Watchful Whiskers: Understanding and Preventing Cat Poisoning from Plants

Cat-Friendly Gardens: A Guide to Eliminating Toxic Plants and Ensuring Feline Safety

You can never know too much when it comes to caring for your pet. Adding plants that are toxic to cats to the list of information you have stored in mind could go a long way. The world is a dangerous place and can be more so for animals like cats who are inherently nosey creatures and who like to explore. It is important for you to understand what is and what is not safe for your cat so you can offer it a long, full life. 

In this article, we seek to teach you all about cat poisoning and we offer a guide to plants that are toxic to cats with pictures. If you are coming to this page because you suspect that your cat has already come into contact with a hazardous plant, we can also help you navigate that situation. This article addresses the following:

  • Why is it important to know what types of plants are poisonous to cats?
  • What types of plants are poisonous to cats?
  • What are the symptoms that your cat is poisoned?
  • How can you prevent your cat from being poisoned by a plant?
  • What is the timeline for plant poisoning in cats?
  • What do you do if your cat has been poisoned?
  • Other Helpful Resources
  • What can you do if your cat has died from plant poisoning?
  • FAQs

Why Is It Important To Know What Types Of Plants Are Poisonous To Cats?

If you are a cat owner, or if you are becoming one, it is important to know what types of plants are poisonous to cats. We may try our very best as pet owners to keep our companions safe from dangers like cars, ticks, or wild animals, but this is not always enough if we do not acquire the knowledge that we need to ensure they are safe, even from the things that we may not see as a threat. Although you may not have complete control over every plant your cat comes into contact with, having as much information as you can and knowing what to do may save your cat’s life.


Your priority as a cat owner is to keep your cat happy; the biggest way to do that is to make sure that they are in a safe environment and that they remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible. To do this, you need to learn which plants you can and cannot have in your household, as well as your garden. If you have an indoor cat, this information is still valuable if they get out, or if someone brings a plant into your home.


When you welcome a cat into your home, it becomes a part of your family. You love it and it loves you. You have a responsibility to care for that cat as the member of the family it is, just as you would any other person in your home. When you care for a pet like this, you should understand what the potential dangers are.


It is important to know about toxic plants for cats because you may not always be with them. Often cats are welcomed into families where people work or go to school for most of the day, leaving the cat alone for long periods of time.

If this is the case, your cat will not always be supervised and therefore you cannot trust that it will not explore; cats are naturally curious creatures and if you have things around the house, like plants that are toxic to cats, they will investigate and may be harmed. 


Knowing what plants cause cat poisoning could also be useful information to you, even if you do not own a cat; perhaps you have a friend or multiple friends who have cats. If you ever find yourself in the situation of pet-sitting for them, it is good to understand the potential dangers. You also may have a friend who is noticing weird behavior in their cat, and this information could help you save their cat’s life.

What Types Of Plants Are Poisonous To Cats?

Unfortunately, many toxic plants could potentially harm or even kill your pet. You should know what plants have this dangerous capacity. Toxic plants for cats can be found both inside many homes as well as in people’s gardens or the wilderness. Some of these plants may be considered indoor and outdoor plants; be sure to look at all of the plants listed, even the plants that you do not think grow in your region because some may be sold as houseplants. 

Remember that what we have provided is not an exhaustive list. For more information about these plants, and more, visit the ASPCA.


As mentioned before, some of these plants may also be found in the wild or may be planted in your yard or a neighbor’s garden. Be sure to know what they look like and the possible effects if your cat comes into contact with or ingests the plant.

Aloe Vera

As humans, we see and use aloe vera as a medicinal plant, and because of this, you may even keep one in your home. These plants can be toxic to cats. If ingested, it can result in vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea.


Caladium contains insoluble calcium oxalates, so if your cat ingests it, your cat may experience vomiting, drooling, difficulty breathing, oral irritation, and pain or swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips. 


This plant is toxic to cats. Eating it could cause your cat to have diarrhea, vomiting, and in rare cases it may result in an abnormal heart rhythm. 


In marijuana, the THC is poisonous to cats. They may experience the effects as a human would, like feeling confused and dazed, as well as a lack of balance. Your cat could also drool and vomit, or encounter vocalization, urinary incontinence, hyperactivity, and glassy eyes or dilated pupils.


Toxicity in mistletoe can cause a low heart rate, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, and occasionally low blood pressure in cats. 


Typically, to experience symptoms from parsley, a large amount needs to be ingested; if so, signs can include sunburn or dermatitis. 


Signs of philodendron poisoning are vomiting, drooling, difficulty breathing, oral irritation, and pain or swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips. 


Poinsettias have an irritant sap that, if ingested by your cat, may cause vomiting or irritation to the mouth and stomach. 


These plants are often found outside, yet most of them can be cared for as a houseplant. It is important to be able to recognize these plants and the symptoms of poisoning if your cat comes into contact with them. Avoid adding these plants to your garden to ensure your pet’s safety and health. 

Autumn Crocus

This flower contains colchicine and other alkaloids which can result in diarrhea, vomiting (sometimes with blood), shock, bone marrow suppression, and multi-organ damage.


The clinical signs that your cat may have ingested azaleas are the following: weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and heart failure. 

Castor Bean

This plant is extremely toxic to cats, and consumption of a small amount can result in death. Symptoms can show up between 12 and 48 hours, which include vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, excessive thirst, oral irritation, kidney failure, sweating, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, fever, loss of coordination, colic, and central nervous system depression. 

Chrysanthemum and Daisies

These flowers are mildly toxic to cats, and signs of poisoning could look like diarrhea, vomiting, dermatitis, incoordination, and hypersalivation. 


While they are very pretty flowers, they are poisonous flowers for cats. Clinical signs of poisoning include cardiac arrhythmias, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, cardiac failure, and death.


Geraniums’ toxic principles are geraniol and linalool, which can cause vomiting, dermatitis, depression, and anorexia in your cat if ingested. 

Hyacinths, Lilies and Narcissus

Hyacinths are toxic to cats and can cause poisoning even if inhaled. Symptoms look like depression, tremors, intense vomiting, and diarrhea, sometimes with blood. 

Cats can experience severe symptoms of poisoning if they ingest any part of the lily flower. Depending on the species of lily, symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, or kidney failure. 

Narcissus can be toxic, and the bulbs are the most poisonous part. If ingested, your cat may experience salvation, diarrhea, vomiting, convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors, and cardiac arrhythmias. 

Sago Palm, Tulips and Yew Bush

If any part of sago palm is ingested, it could result in bloody diarrhea, bruising, increased thirst, vomiting, and jaundice. In more serious cases, sago palm can cause blood clotting, liver damage and failure, or death. 

From the same family as lilies, tulips are poisonous flowers to cats, with most of the toxicity residing in the bulbs. Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, and depression. 

All parts of yew bush are toxic to cats, and most other animals. Your cat may experience muscular tremors, difficulty breathing, or sudden death from cardiac failure. 

What Are The Symptoms That Your Cat Is Poisoned?

The signs and symptoms of cat poisoning vary from plant to plant. There is a wide scope of possible effects that can occur in your cat if they have ingested a poisonous plant, ranging from mild to severe effects. Take a look above if you are concerned that your cat has come into contact with a specific plant. Here is a list of some, but not all, of the possible effects of plant poisoning in cats:

  • Diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing
  • Oral irritation, drooling, lethargy
  • Dermatitis, depression, uncoordination
  • Urinary Incontinence, kidney failure, liver failure or damage
  • Cardiac issues or death

How Can You Prevent Your Cat From Being Poisoned By A Plant?

You may never be able to guarantee that your cat will be safe at all times, but cat poisoning awareness is one of the best methods of poison prevention in cats; the first step to cultivating and maintaining a safe environment and a happy life for your cat is understanding what plants are toxic to cats, being able to identify these plants in your home or outside, and minimizing possible interactions between these plants and your cat. We have some tips that may help you keep contact between your cat and poisonous plants to a minimum. 


One precaution you could take to keep your cat away from toxic plants is to keep your cat indoors. This may not be realistic for every cat owner, but if you are planning on having an indoor cat, you can keep non-toxic plants for cats inside and you can worry less about plant poisoning. This being said, if your cat gets outside, it would be valuable for you to know the potential effects of the plants in your garden or the wild. 


You could also consider getting a plant specifically for your cat. This may keep their curiosity at bay and allow them to sniff or investigate something that you know is not toxic for them. Here are some non-toxic plants you could get them: 

  • Bamboo
  • Catnip 
  • Cat thyme 
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Roses
  • Spider plants
  • Wheatgrass


This strategy is more difficult than our other preventative measures, but it could be useful if your cat is very curious and gets into your plants. Although we advise you not to keep potentially dangerous plants in your home, this method is best if you have toxic plants that your cat could come into contact with. 

Training your cat will likely be a long process that requires a lot of effort. If they are paying too much attention to a plant, redirect their attention and reward them. Distract them if they keep getting into something that you want them to avoid. In the case that you do wish to train your cat, you will need to research the best and most effective ways to do so to ensure the safety of your cat.


Another way that you can deter your cat from getting into plants is by making a citrus solution of a citrus fruit juice such as lemon, lime, or orange diluted with water; spray this mixture onto the leaves and soil of the plants you want your cat to avoid. Cats do not like the strong aroma of citrus, so this should steer them clear of the plants. 

Keep in mind that ingesting citrus fruits can be toxic to cats, so avoid leaving peels or other parts of the fruit by the plant; usually, the unappealing smell leads cats away from citrus fruits, but it is better to be safe and stick to the spray. If you choose this method, you must understand that the spray has to be reapplied often and it does not guarantee that your cat will stay away from poisonous plants.


If you have plants in your home that could harm your cat but you do not want to get rid of them, you might consider rearranging your decor; simply make your plants inaccessible to your cat. You can do this by putting them on high shelves that your cat cannot reach, by hanging them from the ceiling, or by having a contained place for your plants that your cat cannot get into.


By replacing or covering the soil in your plants with pebbles or tinfoil, you make it unappealing for your cat. This tip may be particularly helpful if your cat has been using your plants as a litterbox or if they tend to dig in your planters. Cats do not like stepping on tinfoil and pebbles could be a more aesthetic alternative if you do not like the look of the foil. Although this method may keep your cat from finding interest in the soil, this will not keep your cat safe from toxic plants; this could be a helpful addition if you decide to try to train your cat to stay away from your plants.

What Is The Timeline For Plant Poisoning In Cats?

The answers to these questions about the time window of plant poisoning in cats can vary depending on the plant, the amount ingested, and the potential treatment they have received. It is important to understand that each pet may be affected differently; to get more specific answers about your cat or your situation, visit your vet. 

How long does it take for a cat to show signs of poisoning? It is important if you have witnessed your cat come into contact with a poisonous plant that you do not wait for them to show symptoms, but that you take them to the vet.

Depending on how much and of what plant your cat has ingested, symptoms can become apparent a few seconds to a few days after the incident. Even if you only have a suspicion that your cat is sick or has been poisoned, make a trip to the vet because they will be able to tell quickly if your cat needs medical treatment. 

How long does poisoning last in cats?  Again, recovery rests heavily on many different factors, like the type of plant, how much was ingested, and how quickly they were treated. Unfortunately, some cats do not recover from severe bouts of plant poisoning. In less intense cases, symptoms can last a few days until the toxins are naturally emitted from the cat’s body.

What Do You Do If Your Cat Has Been Poisoned?

In the event that your cat has gotten into a toxic plant, or you start to notice cat poisoning symptoms, you must know how to deal with it. You should try to act as soon as you recognize signs of feline poisoning because depending on the severity of the case, any time saved can be critical. This information is also valuable to know if people close to you have cats; you never know when you may need to help a pet owner deal with pet poisons. 


If you see your cat come into contact with a toxic plant, or it is showing signs of plant poisoning, stay calm. You want to be able to handle the situation rationally, and you do not want your stress to amplify negative emotions in your cat. Try your best to remain calm so that you can deal with the matter efficiently and effectively.


If you have the ability and if you have the time to identify the plant, now would be a good time to do so; the more information you have about the situation, the better prepared you will be for the next steps in the process. Depending on the plant, symptoms may vary and the severity of the effects can range from mild to extreme, so knowing which plant or plants caused pet poisoning can help you move forward in treating your feline.


While remaining calm, you should call your vet. Let them know your concerns and detail to them what plant you think your cat ingested and even how much, if you have that information. Tell your vet what signs and symptoms of cat poisoning you can detect. 

The vet may have immediate measures for you to take at home, but likely they will have you visit them so that they can better diagnose the problem and make sure your cat is okay. 


Once you call your vet, it is a good idea to bring your cat to a vet clinic. If you suspect that the cat poisoning is more severe, you should go straight to the clinic instead of calling ahead of time; sometimes time is important, and you should take quick action. 

At the clinic, they will be able to investigate the problem, determine how severe the case is, and decide how to move forward with treatment.


If you have identified the toxic plant that your cat got into and you are now taking your cat to the vet, bring a sample with you; this may also be helpful if you do not recognize the plant but you think it is what made your cat sick. The vet could help you identify the plant, and this might help with treatment plans or understanding more symptoms that could arise.

Other Helpful Resources

The topic of pet poisoning and toxic plants for cats is expansive and vital in maintaining your cat’s health. It is important to understand what plants are hazardous for your cat, how to recognize your cat’s health is in danger, and what to do if you run into a pet poisoning problem. Although we provide you with this information, you may feel the need to consult other sources to ensure the health and life of your cat. We have listed a few options below where you could go to find more information or to ask questions that you may still have. 


Your vet could be one of the best sources to go to when learning about toxic plants that could potentially harm or even kill your pet. They deal with animals for a living and they have acquired knowledge through education and work. They have had first-hand experiences with cats and poisons, so they may have some of the answers you are looking for. 

If you are concerned about pet poisoning or you simply want to be prepared in case your cat is poisoned, consider discussing the topic with your vet at the next appointment, or give them a call to mention what is on your mind. 


The ASPCA lists the animal poison control center phone number as 888-426-4435 and the pet poison helpline as 855-764-7661. These helplines operate every day at all hours to ensure the safety of your pet. If you fear that your cat has ingested something toxic, you can call this number; they can also provide valuable information to you regarding pet poisons. 


You could also consider taking a trip to your local library and inquiring about their book selection. They may have some books about toxic plants or pet poisoning prevention. Perhaps you could call ahead of time and ask if they have any books on these topics or topics like it and they could set some aside for you. 


The internet is an incredible source. You can find almost all the answers to any questions you may have about cats and poisons, or non-toxic plants for cats that you can keep in your house and garden. The ASPCA has a guide of toxic and non-toxic plants with pictures to help. 


When you become a cat owner, ask your family and friends about things they did as pet owners to ensure the safety of their pets. Ask them about what plants they keep around and any experiences they have had with pet poisoning. They may provide you with some valuable insight based on their own encounters. 

What Can You Do If Your Pet Has Died From Plant Poisoning?

The death of a cat is a heartbreaking experience. Losing a pet often feels as difficult as losing a member of the family; they were your comforting companion and it hurts to say goodbye. Unfortunately, toxic plants are another hazard that could potentially take your cat’s life. It is hard to protect them from everything. Sometimes, even when you try your best and you take all of the precautions that you can, your cat can find a way into some poisonous materials. 

If you are currently dealing with the death of a feline, we have listed some ways in which you can remember and cherish your pet’s memory. You can find ideas of items to purchase, pieces of jewelry you could invest in, as well as certain actions you could take moving forward to honor your cat. 7 Strategies for Grieving the Loss of Your Pet. Embrace the Journey to Find Solutions and Support Today!


These are some ideas of items you can purchase after the death of a cat that can help you deal with the loss and appreciate the relationship you had with them. You can choose one that best suits your taste or something that may be particularly helpful in your healing process.  Learn how to honor your beloved pet with personalized pet memorial jewelry.

Stuffed Animal

A stuffed animal is a memorial item that may comfort you in this difficult time. You could find one that resembles your passed cat, or you could find a business or store that can have one made in the likeness of your feline. 


You may also consider commissioning a painting for your lost pet that you can hang in a special place in your home. This could serve as a visual reminder of the love you shared. Along these same lines, you could order a portrait of a favorite photo you had of your cat to keep in your house as well. 

Memorial Stone

When you have a meaningful place for a pet, like a grave site or a spot in the house that was significant to them, it can be nice to have something there to honor them. Maybe a beautiful memorial stone for their grave or favorite sleeping spot will bring you peace on the healing journey. 

These stones often have moving quotes on them or loving pet designs like hearts and pawprints. You could get one custom engraved with your cat’s name or maybe their birth and death dates. 

Blanket Or Pillow

This is another physically comforting item you could purchase after the death of a cat. You may get a blanket or pillow that reminds you of them or has a similar-looking cat. Some businesses will transfer a photo that you love of your cat onto a blanket or pillow. 


In somewhat of a cyclical way, you may think about getting a plant to honor your cat. Although they passed from plant poisoning, this could be a meaningful way to pay tribute to them. Consider buying one of the non-toxic plants for cats, like a spider plant, wheat grass, or roses. You could keep them in your house, or you could get a plant for outside in the garden or at a grave site. 


Investing in a good quality piece of memory jewelry for cats is a common way people remember their passed pet. Since there are a variety of different pieces, styles, colors, and designs, this option appeals to many pet owners. It is a long-lasting item that allows you to always have your pet with you, whether physically or in spirit. Find a piece of gift jewelry for the death of a cat that fills your heart with love and warmth; personalized pet cremation jewelry can help you heal and find a sense of peace after their passing. 

Cremation Jewelry

A meaningful way you can honor your pet is by purchasing a piece of cat cremation jewelry. Cremation jewelry for cats comes in different designs, like urns, hearts, or paw prints, as well as more generic shapes. It allows you to keep a small portion of their ashes with you as you continue through your life. We have a selection and a detailed guide so that you can choose the perfect piece of cremation jewelry for cats.

Photo Engraved Jewelry

Another unique piece of jewelry that you can invest in if your cat has passed for pet poisoning is pet photo engraved jewelry. Our website has a collection of different shaped pendants.

You can get a piece that has your favorite photo of your cat engraved on it, and you can find pendants that hold remains, too. Take a look at our affordable photo-engraved cat jewelry and see if any of the styles speak to you in this time of mourning.

Jewelry Made From Ashes

Our ultimate guide to ash jewelry is a great place to start looking if you are interested in a beautiful piece of jewelry. This technique is a creative way of keeping your pet with you; it is jewelry that is made from your cat’s ashes, which results in a gorgeous design that you can wear to keep your pet’s memory close. If jewelry in remembrance of a pet cat is something that you believe could help you deal with losing your companion, ash jewelry might be the perfect item.


Sometimes the things that will make you feel the best are not things at all, but are instead actions you can take or tasks you can take on. If you feel as though an item or a new possession does not speak to your heart during this difficult time, then consider looking deeper into one of the suggestions we have provided below.

Online Memorial. A beautiful way that many people memorialize their pets these days is by creating an online memorial page on whatever platform they feel most comfortable using. By doing this, the memorial is completely customizable and up to you. It also can reach a wide range of people and can be shared by those who also cared for your cat. This also provides others with the opportunity to offer words of consolation. 

Donate. Many owners find it uplifting to donate to some sort of animal shelter or humanity society in the name of their cat after it has passed. This allows their memory to be used as a means of doing good in your community or for pets everywhere. If you have a special organization that you are really invested in regarding animals, see if they accept charity. 

Spread Pet Poison Awareness. Given the circumstances of your cat’s passing, you might also consider using their precious memory as a way to reach other pet owners. You could help them if they are dealing with a similar situation, or you could try to use the knowledge you have gained to educate other pet owners to reduce tragic accidents like these

Cat Plant Poisoning Frequently Asked Questions

What are the plants that my cat can and cannot come into contact with?

The ASPCA has a guide of plants that are toxic to cats with pictures, as well as a list of non-toxic plants that your cat is safe to be around. 

Can cats recover from plant poisoning?

Cats can recover from plant poisoning; however, if they have ingested a particularly toxic plant, have ingested a large amount of a toxic plant, or the symptoms were not caught quickly, there is a chance that a cat will not recover from plant poisoning. 

How can I tell if my cat has eaten a plant that is toxic?

There are signs and symptoms to look out for if your cat has eaten a toxic plant. Effects of plant poisoning include the following: vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, drooling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. There are other symptoms that are internal, such as kidney failure, liver failure, and cardiac arrythmia. 

How do I protect my cat from toxic plants?

To protect your cat from toxic plants, do research and make sure you do not have any poisonous plants in your house or garden. You could also make your plants inaccessible or deter your cat from going near them with a citrus spray or tinfoil. The best precaution to take is to avoid toxic plants altogether. 

What is the most toxic plant to cats?

There may not be one specific plant that is the most toxic, but there are some that can have more severe effects or that cats come into contact with more often. For example, the lily is particularly dangerous because it is a popular flower, and even pollen ingested from grooming can cause your cat to go into kidney failure. Some other plants that are extremely dangerous for cats are the castor bean because it only takes a small amount to cause serious damage, the sago palm which can cause a variety of organ problems, and the yew bush which can sometimes result in sudden death from heart failure.

How do I help someone who has lost a cat from plant poisoning?

If you know someone who has or is currently dealing with the death of a cat from plant poisoning, it can be difficult to know how to help them. Try your best to show them empathy and give them a hand with whatever they need during this time. Dealing with pet loss can be especially difficult for children and we have a guide on our website to help you navigate this tough situation.

Keeping Our Feline Furbabies Safe

Although we love our cats for their silly personalities and their love for exploring this world, their curiosity can sometimes lead to sickness or potentially life-threatening situations. We cannot stop them from acting in their nature, nor should we, but what we can do as responsible pet owners is to learn about the ways we can increase their safety.