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Toxic House Plants

In Maryland, winter is here. It’s been here only officially for a couple weeks, but the temperature has been low for over a month period that probably means you’ve brought in all of your potted plants from outside so that they don’t freeze and die. That’s great for your plants, but what about your cats? Some of our most beloved potted plants are actually harmful and poisonous for our cats. Below is a list 14 toxic house plants to keep away from your kitty.

cat eating grass

14 Toxic House Plants

  1. Ficus

    The sap of a Ficus plant can cause irritation and swelling of the mouth, GI tract, and possibly the skin.

  2. Philodendron

    The calcium oxalate crystals in this plant causes GI issues from the mouth all the way to the intestine. If the sap from the philodendron reaches your cat’s eyes, they may also become irritated.

  3. Poinsettia

    They are pretty for Christmas, but poinsettias can give your cats some tummy troubles. They are not deadly, but the pesticides planters use on them may be.

  4. Holly

    The berries of the holly plants are great for birds, but not for your cats. Cats can experience diarrhea and vomiting, as well as excessive drooling and head-shaking from the saponins in the berries.

  5. Oleander

    This beautiful pink bloom can cause defects in your cat’s cardiac performance. With higher doses, oleander has shown to also effect cats neurologically, causing dehydration, shock, lethargy, or even seizures.

  6. Mandrake

    Mandrake contains podophyllin. This is the bitter resin the plant holds inside its roots. If ingested, your cat (or even you) will experience GI issues like diarrhea, excessive salivation, itching, and burning. Your cat is not likely to eat enough mandrake to be fatal (although it can be) due to the sour taste being an immediate deterrent.

  7. Azalea

    All parts of this rhododendron family member are toxic to cats. What’s worse is they are very pretty and not uncommon. Cats love to chew on the green leaves. Side effects of your cat eating azalea could look like lethargy, diarrhea, or vomiting. In extreme cases it can cause cardiac failure.

  8. Mistletoe

    The lectins and pharotoxins in this holiday accessory can slow your pets’ heart and cause low blood pressure. Luckily, the levels of these toxins are not high in mistletoe and your cat would need to eat a very large amount to show signs of toxicity. The signs look like GI problems, respiratory problems, and behavioral swings.

  9. Lilies

    Tiger lilies, Easter lilies, day lilies, stargazer lilies, and roughly 90 other species of lily are all toxic to cats. All parts of the plant are poisonous and even a small amount of exposure can be fatal. The lily does not have to be directly eaten; your cat can pick up the pollen on its fur and later ingest it while cleaning itself. Lily poisoning can be very serious and even fatal within a week of exposure. Cats can experience renal failure, vomiting, loss of appetite, and dehydration due to lily toxicosis.

  10. Milkweed

    The leaves of milkweed are toxic and have even been known to affect sheep and cattle. Signs of milkweed poisoning include loss of muscle control, fever, lethargy, and GI issues. If your cat eats enough, it could be fatal within a few hours or up to four days.

  11. Eucalyptus

    Yes, koalas love to munch on eucalyptus, and they look cute doing it. But if you see your cat doing the same, you should interject. The leaves are toxic to most animals.

  12. Onion

    It might sound crazy, but onions are highly toxic to cats. It can even be fatal if it is not caught early enough and treated. What’s more is onion powder has a higher toxicity rate than fresh onion, so it s especially dangerous.

  13. Tomato

    Tomatoes are toxic but not fatal for your cat. The leaves and stems of the tomato plant contain solanine and will make your cat experience gastrointestinal and behavioral issues.

  14. Hyacinth

    Ingesting, inhaling, or even merely contacting hyacinth will cause your cat nausea, lethargy, decreased appetite, and weakness. While the bulbs of the hyacinth are the most toxic part of the plant, the stems, leaves, and flowers are also toxic.

Now, this list is not exhaustive and in no way comes close to naming all of the toxic house plants, even the common ones, they can be toxic to your cat. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, call your vet immediately. At Catonsville Cat Clinic, we have the experience and the expertise to diagnose and treat plant toxicities in your cat. Call us today for a visit or check-up.

This entry was posted on Saturday, January 16th, 2021 at 10:13 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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