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Protect Your Cat From Poisonous Plants

protect your cat from poisonous plants

If you have a new kitten, chances are you’re watching her buzz around the house, checking out anything and everything! Your home is an exciting new world for a curious kitten but there are some dangers you need to watch out for. One area of concern has to do with houseplants. Even some adult cats can get into the habit of munching on forbidden greenery. Although it may seem innocent enough, most plants are poisonous to cats. The effects can range of minor irritation to being absolutely deadly. If you have hanging plants it creates even more enticement as the kitten or cat bats the plant in play and then bites down. Some cats who don’t have enough environmental enrichment can get into the habit of playing with and nibbling on houseplants just out of boredom.

What Plants are Poisonous?

For a list of poisonous plants, visit the ASPCA website. The list contains many pictures as well for easier identification. According to the ASPCA, here’s their list of the 17 most poisonous plants:

  • Lilies
  • Marijuana
  • Sago Palm
  • Tulip/Narcissus Bulb
  • Azalea/Rhododendron
  • Oleander
  • Castor Bean
  • Cyclamen
  • Kalanchoe
  • Yew
  • Amaryllis
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Chrysanthemum
  • English Ivy
  • Peace Ivy
  • Pothos
  • Schefflera

There are some common plants, such as the dieffenbachia, that can cause intense burning and swelling of the tongue after just a few small bites. This can lead to difficulty in breathing. I see these plants included in many gift arrangements. In fact, several gift arrangements containing the highly toxic plant were sent to our house by well-wishers when my television show premiered. We ended up taking all the plants to the local nursing home.

It’s important to make sure all potentially dangerous plants are kept completely out of reach. Some plants can cause immediate death no matter how quickly you get help so know the plants you have and remove the ones that are deadly. If you are going to keep plants, either indoors or outdoors, at the very least, make sure you know the names of them in case immediate identification is needed during a crisis and do your best to keep them out of your cat’s reach. When it comes to an outdoor cat, it’s pretty difficult to protect her should she decide to chew on outside greenery.

Signs of Plant Poisoning

Many of the signs will depend on the type of plant ingested. Some signs may include:


Excessive salivation


Difficulty in breathing



Abdominal pain

Mouth and throat ulcers