What Houseplants Are Bad For Cats? A Comprehensive List

Reading Time: 6 minutes

What Houseplants Are Bad For Cats: “What Houseplants Are Bad For Cats”. Many cat owners are unaware that some common houseplants can be toxic to their furry friends. In fact, the ASPCA reports that there are over 400 plants that can be harmful to pets. It will provide you with a detailed list of houseplants that are dangerous for cats, so you can ensure your home is a safe environment for your pet. Preventing exposure is always better than treating an exposed pet. 

Common Houseplants Toxic to Cats

Houseplants add a touch of nature to our homes, but not all plants are safe for our feline friends. Some common houseplants contain toxins that can be harmful to cats. Lilies, Poinsettias, and Philodendrons are some popular examples of toxic houseplants.

  • Lilies (Lilium and Hemerocallis spp) are especially dangerous. Just a few bites of the leaves, petals, or even the pollen can cause acute kidney failure in cats. Signs of lily poisoning include vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
  • Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima), often associated with Christmas, contain a milky, white sap that can irritate a cat’s mouth and stomach, sometimes causing vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Philodendrons contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, and tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

For more details on common houseplants and their toxicity levels, check out this article from thespruce.com.

Why Are Some Plants Toxic to Cats?

While it may seem surprising, many plants have developed toxins as a way to defend themselves against herbivores. Cats, being obligate carnivores, have a different digestive system than herbivores and omnivores, which makes them more sensitive to certain plant toxins.

Calcium oxalate crystals are one common toxin found in many plants. When a cat chews or bites on a plant containing calcium oxalate crystals, the crystals can penetrate the tissues of the mouth and throat, causing pain and swelling.

Essential oils found in some plants can also be toxic to cats. Cats have a reduced ability to metabolize these oils, which can lead to a buildup of toxins in their system.

It’s essential to know What Houseplants Are Bad For Cats and why, as this knowledge can help cat owners create a safer environment for their pets. For more information on the biology of cats and plants, read this preventivevet.com article.

It’s important to note that while some houseplants are toxic to cats, there are also many safe alternatives available. Educating yourself about the potential dangers of certain houseplants is a crucial step in ensuring the safety and well-being of your beloved feline companion.

Safe Alternatives to Toxic Houseplants

Safe, Cat-Friendly Houseplants In A Well-Lit Room

So, you have a curious cat that likes to nibble on your houseplants, and now you’re worried about What Houseplants Are Bad For Cats? Fear not! There are plenty of safe alternatives that won’t endanger your furry friend.

Plant Name Benefits
Spider Plants Air purifying
Boston Ferns Non-toxic, adds greenery
Areca Palms Humidifies air, tropical vibe
Cat Grass (Avena sativa) Provides fiber, safe for eating
Catnip Entertaining for cats

These plants are not only safe for cats but can also provide various benefits for your home environment. For instance, Spider Plants are excellent at purifying the air by removing toxins like formaldehyde and xylene. Similarly, Areca Palms can help humidify the air by releasing moisture during transpiration.

For more information on safe houseplants, read this article on cats.org.uk.

How to Prevent Cats from Chewing on Houseplants

Deterrent Spray Applied On Plant Leaves

Cats chew on plants for various reasons, including boredom, dietary deficiencies, or just because they enjoy the texture. Understanding your cat’s behavior is crucial in preventing them from munching on your greenery.

One way to prevent your cat from chewing on houseplants is to provide them with cat grass (Avena sativa). Cat grass is safe for cats to eat and can provide them with the fiber they need. You can buy cat grass seeds online or at a pet store and grow them in a pot.

Another preventive measure is to use deterrent sprays. These sprays are non-toxic and can be sprayed on the leaves of your houseplants. The bitter taste will discourage your cat from chewing on the plants.

Additionally, providing your cat with plenty of toys and engaging in regular playtime can help alleviate boredom and reduce the likelihood of them chewing on your plants.

For more tips on how to prevent your cat from chewing on houseplants, read this article on marthastewart.com.

For more information on cat behaviors and training, read this article.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you suspect your cat has ingested a toxic plant, contact your veterinarian immediately. Keeping your pets safe is a top priority, so make sure to choose your houseplants carefully and take preventive measures to keep your cat from chewing on them.

What to Do If Your Cat Ingests a Toxic Plant

Veterinarian Providing Care To A Poisoned Cat

Discovering that your cat has ingested a toxic plant can be a terrifying experience. However, it’s essential to remain calm and act quickly. The first step is to remove any plant material from your cat’s mouth and rinse its mouth gently with water. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by a veterinarian.

Next, try to identify the plant your cat has ingested. If you can, take a sample of the plant or a picture to show to the vet. Call your vet immediately and inform them of the situation. If it’s after hours, contact an emergency veterinary clinic.

Prompt veterinary care is crucial. Your vet will be able to provide the best course of action, which may include inducing vomiting, administering activated charcoal to absorb the toxins, or providing supportive care such as fluids and medications to help your cat recover.

For more information on toxic houseplants for cats and dogs, read this article on ohiotropics.com.

What Houseplants Are Bad For Cats: Tips for Cat Owners

Now that you know what houseplants are bad for cats, it’s important to create a safe environment for your furry friend. Here are some key takeaways and tips for cat owners:

  1. Check the toxicity of plants before buying: Always check if a plant is toxic to cats before bringing it into your home. There are many resources available online, including the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants.
  2. Keep toxic plants out of reach: If you must have toxic plants in your home, make sure to keep them out of reach of your cat. However, it’s always best to avoid having toxic plants in your home altogether.
  3. Provide safe alternatives: Provide your cat with safe alternatives to chew on, such as cat grass.
  4. Know the signs of poisoning: Common signs of poisoning in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, difficulty breathing, and lethargy. If you notice any of these signs, contact your vet immediately.

For a list of houseplants cat owners should avoid, read this article on rd.com.

Prevention is always better than cure. By creating a safe environment for your cat and being vigilant about the plants you bring into your home, you can help ensure your cat stays happy and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Houseplants Are Bad For Cats?

Many houseplants can be harmful to cats. Some common ones include:

  • Lilies
  • Poinsettias
  • Philodendrons
  • Aloe Vera
  • Ivy

These plants contain toxins that can cause symptoms ranging from mild nausea to severe kidney failure in cats.

Why Are Some Houseplants Toxic To Cats?

Some houseplants contain chemicals or toxins that are harmful to cats. For example, lilies contain a toxin that can cause kidney failure in cats. Similarly, poinsettias contain a milky, white sap that can irritate a cat’s mouth and stomach, causing mild signs of vomiting, drooling, or diarrhea.

What Are The Symptoms Of Plant Poisoning In Cats?

Symptoms of plant poisoning in cats can vary depending on the plant ingested. Common symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

If your cat exhibits any of these symptoms after ingesting a plant, contact your veterinarian immediately.

How Can I Prevent My Cat From Eating Harmful Plants?

Preventing your cat from eating harmful plants can be challenging, especially if your cat is determined to chew on them. However, you can:

  • Remove all toxic plants from your home.
  • Provide cat-friendly plants like cat grass or catnip.
  • Use deterrents like bitter apple spray on the leaves of your plants.

What Should I Do If My Cat Eats A Toxic Plant?

If your cat eats a toxic plant, it is essential to act quickly.

  1. Remove any plant material from your cat’s mouth.
  2. Contact your veterinarian or an emergency pet poison helpline immediately.
  3. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by a professional.


Being aware of “What Houseplants Are Bad For Cats” is crucial for every cat owner. Many common houseplants can cause harm to your furry friend, ranging from mild irritation to severe organ damage. It is essential to know which plants are toxic and to remove them from your home or place them out of reach of your cat. If you suspect your cat has ingested a toxic plant, contact your veterinarian or an emergency pet poison helpline immediately. Your vigilance can help keep your cat safe and healthy.

Thank you for reading!