20 Plants Poisonous to Cats

If you’re a cat person who happens to also be a plant parent, this article is for you. If your home is decked with different plants, you want to make sure everything you grow is kitty-proof and won’t make them sick. We’ll dive into 20 common plants poisonous to cats so you can rest easy as your cat nips and nudges against your house plants. 

Cats are known for being curious so it’s important to keep a close eye on anything they survey. Whether they’re sniffing around your dirty laundry pile or chewing on inedible objects, they tend to get themselves into places they shouldn’t be. But don’t let that stop your cat from exploring, just be aware of what plants are toxic to cats and make the necessary adjustments to cultivate a safe space for your feline friend.  

1. Lillies (Lilium spp.)

Photo Credit: Hippopx

How to identify lilies: Central stem with surrounding leaves and flowers that sprout from the top of the stem. The flowers are trumpet-shaped and have approximately six stamens and petals bursting from the center. 

What part is poisonous to your cat? The entire plant is toxic to felines and causes kidney failure. Be careful about leaving a vase out with water from lilies. If your cat drinks the water, it will get sick from just that. Even licking a bit of pollen off its fur can prove fatal.  

Seek urgent medical attention if your cat eats this plant.  

Note: There are many different types of lilies but true lily plants are the ones to look out for when it comes to protecting your four-legged friend. These species of lilies are all poisonous to cats: 

  • Asiatic lilies 
  • Easter lilies 
  • Japanese show lilies 
  • Rubrum lilies 
  • Stargazer lilies 
  • Red lilies 
  • Tiger lilies
  • Western lilies
  • Wood lilies
  • Daylilies 

Fun Fact: While most lilies are poisonous to cats, humans are actually able to eat daylilies. They’re an edible flower for us and go well with Chinese cuisine. 

2. Aloe Plant (Aloe Vera)

Photo Credit: Pxhere

How to identify aloe plants: Thick, succulent-like leaves that are sometimes striated with contrasting colors and spikes on either side of the leaves. Aloe is rosette-shaped. 

What part is poisonous to your cat? The whole aloe plant is poisonous for cats because it contains saponins. In cats, saponins cause neurological and gastrointestinal damage. 

3. Tulips (Tulipa spp.)

Photo Credit: Pxhere

How to identify tulips: Green stem with long leaves growing upwards. The flower is a bulb that comes in a variety of colors growing from the top of the stem. Typical tulip colors include: 

  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Pink
  • White
  • Orange
  • Purple 

What part is poisonous to your cat? The whole plant has inflammatory lactones and alkaloids. These compounds cause your cat to have an irritated mouth and digestive tract. It only takes a small amount, but the more they consume, the more severe the poisoning is. Particularly, the underground bulb of the tulip is the most poisonous to cats. 

Tulips are considered bulbs. Other bulbs are also toxic to cats, like allium and hyacinth, but some species are generally safe for pets, like grape hyacinth

4. Azaleas (Rhododendron spp.)

Photo Credit: Pxhere

How to identify azaleas: This flowering shrub actually comes in more than 1,000 different species, either evergreen or deciduous. The sizes of shrubs range from small to large and flower with red, blue, pink, or white petals. Azalea flowers will bloom throughout the spring, summer, and even early in the fall. 

What part is poisonous to your cat? The entire plant contains grayanotoxins. This is a natural compound that causes damage to your cat’s cardiac and skeletal systems. 

5. Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)

Photo Credit: Pixabay

How to identify sago palms: A spiky trunk with hard and waxy leaves or fronds. Its seed pods grow from the center. The male sago palm is tall and shaped like a cone, while the female plant is short and rounded. 

What part is poisonous to your cat? The whole palm is poisonous to cats because of a toxin called cycasin. When ingested, this toxin damages the liver, GI, and nervous system. The seeds are the most toxic, with the highest concentration of cycasin. 

Seek urgent medical attention if your cat eats this plant.  

6. Daffodils (Narcissus spp.)

Photo Credit: Pxhere

How to identify daffodils: A bright yellow or white flower growing outward from the stem. This star-shaped flower has a trumpet-shaped center. 

What part is poisonous to your cat? This flower’s bulbs have lycorine, a crystalline alkaloid that is toxic. The sharp crystal structure causes severe irritation in cats. While the bulb is most toxic, the entire plant can poison your cat. 

7. Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia spp.)

Dumb Cane
Photo Credit: Mokkie / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

How to identify dumb cane: Spearheaded-shaped leaves that are large. Leaves are a pale green color in the center, fading out.  

What part is poisonous to your cat? Dumb cane is full of calcium oxalate crystals. The structure of these compounds breaks delicate tissues in a cat’s mouth and GI tract. This plant is not deadly to cats but will cause extreme discomfort if your cat ingests it. Its leaves, roots, and stalks are toxic to cats. 

8. Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.)

Photo Credit: Pxhere

How to identify amaryllis: This flower comes in various shades of red, pink, and white. It’s a trumpet shape with the flower growing outwards from the stem. It looks like a combination of a daffodil and a daylily.

What part is poisonous to your cat? The leaves and stems of amaryllis contain phenanthridine alkaloids. This compound causes various issues in the cardiac, gastrointestinal, and respiratory systems. The bulbs also contain those compounds plus raphide oxalate crystals that tear the tissues of the digestive tract. 

9. Oleander (Nerium oleander)

Photo Credit: Pxhere

How to identify oleander: Flowering shrub with clusters of small flowers in various colors like white, yellow, pink, or burgundy. 

What part is poisonous to your cat? The whole plant is poisonous. The flowers contain a toxin called a cardiac glycoside that attacks the heart muscles. 

Seek urgent medical attention if your cat ingests this plant.  

10. Peace Lilly (Spathiphyllum spp.)

Peace Lily
Photo Credit: Christopher Hollis / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

How to identify peace lilies: This plant has large dark green leaves that are waxy. A single flower grows directly at the top of the stalk. Flowers tend to be white, with a cylinder-shaped pod in the middle of the flower.

What part is poisonous to your cat? The entirety of this plant is toxic. It contains calcium oxalate crystals which are sharp and insoluble (non-dissolving). The crystalline structure tears mouth and GI tract tissue. If your cat ingests a large amount, the cat’s upper respiratory system swells, causing breathing issues. 

11. Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)

Photo Credit: Pxhere

How to identify hyacinth: Rounded clusters with tiny star-shaped flowers typically in shades of pink, white, and purple. 

What part is poisonous to your cat? This plant contains lycorine, a toxic compound. It’s highly concentrated in the bulbs but the entire plant is toxic. It causes GI distress. 

12. Devil’s Ivy (Pothos

Pothos epipremnum
Photo Credit: Asabengurtza / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

How to identify devil’s ivy: A vining plant with green, shiny leaves. The young leaves are multi-colored, usually with yellow hues.

What part is poisonous to your cat? Devil’s Ivy is full of insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. The structure of these crystals irritates and tears the tissue of the mouth and GI tract. 

13. Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale)

Photo Credit: Pxhere

How to identify autumn crocus: This plant has light pink to purple bulbs. The stamens are yellow, and the center of the flower is white. The flowers grow upwards from the stem. 

What part is poisonous to your cat? The whole plant contains a toxic alkaloid known as colchicine. It causes significant distress to the GI, nervous, and respiratory systems. It also affects organs like the liver and kidneys. This plant can be deadly. 

Seek urgent medical attention if your cat ingests this plant.

14. Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum spp.)

Photo Credit: Pxhere

How to identify chrysanthemums: These flowers come in multiple colors, including yellow, orange, red, or purple. The flowers have feather-like petals that grow from the stem. 

What part is poisonous to your cat? The entire plant is toxic to cats. Some pesticides utilize this plant due to it containing pyrethrin. 

Note: Some flea medications have pyrethrin. Avoid it when choosing a flea medication for your cat as it causes nervous and GI system irritation. 

15. English Ivy (Hedera helix)

Photo Credit: Pxhere

How to identify English ivy: A climbing vine plant that also grows as a ground cover. The leaves are small and shiny. Some plants have white veins. This plant has three points. 

What part is poisonous to your cat? English ivy produces berries that contain triterpenoid saponins. It irritates the GI tract. The leaves are also toxic to cats. 

16. Philodendron (P. selloum)

Photo Credit: Pxhere

How to identify philodendron: This flowering plant is green. Sometimes the leaves are other colors like copper, purple, or red. The leaves have veins that are either white, red, or green. This plant’s fruit is a berry that can range from white all the way to orange in color. 

What part is poisonous to your cat? All parts of this plant contain calcium oxalate crystals. Again, these crystals tear the GI tract and mouth tissues.

17. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Sansevieria trifasciata
Photo Credit: Derek Ramsey / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

How to identify snake plant: The leaves of snake plant are long and grow upwards. They’re typically striped with dark green and yellow to light green patterns. 

What part is poisonous to your cat? The entire plant is chocked full of saponins. Saponins hurt your cat’s respiratory system and GI tract. 

18. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus cinerea)

Photo Credit: Ethel Aardvark / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

How to identify eucalyptus: These plants are most known for their scent, which is a strong, almost minty smell. The leaves are green, round, and soft. 

What part is poisonous to your cat? Cats cannot digest eucalyptus oil. If they ingest it, it’ll lead to organ damage. 

Note: Be mindful when using products that have eucalyptus essential oil. It’s still irritating to cats. 

19. Yew (Taxus spp.)

A yew plant in a lawn
Photo Credit: Pxhere

How to identify Yew: This evergreen tree or shrub has spiky and sharp leaves that grow red berries. Its branches are a dark brown color that looks like textured wood. 

What part is poisonous to your cat? The entire yew is poisonous for cats. It contains a compound called taxine. This toxin irritates the cardiovascular system, and if left untreated, it causes heart failure. 

Seek urgent medical attention if your cat ingests parts of this tree or shrub.

20. Cyclamen (Cyclamen spp.)

Photo Credit: Pxhere

How to identify Cyclamen: This contains clusters of leaves with small lily pads. They feature white, lavender, red, or pink flowers that grow above the leaves of the stem. 

What part is poisonous to your cat? All parts of the cyclamen contain saponins. This causes irritation in a cat’s body. This plant is deadly in large amounts for cats. 

Seek urgent medical attention if your cat ingests this plant. 

Signs and Symptoms of Poisoning In Cats 

Depending on what your cat nibbles on, the symptoms could look different. But if you know cats, any symptoms should be a significant sign of concern. According to the ASPCA, cats are known for hiding away if they’re experiencing pain or discomfort. 

Now that you know some of the plants that are poisonous to cats, it’ll be easier to determine if they’ve gotten into something by reading through the most common symptoms below: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea or bloody diarrhea 
  • Seizures
  • Panting
  • Irritated skin
  • Pale gums
  • Swelling of the mouth, lips, or tongue
  • Lethargy
  • Thirst
  • Tremors
  • Sensory loss like eyesight 
  • Respiratory issues 
  • Cardiac symptoms like abnormal heart rate and blood pressure
  • Loss of balance
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Drooling 
  • Inability to swallow
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Depression or general behavioral changes
  • Tremors 
  • Lethargy 
  • Weakness
  • Loss of consciousness  

If your cat is experiencing any of the above symptoms, get in touch with a veterinary medical professional. Even if you don’t have any of these plants at home, you’re better safe than sorry. 

What To Do If Your Cat Eats A Poisonous Plant 

Seek veterinary attention first. More information is available for any emergencies at these resources: 

If any of the symptoms mentioned beforehand occur after you noticed the cat getting into one of your houseplants, these are some practical steps to take straight away: 

  • Get rid of any plant matter from the source. If it’s on or in your cat’s mouth, remove it. Clean any bits of it off their body, fur, and paws. 
  • Observe your cat for signs and symptoms of poisoning. It’s easier to watch them if you put them in a small and enclosed space. You want to keep them from hiding away. 
  • Call a helpline like the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control line (1-888-426-4435) or the Pet Poison Helpline (1-855-764-7661). They’re open 24/7/365 a year. Note: these lines might charge a fee for a consultation. The professionals will be able to make a judgment call on whether or not you need to take a trip to the animal hospital. 
  • If your cat’s symptoms get worse and you still don’t have a response or clear answer from the helpline, seek veterinary attention immediately.

FAQ About Cats and Poisonous Plants 

What indoor plants are safe for cats? 

There are plenty of feline-friendly and common house plants that look just as stunning as lilies and tulips. They won’t put your pet at risk and will increase the ambiance of any space in your home. Some great plants that are harmless to cats include: 

● Orchids 
● Baby tears
● Friendship plants
● Gerber daisies 
● Kitchen herbs like thyme and basil are both pretty and practical 

What outdoor plants are safe for cats? 

If your cat enjoys an outdoor rendezvous, consider planting the following non-toxic plants: 

● Sunflowers
● Bamboo
● Roses
● Money tree
● Magnolia tree

How do I prevent cats from eating plants? 

Ultimately, the best prevention method is to avoid poisonous plants in your cat’s space. Whether your kitty is an indoor-only pet or ventures into the great outdoors, do what you must to remove and rid your cat’s home of poisonous plant species.

More Cat Advice

Removing poisonous plants from your home and yard takes hard work. If you haven’t got the time to remove your lilies, daffodils, and tulips, consider hiring a landscape professional to do the job for you. 
Take your lawn’s cat-friendliness one step further by hiring a local lawn care pro for consistent mowing and maintenance. Tall, untidy grass can be a breeding ground for ticks and fleas waiting to cling to your pets.

Main Image Credit: Lestat (Jan Mehlich) / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Sandy Choephel

Sandy Choephel

Sandy works as a growth writer at LawnStarter. She has been a freelance writer for several years and has expertise in content creation, social media, and ghostwriting. On top of being a professional writer, she is a full-time musician and multi-instrumentalist.