Plants Poisonous to Cats

You might not think about it but your house and garden can be full of plants poisonous to cats.

When you bring your new cat home, one of the first things you do is get them safe and comfortable. That usually means setting up a litter box, food bowl, and water dish.

Cats are mostly carnivorous; however, they may sometimes eat toxic plants.

Castor Bean

Plants your Cat should not Eat

Lilies, azaleas, philodendrons and other plants that we describe here can be fatal because they contain toxins that could lead to the death of the cat without treatment.

If you think your cat has eaten any parts of these plants contact your vet

So how can you protect your feline friend from these dangers?

By keeping all plants out of reach, or by using specially made plant pots that keep your cat from getting at the soil.  Below are some of the most common toxic plants that are in our homes and gardens.


Background: Garlic is a plant that belongs to the onion family. It produces a bulb for food storage and as such, it also contains sulfur.

Your feline may be inclined to eat garlic due to illness or stress.  Garlic releases harmful chemicals that make the cat anaemic and destroy the red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout the body. Ingesting garlic is not a good idea because it will make them ill and possibly cause death from hemolytic anaemia.


After two days symptoms manifest including collapse, increased heart rate and respiratory rate, breathing difficulty, fatigue, diarrhoea, and vomiting.  Garlic powder can also cause mild or moderate garlic poisoning.  

If you get the feeling your cat ate garlic contact a vet. If your cat is anaemic, there are some common symptoms to watch out for which include lethargy, weight loss, pale or white gums, difficulty breathing or rapid breathing that may be associated with the heart beating faster than normal.

Toxicity level: Collapse and possibly death.


Philodendron Background: Philodendron is an ornamental plant that can be toxic to humans and animals when ingested. Cats may try and ingest the leaves, stems and in rare cases, flowers, which contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation and burn the mouth.

Symptoms of poisoning caused by philodendrons include drooling, vomiting, avoiding food, depression, and difficulty breathing.

If your cat ingests this plant, give them tuna water to get rid of the crystals and natural sugar-free yoghurt to ease the symptoms, and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Activated charcoal would not be an appropriate treatment.

Toxicity level: The symptoms caused by philodendron poisoning are usually minor; however, occasionally they can be severe enough to cause death.


When you talk to people they all will probably say that Lillies are one of the plants that can be deadly to cats, because that is what they have heard of.

Background:  Lilies (including Easter lilies and Tiger lilies) are common household plants that can be very toxic to pets.

Cats may ingest any part of a lily, including the pollen, which is often shed during blooming, and the leaves. This can be fatal because they are unable to properly digest the toxins in the lilies, making them very ill.

Lillies Plants Poisonous to Cats
Lillies Plants

Symptoms of Lillies poisoning include vomiting, kidney failure, coma, lethargy, food aversion, weakness, diarrhoea (sometimes bloody), depression, drooling or foaming at the mouth and an elevated heart rate.

Toxicity level: Even just a few petals or leaves can be fatal

If your cat has eaten any part of a lily plant, do not hesitate to immediately contact your veterinarian or local pet emergency clinic.

Activated carbon would be an appropriate treatment for cats that have eaten lilies but would not absorb all the toxins of lilies out of their system. Other treatments may need to be considered.

Sago Palm

Sago palm (Cycas revoluta) is a common ornamental plant that can be toxic to pets. When ingested, it can cause vomiting, oral irritation and burning, depression or lethargy, anorexia or diarrhoea. It also contains toxins that are harmful to the heart, liver and kidneys.

Symptoms of poisoning from ingesting sago palms are vomiting.

Toxicity level: Ingestion of sago palm can cause seizures as well as other side effects that are likely to be serious, including liver failure and heart abnormalities

Aloe Vera

Aloe is one of the most popular house plants but can be poisonous.

When a cat has consumed Aloe Vera it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, depression, anorexia, and tremors. If enough is eaten, it can cause severe liver damage and coma.

Oleander Tree

Oleander poisoning causes sickness such as oral irritation and burning in the mouth if it is touched or eaten, vomiting, weakness, heart abnormalities, seizures, kidney damage. It is potentially life-threatening.

Toxicity level: Ingestion of oleander can cause serious side-effects including seizures, elevated heart rate and tremors as well as other effects that are likely to be serious. If you suspect your cat has ingested this plant, call a veterinarian.

Castor Bean

The castor bean plant is highly toxic to cats. Castor beans are the seeds of the castor oil plant, which are very dangerous. Even small amounts can be fatal.

The major effects of poisoning are vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Other effects include lethargy, coughing, pneumonia and seizures.

Toxicity level: Symptoms of poisoning from ingesting castor beans include diarrhoea and vomiting. Seizures are also common when ingesting this plant.

Corn plant

The saponins contained in the Corn plant, are toxic to cats. 

Symptoms include increased salivation, vomiting, anorexia and depression.

Autumn Crocus

The petals of the Autumn crocus are very toxic to cats. This causes burning in the mouth, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, seizures, liver failure and/or failure of the kidneys, and cardiac arrhythmias.

Toxicity levels can cause intestinal irritation, drooling, aversion to food and lethargy.

It can be deadly if enough plant material is consumed.

Autumn Crocus


Symptoms of yew poisoning include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting or hyperactivity, abdominal pain and increased side effects of Yew poisoning can include seizures, an irregular heartbeat. It is potentially fatal although it depends on the amount of the plant that has been eaten.

Toxicity level: The yew is highly poisonous with toxicity leading to death.  Symptoms of poisoning usually develop within four hours but can take up to twenty-four hours after ingestion.

10 Poisonous Plants to Cats to Go

Azalea bushes

Although not typically eaten by pets, azalea bushes are toxic.


Spathiphyllum contains calcium oxalate which causes vomiting, irritation of the mouth and gastrointestinal tract, drooling and, in severe cases, difficulty swallowing or breathing.

Symptoms of poisoning from Spathiphyllum include vomiting and diarrhoea.

Toxicity level: Although the plant is not known to be fatal, in significant quantities and depending on the condition of the cat, it can cause severe damage.


Amaryllis contains toxins that may be deadly in large amounts.

Symptoms of poisoning from ingesting amaryllis include anorexia, depression or lethargy, vomiting or diarrhoea and elevated pulse rate.

Toxicity level: Ingestion of amaryllis can cause seizures as well as other side effects that are likely to be serious like liver failure.

Monstera Deliciosa

Symptoms of poisoning from Monstera deliciosa include vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle tremors and seizures.  The betel leaves contain insoluble calcium oxalate which is toxic.  This causes burning lips and mouth, drooling, swelling and vomiting.

Monstera Deliciosa
Monstera Deliciosa

Toxicity level: Although the plant is not known to be fatal if ingested in significant quantities, depending on the condition of the cat, it can cause severe gastrointestinal upset.

Ivy (Hedera helix)

Symptoms of poisoning from the Ivy plant include weakness, throat swelling, drooling, dermatitis, rash, ataxia, vomiting, diarrhoea and an increased pulse rate.

Toxicity level: Although it has been known to cause problems in humans with sensitive immune systems, most cats would have to eat a large amount before having any negative effects.

Epipremnum aureum

Symptoms of poisoning from Epipremnum aureum include lethargy, anorexia, vomiting and seizures. The betel nut of the Epipremnum aureum burns the mouth and lips, with vomiting, and swelling.

Toxicity level: Although the plant is not known to be fatal if ingested in significant quantities.

Crassula Ovata

Symptoms of poisoning from Crassula ovata include lethargy, vomiting, coma, depression, loss of coordination and diarrhoea

Toxicity level: Although the plant is not known to be fatal if ingested in significant quantities, depending on your feline health, it can cause severe gastrointestinal upset.

Crassula Ovata
Crassula Ovata

Cyclas Revuta

Cyclas Revuta contains compounds that cause vomiting, an increased heart rate, an increased respiratory rate, diarrhoea, failure of the liver and death.

Toxicity level: Although the plant is not known to be fatal if ingested in significant quantities, it can cause a severe upset of the tummy.

Sansevieria trifasciata (Tiger’s Tail Orchid)

Symptoms of poisoning from Sansevieria trifasciata include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea

Toxicity level: Although the plant is not known to be fatal if ingested in significant quantities, it can cause stomach burns.


The anthurium plant contains toxins that are potentially harmful.

Insecticides on Houseplants

Luckily many houseplants are not toxic however you can unknowingly make these plants unpleasant to cats by spraying them with insecticides.

Some insecticide ingredients can cause serious neurological damage and even death to pets.  It is important to check with the nursery or plant supplier, whether plants are sprayed with insecticides.

If a cat becomes ill after ingesting a plant, take a sample of the plant and the insecticide bottle to the vet, so that the vet knows what has been taken.

Preventing Cats from Eating Plants

Safe and unsprayed plants can be regularly sprayed with diluted lemon juice, to dissuade the cat from nibbling the leaves.  The surrounding soil can be protected by using gravel or wire mesh.

How to Know?

It is obviously not always clear if your cat has eaten poisonous plants but when you check your article with the cat poop colour chart then you at least can see if your cat is sick.

Luckily there are also healthy vegetables for your cat, so you do not need to “throw” away your garden.


So, in conclusion, it’s important to be aware that there are various plants that can affect the health of cats the most common are lilies, philodendrons, and sago palms.

If your cat is showing any of the following signs of poisoning you should take them to a vet immediately: vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, weakness, diarrhoea (sometimes bloody), depression, drooling or foaming at the mouth

The safest option is to keep potentially dangerous plants out of your cat’s reach.  Cats should always be supervised when in the garden, and they should not be given access to potentially fatal plants.

If you have any questions about plant toxicity, please call your veterinary clinic

Thank you for reading this article. I hope it was helpful.

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