Being aware of which plants in your home and garden are toxic to cats may help safeguard your furry friend's health if they are poisoned due to ingesting toxic plants. Today, our Vienna vets list which plants are toxic to cats, and what to do if you discover your cat eating your houseplants.
Cats & Plants
While cats are usually pretty careful with what they eat, even the most discerning of felines can get bored and end up playing with or nibbling on a plant that looks fun. Perhaps a small part of the plant becomes stuck in its paw or mouth and is spread during grooming.
Cats that are around toxic plants can also get pollen or seeds trapped in their fur or on their paws, and ingest the toxic substances while bathing themselves.
Other cats are prone to getting into mischief as they explore, jump and play. Bored or playful cats might spot a lush green hanging vine and decide the plant looks like a new toy. Keeping toxic plants out of your playful cat's reach can be a challenge.
For your cat's health and your peace of mind, our Vienna vets recommend taking some time to learn the names of the plants in your home, and research which plants are toxic to your kitten or cat.
Protecting Your Cat
It's best to research which plants are pet-safe before heading out to buy a green-leafed new friend for your home. If you already own plants included on our list below, consider giving them to a friend who doesn't live with a cat, or store your plant in a room that your cat's unable to get into.
That said, our vets understand that accidents happen. If your cat ingests a toxic or poisonous houseplant, knowing the name of the plant will help your vet to treat your cat quickly and with fewer diagnostic tests needed.
Toxic Plants for Cats
Many plants that are poisonous or toxic to cats and kittens. If you notice your furry friend eating any plant that you're unsure of, call your vet.
Below are just a few of the most common plants that are poisonous for your cat or kitten to eat:
- Spring bulbs
- Autumn Crocus
- Azaleas and Rhododendrons
- Castor Bean
- English Ivy
- Lily of the Valley
- Peace Lily
- Pothos, Devil’s Ivy
- Sago Palm
- Spanish Thyme
While all of the plants listed above are toxic to cats, perhaps the most dangerous is the lily. Lilies can cause kidney failure in cats who come in contact with the flower's pollen, then ingest the pollen during grooming.
If you have cut flowers in the house, including lilies, be sure to keep your flowers in a room where they will not come in contact with your cat.
If you suspect that your cat has come in contact with lilies, contact your Vienna vet as soon as possible.
Lily poisoning can be fatal in cats.
Symptoms of Poisoning in Cats
Depending on the plant species that has been ingested, the early signs and symptoms of poisoning can vary greatly.
- Irritants may cause symptoms such as: irritation around the mouth, itchiness, swelling, and red or watery eyes.
- If your cats' organs have been effected by ingesting a toxic plant, symptoms of poisoning may include: breathing difficulties, drooling, difficulties swallowing, excessive drinking, frequent urination, overall weakness, or irregular heartbeat.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms of poisoning may include: vomiting and diarrhea.
What To Do If Your Cat Has Been Eating Plants
If you notice your cat eating a plant that you are unsure of, contact your vet immediately.
Before heading to the veterinary clinic there are a few things you should do:
- Stay calm and remove any bits of plant from around your cat's mouth, paws, or fur then move your cat to a safe confined space (well away from the plant) while you get ready to go to the vet's office.
- Take some time to identify the plant that your cat has ingested then call your veterinarian, who can refer you to our vet's office in Vienna for emergency assistance. Our veterinarians also provide emergency services for our clients' pets. Let them know what has happened and that you will be bringing your cat in to see the vet.
- Bring a sample of the plant along with you to show your vet, or if you are unsure which plant your cat has been eating bring in a sample of your cat's vomit containing the plant material.
Diagnosis of Plant Poisoning in Cats
When it comes to diagnosis and treatment, being able to identify the plant that your cat has ingested will give your vet a vital head start.
If you are unable to identify the plant that your cat has ingested, or supply a sample of the plant matter, your vet will need to run a series of tests to identify the type of poison ingested before treatment can begin.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.