Nerium Oleander

(Dogbane Family)

Common oleander is a shrub that flowers and also bears fruit. All parts of the oleander plant, including the leaves, stems, flowers, fruit, and roots, are toxic if ingested by a cat.

The toxins in oleander are cardiac glycosides. These compounds directly attack the heart by altering the electrolyte balance there, causing the heart muscle to be unable to function properly. Life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, or rhythm disturbances, are the result.

Oleander toxicity also affects the gastrointestinal and neurologic systems of an affected cat.

Vinca Minor


Vinca contains cytotoxic and hypoglycemic properties, which can disrupt cellular function, cause severe blistering, and lower blood pressure.

In cases of significant ingestion, there is a risk of liver failure.



Contains a toxic compound called Cicutoxin. If your cat ingests water hemlock, you can expect symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, tremors, diarrhoea, fever, and bloating.

In severe cases where larger quantities of the plant are consumed, your cat may experience seizures, intense abdominal pain, dilated pupils, and respiratory problems.

Unfortunately, these symptoms can be life-threatening and may ultimately result in Sudden death from acute cardiac failure.



Tulips contain the toxins Tulipalin A and B, which are harmful to cats. If a cat has consumed a tulip, they may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, depression, diarrhoea, and increased saliva production (hypersalivation).

It's important to note that the highest concentration of these toxins is found in the bulb of the tulip plant.


(Hyacinthus orientalis)

Hyacinths contain toxic substances, possibly including narcissus-like alkaloids.

In cats, ingestion of hyacinths can lead to symptoms such as severe vomiting, diarrhoea (sometimes with blood), depression, and tremors.

Sweet Pea

(Lathyrus Latifolius)

Sweet Pea Plants contain toxic principles known as Aminoproprionitrite.

If a cat ingests Sweet Pea, they may exhibit clinical signs including weakness, lethargy, pacing, head pressing, tremors, seizures, and, in severe cases, the possibility of death.


The Eucalyptus plant is toxic to cats due to the presence of toxins such as essential oils, specifically eucalyptol.

Cats may show clinical signs of toxicity including salivation, vomiting, diarrhoea, depression, and weakness.

Other common outdoor plants that are toxic to cats include:

  • Azalea,

  • Delphinium,

  • Nicotiana,

  • Rhododendron,

  • Rhubarb,

  • Tomato Plant.

If you are still unsure whether your plant is toxic to cats, we recommend searching via the ASPCA website, where you will find a great list of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants.

Pet Friendly Plants

Pet safe plant images: &

Many online plant shops will have a ‘pet safe’ section, we recommend browsing here!

If you’d rather support local, independent plant shops, you can give them a heads up that you’re searching for pet friendly plants. Most independent shops will be more than happy to help you!

Cat Grass

If your cat is curious and is regularly looking for plants a good option to lure them away from loved plants would be to get some cat grass. Not only do most cats love eating cat grass, but it will also help with their digestive system. As always, check with your vet before introducing anything new. Cat grass grows very quickly and can be purchased in some garden centres and pet shops.

You can find great cat grass starter kits here:

Alternatively, you can purchase a packet of seeds, and sow them where you please.

How Can You Help Us?

L.I.C.K is a volunteer run charity, no one gets paid!

Every donation big or small allows us to do our work and care for all our cats and kittens.

All donations go towards medical costs.


Plant pictures from:

Written by Sofi N and Evan R


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