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Are Houseplants Poisonous to Cats?

November 30, 2020

Are Houseplants Poisonous to Cats?

Having plants inside your home offers a wealth of benefits. It helps purify your air, reduce carbon dioxide and improve your health. However, you may not know that many houseplants can be harmful to your beloved kitty. Keep reading to learn more about the relationship between houseplants and cats.

Why Does My Cat Eat Plants?

While no one knows for sure why cats tend to eat houseplants, there are some theories as to why they do. One explanation is that cats eat plants as a digestive aid. If your cat ate something like a feather or hairball, they need fiber to flush out their system, so they might gnaw on a plant to get that nutrient. Another theory to consider is that some cats just have an oral fixation to chew on things including plants, shoelaces, string, blankets and more.

Which Parts of the Plant are Toxic for Cats?

It widely varies from plant to plant, as some parts of a plant may have a higher concentration of toxicity than others. For example, the bulb of a daffodil is the most toxic part of that plant, while the only poisonous part of a cyclamen is the root, which isn’t very accessible to cats. All in all, though, if you find a plant that’s on a list of poisonous plants, it’s best to play it safe and assume that the entire plant is harmful to your cats.

Symptoms to Look Out For

Numerous plants are irritants, so if you think your cat ingested part of a plant, watch out for these symptoms:


  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drinking or urinating
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty breathing


Common House Plants Poisonous to Cats

While this isn’t a comprehensive list of all the houseplants that are poisonous to cats – since there are literally thousands of them – these are the ones you should definitely avoid bringing into your home:


  • Lilies, all varieties
  • Aloe Vera
  • Asparagus fern
  • Monstera, or Swiss cheese plant
  • Oleander
  • Daffodils
  • Ficus
  • Corn plant
  • Jade plant
  • Elephant ear
  • Devil’s ivy
  • Sago palm


What Plants Can I Bring into My Home?

Even though there are several plants that are harmful to your precious kitty, there are still plenty of pet-friendly plants you can have in your house. Here are some houseplants you should consider:


  • Spider plant
  • Boston fern
  • Moth orchid
  • Bamboo palm
  • Areca palm
  • Money plant
  • Swedish ivy
  • Cast iron plant
  • Bird’s nest fern
  • Calathea rattlesnake
  • Parlor palm
  • Haworthia zebra
  • Poinsettia — they are only mildly toxic and shouldn't be too concerning

The Bottom Line

If you want your houseplants and cat to coexist in your home, be sure to research the species first to see if it’s poisonous to your feline pal. Even if the plant you’re interested in only has minor adverse effects on your cat, it’s best to not bring them to your home so you can keep your furry friend safe.


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