Knowing which plants in your home and garden are toxic to cats could help to protect your kitty's health if they suffer from poisoning due to ingesting toxic plants. In today's post our Santa Cruz vets list some common plants that are toxic to cats and what to do if your cat nibbles on your houseplants.
Common Plants & Cats
Our feline friends are pretty careful about what they eat, making poisoning relatively rare in cats. That said, when poisoning due to plant ingestion does happen in cats it is often down to a bored cat playing with and nibbling on a plant that looks fun, or cat's grooming.
Cats that are around toxic plants may get the seeds or pollen trapped in their fur or on their paws. Then, while the cat is grooming themselves the toxic substances are ingested.
Other cats are just playful and love to jump and explore. Playful or bored cats may spot a lush green vine hanging down and decide the plant looks like a fun new toy. Keeping toxic houseplants out of a playful cat's reach can be a challenge.
For the sake of your cat's health, our Santa Cruz and Greater Memphis area vets recommend that you take some time to learn the names of the plants you have in your home, and research which plants are toxic to your cat or kitten.
Protect Your Cat From Toxic Plants
When it comes to plants, it's best to do the research before buying and only bring home plants that are safe for your pet.
If you already own plants included on the list below consider giving them to a friend who doesn't have a cat, or store your plant in a room that your cat can't get in to.
That said, our vets know that accidents happen. If your cat does ingest a toxic or poisonous houseplant, knowing the plant's name will help your vet to treat your cat quickly and with fewer tests.
Plants That Are Toxic For Cats
Many plants 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 Santa Cruz vet as soon as possible.
Lily poisoning can be fatal in cats.
Common Signs 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 affected 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, or if it's after hours please call your emergency vet's office in Santa Cruz for assistance. 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.