Common Houseplants that are Toxic for Cats

Common Houseplants that are Toxic for Cats

Our cat Bettie is a muncher of plants. I don’t know if she sees them as her own salad bar, is a spiteful little cat, or a combination of both (okay…she’s probably a combination of both) but there are a few plants in our hoard that has little tiny cat-tooth-shaped puncture marks on their leaves.

For a while, I just sort of accepted it as the “joy” of having flora and fauna under the same roof, but then I started reading more and finding out that not only are there plants that can really mess a cat up, but they’re SUPER popular right now.

Worse yet, some of them are in our house right now! Ugh, FML.

Just to give you a heads up, here are some signs that your cat might’ve been munching on the bad shit: 

Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of coordination

What to do:

Honestly, just go directly to the vet. I can’t give you advice on how serious it is, but if you’re worried, the cost of the vet appointment is well worth the peace of mind. 

So let me get out of the way and get down to this terrifyingly ginormous list of common houseplants that are toxic to cats. I’ve tried to group them into “least to worst” categories, but honestly, if you think your cat has ingested any of these, play on the safe side and get thee to a veterinarian.

PS – I am NOT a veterinarian so take my benchmark with what is “mild” vs “incredibly” with a grain of salt. I considered the benchmark to be if the word “vomiting” was mentioned anywhere.

Credit to the ASPCA for this information, their site has a lot more (422 omg) so check it out.

Houseplants that are Mildly Toxic for Cats

  • Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) – Mild gastrointestinal signs, mild dermatitis
  • Catnip (I know, right?)(Nepeta cataria) – From the ASPCA: “Many cats love catnip, but it can cause vomiting and diarrhea. It makes some cats sedated and others stimulated.”
  • Dahlia (Dahlia species) – Mild gastrointestinal signs, mild dermatitis
  • India Rubber Plant (Ficus benjamina) – Gastrointestinal and dermal irritation
  • Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) – Stomach upset, colic
  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) – Stomach upset, colic
  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) – Photosensitization (sunburn, dermatitis), large amounts are needed to cause this effect
  • Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) – Irritating to the mouth and stomach
  • St. Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum) – Photosensitization (ulcerative and exudative dermatitis).
  • Wandering Jew (Tradescantia flumeninsis) – Dermatitis

Houseplants that are Incredibly Toxic for Cats

  • Aloe (Aloe Vera) – Vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea
  • Alocasia (Alocasia spp.) – Oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
  • Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.) – depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia, tremors.
  • American Holly (Ilex opaca) – Vomiting, diarrhea and depression.
  • Apple (Malus sylvestrus) – brick red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting, shock.
  • Azalea (Rhododendron spp) – Vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, cardiac failure
  • Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) – Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Begonia (Begonia spp.) – Vomiting, salivation in dogs/cats. Most toxic part is underground.
  • Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii) – Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing and incoordination is possible.
  • Calla Lilly (Zantedeschia aethiopica) – Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
  • Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) – Contact dermatitis, vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, allergic reactions. Long term use can lead to bleeding tendencies.
  • Cherry (Prunus spp.) – Stems, leaves, seeds contain cyanide, particularly toxic in the process of wilting: brick red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting, shock.
  • Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema modestum) – Oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting (not horses), difficulty swallowing
  • Chinese Jade (Crassula arborescens) – Vomiting, drunkeness, tremors (rare)
  • Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) – Vomiting, breakdown of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia), blood in urine, weakness, high heart rate, panting.
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp.) – Vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, incoordination, dermatitis
  • Clematis (Clematis spp.) – Salivation, vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Coleus (Coleus ampoinicus) – Vomiting, diarrhea, depression, anorexia, occasionally bloody diarrhea or vomiting
  • Colocasia (Colocasia esculenta) – Oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
  • Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans) – Vomiting (occasionally with blood), depression, anorexia, hypersalivation, dilated pupils
  • Daffodil (Narcissus spp) – Vomiting, salvation, diarrhea; large ingestions cause convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors and cardiac arrhythmias. Bulbs are the most poisonous part.
  • Daisy (Chrysanthemum species) – Vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, incoordination, dermatitis
  • Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia) – Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth , tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
  • Dracaena (Dracaena spp.) – Vomiting (occasionally with blood), depression, anorexia, hypersalivation, dilated pupils
  • Easter Lily (Lilium longiflorum) – Vomiting, inappetence, lethargy, kidney failure, and death is possible.
  • Elephant Ears (Caladium hortulanum) – Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing.
  • English Ivy (Hedera helix) – Vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, diarrhea. Foliage is more toxic than berries
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus species) – Salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, weakness
  • Fiddle Leaf Fig (Philodendron bipennifolium) – Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.
  • Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) – Cardiac arrhythmias, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, cardiac failure, death.
  • Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) – Mild vomiting and/or diarrhea, hives.
  • Garlic (Allium sativum) – Vomiting, breakdown of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia), blood in urine, weakness, high heart rate, panting
  • Geranium (Pelargonium species) – Vomiting, anorexia, depression, dermatitis
  • Golden Pothos (Scindapsus aureus) – Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
  • Hosta (Hosta plataginea) – Vomiting, diarrhea, depression.
  • Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) – Vomiting, depression, diarrhea
  • Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis) – Intense vomiting, diarrhea, occassionally with blood, depression and tremors.
  • Iris (Iris species) – Salivation, vomiting, drooling,lethargy, diarrhea. Highest concentration in rhizomes.
  • Jade (Crassula argentea) – Vomiting, depression, incoordination
  • Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe spp) – Vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythm (rare).
  • Larkspur (Delphinium species) – constipation, colic, increased salivation, muscle tremors, stiffness, weakness, recumbency, and convulsions
  • Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) – Nausea, vomiting
  • Lily (Lilium species) – Kidney failure
  • Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) – Vomiting, irregular heart beat, low blood pressure, disorientation, coma, seizures
  • Lobelia (Lobelia cardinalis) – Depression, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive salivation, abdominal pain, heart rhythm disturbances.
  • Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) – Vomiting (occasionally with blood), depression, anorexia, hypersalivation, dilated pupils
  • Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) – Prolonged depression, vomiting, incoordination, sleepiness or excitation, hypersalivaton, dilated pupils, low blood pressure, low body temperature, seizure, coma, death (rare)
  • Mint (Mentha sp) – Vomiting and diarrhea with large ingestions
  • Mistletoe (Phoradendron flavescens) – Vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure (rare), difficulty breathing, low heart rate
  • Morning Glory (Ipomoea spp) – Vomiting
  • Monstera Deliciosa (Monstera deliciosa) – Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing.
  • Mother of Millions (Kalanchoe tubiflora) – Vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythm (rare).
  • Onion (Allium cepa) – Vomiting, breakdown of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia), blood in urine, weakness, high heart rate, panting
  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare hirtum) – Mild vomiting and diarrhea
  • Paper White (Narcissus spp) – Vomiting, salvation, diarrhea; large ingestions cause convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors and cardiac arrhythmias. Bulbs are the most poisonous part.
  • Peace Begonia (Begonia rex ‘peace') – Kidney failure (in grazing animals), vomiting, salivation in dogs/cats. Most toxic part is underground.
  • Peace Lilly (Spathiphyllum) – Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.
  • Peacock Flower (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) – Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Peony (Paeonis officinalis) – Vomiting, diarrhea, depression
  • Periwinkle (Vinca rosea) – Vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, depression, tremors, seizures, coma, death.
  • Rex Begonia (Begonia rex) – Kidney failure (in grazing animals), vomiting, salivation in dogs/cats. Most toxic part is underground.
  • Ribbon Plant (Dracaena spp.) – Vomiting (occasionally with blood), depression, anorexia, hypersalivation, dilated pupils
  • Satin Pothos (Scindapsus pictus) – Oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting (not horses), difficulty swallowing
  • Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta, zamia species) – Vomiting, melena, icterus, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, coagulopathy, liver damage, liver failure, death.
  • Shamrock (Oxalis spp.) – Kidney failure (rare in dogs/cats), tremors, salivation
  • Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) – Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Split Leaf Phildendron (Philodendron bipennifolium) – Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.
  • Sweet Pea (Lathyrus latifolius) – Weakness, lethargy, pacing, head pressing, tremors, seizures and possibly death.
  • Taro (Caladium hortulanum) – Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing.
  • Tiger Lily (Lilium tigrinum) – Vomiting, inappetence, lethargy, kidney failure, and death is possible.
  • Tobacco (Nicotiana glauca) – Hyperexcitability then depression, vomiting, incoordination, paralysis, death is possible.
  • Tulip (Tulipa spp.) – Vomiting, depression, diarrhea, hypersalivation. Highest concentration of toxin in bulb.
  • Umbrella Tree (Schefflera or Brassia actinoplylla) – Mild vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Variegated Philodendron (Scindapsus, Philodendron spp) – Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing
  • Wisteria (Wisteria spp.) – Vomiting (sometimes with blood), diarrhea, depression
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) – Increased urination, vomiting, diarrhea, dermatitis.

Interested in plants that aren’t going to kill your cat AND are easy to grow? Download my guide to plants for newbies (it’s free!).