14 Houseplants That Are Poisonous to Cats

houseplants poisonous to cats

You live in the city. You absolutely love houseplants.

You can’t get enough of them.

But, you also have a cat—or three, if you’re like me.

You love your housecats just as much as you love your flourishing urban jungle. But the truth of the matter: housecats sometimes munch on our houseplants or veggies.

And this can sometimes get dangerous.

What to do?

The following plants are known to be toxic to cats. Keep them out of your cat’s reach, create protective barriers, or perhaps even plant or place other plants that cats hate near to them to keep them away (such as rue).

If you catch your cat eating the following plants, too, look out for the signs and symptoms they could be getting sick. Rush them to the vet right away if your feline falls ill.

Alliums (Garlic, Onions, Leeks)

What growers lovingly call the allium family consists of food bulbs we love to grow: onions, leeks, garlic, even shallots, scallions, and chives.

They’re delicious to us, but bad for cats. If your cat thinks they’re delicious too, however, be warned!

Look out for signs of vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and excessive weight loss. Since most flourish best in full sun (save chives), placing them outside or on a balcony your cat can’t access (if you have one) would be wise.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is beautiful and even useful for burns, rashes, and skin conditions (just ask an herbalist).

Cats may not necessarily take to eating it. But if they do, it’s not good for them. It could even be fatal.

Like alliums, watch for signs of rapid weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and a lack of desire to eat. Keep aloe plants away from your cat (or cats) to keep them safe.

Asparagus Fern

Gorgeous and feathery, asparagus fern is not a true fern—but it is an asparagus relative also known as shatavari.

You may see your cats playing with it. If they start to eat it—foliage, berries, or stems—it’s best to bat them away and move it out of reach.

Cats can also experience problems just by rubbing the plant on their skin. Watch out for signs of dermatitis or eczema on their skin. If eaten, it could cause extreme stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Begonias

Begonias are a great option for a resilient, leafy indoor container plant or flower. They come in many sizes, shapes, heights, and colors.

But they’re bad for cats. Signs include irritation in the mouth if they’re eaten, which may be shown by cats licking their lips and mouths obsessively.

Drooling and vomiting are also symptoms. If these happen and you’re worried about your cat’s illness, a vet visit could help.

Cannabis

In states where it’s legal to grow, cannabis is becoming a favorite indoor plant. But for those who love it, they may not realize it could put their cats in danger—and could even be fatal, though this is rare.

When cats eat these, they could experience a lot of symptoms to look out for.

This includes intense energy swings (from very excited to sluggish), clumsiness, drooling, vomiting, dilated pupils, and low body temperature (feel the paws and ears especially).

Take your cat to the vet immediately, especially if seizures—another symptom—occur.

Carnations

A beautiful flowering plant, carnations are a houseplant favorite that may also be toxic to cats.

But rest assured that it’s not too toxic. All the same, it’s best to keep the feline away.

Take measures to move or protect the plant if your cat shows signs of dermatitis and stomach upset.

Chrysanthemums

Everybody loves a good, colorful chrysanthemum. Some of these, like certain daisies, make exceptional houseplants—and some even flower more successfully indoors.

But if your cat makes them into a snack? This could spell bad news.

Keep an eye out for stumbling, lack of good motor skills, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin reactions. It’s probably a sign your cat has dined on the flower and should be watched more closely.

Giant Dracaena

This houseplant is popular for folks who want to add a touch of exotic paradise to their homes. It also goes by the names grass palm or palm lily.

Though elegant, cats that gnaw away at its leaves or stems probably won’t feel so well afterward. For this reason, you’ll want to train them or take other measures to keep them at bay.

Watch out for dilated pupils, depression, drooling, and weight loss. Cats may also vomit too—and sometimes even vomit blood. If that’s the case, get them to the vet ASAP.

Jade Plants

Everyone loves a good succulent plant. Out of all these, the Chinese jade plant may be one of the most popular.

Cats might sometimes look at these plants as a treat they can help themselves to. If that’s the case, some changes might need to be made—because jade plants are harmful!

If your cat is acting lethargic, depressed, or starts vomiting often and has a slow heart rate, watch them carefully. Keep jade plants out of their reach.

Lilies of Any Kind

Lilies comprise many different kinds of plants. Some of these are true lilies (like tiger lilies or lily of the valley) or other plants that also go by the name of lily, like peace lilies, trumpet lilies, and others.

Generally speaking, anything that goes by the name “lily” is most likely harmful to your cat. So watch out.

Symptoms are very variable. If anything seems strange with your cat, suspect the lilies. Especially look out for lack of appetite, vomiting, depression, oral irritation, drooling, and lethargy. Kidney failure can be possible too.

Poinsettia

Poinsettias are classic low-light, indoor flowers with gorgeously enormous blooms. They’re incredibly popular around Christmas for their green and red colors.

They’re widely known for being a danger to children, but cats are also vulnerable if they snack on them, too.

If your cat seems irritable and is licking his or her lips constantly after being near your poinsettia, suspect that they probably ate some of it. They could vomit, too.

Fortunately, poinsettia is not super toxic—so your cat will be unhappy for just a short while. Still, keep them happy and healthy by steering them clear.

Tomatoes

What about those planter tomatoes of yours? Surely they’re okay for your cat, if they’re okay for you.

Wrong.

The foliage of tomatoes is known to contain toxins that, fortunately, aren’t too toxic to humans. But cats are another story.

If eaten, cats may show a lot of the same signs as when they eat cannabis. Drowsiness, clumsiness, lack of coordination, drooling, slowed heart rate, dilated pupils, vomiting, and behavioral changes can all be symptoms.

Tomatoes are delicious human food, but aren’t cat food. Be careful!

Tulips

You’re most likely to see tulips outdoors. But tulip fanatics can get so passionate about these blossoms, they can manage to grow them successfully inside—and with great results.

Which, if you’re not careful, could mean bad business for cats—especially if they take a liking to munching on them from time to time.

Tulips are actually part of the lily family, and are thus toxic to cats. Keep an eye on your cat and even consider going to the vet if they exhibit signs like diarrhea, vomiting, depression, lethargy, and drooling.

Make sure to keep them away from the bulbs especially. These are even more toxic than the flowers or leaves.

Philodendrons

Monsera’s, Heartleaf… Philodendrons are all poisonous to cats, which is a shame because they are some of the best houseplants.

A hanging heartleaf philodendron may be a fun toy to swat for your cat. While playing they may taste the plant, so be careful.

Symptoms include  increased salivation, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

 

Want to learn the basics of indoor gardening? Check out these posts:

Everything You Need to Know About Water

Everything You Need to Know About Light

Everything You Need to Know About Soil

Everything You Need to Know About Fertilizer

Everything You Need to Know About Plant Pots

How to Repot Plants

How to Get Rid of Pests Naturally