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Plants Toxic to Cats

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

With the recent house plant craze sweeping the nation, most people have a plant or two in their house. With our mobile vets visiting many homes, they couldn't agree with this statement more! Plants can be a great addition and a welcoming touch to any house, though it is important to be aware of house plants that may potentially be toxic for cats.

Indoor cats love to chew foliage, its important to ensure your house plant collection is safe for your pets.

Our feline friends may enjoy the catnip filled toys that can help to give them a euphoric state of calm, but other house plants and even bunches of flowers can cause severe illnesses if ingested or chewed by your pet.

Eucalyptus (Myrtaceae) is a well known Australian native with its fragrant scent and pale green leaves commonly used in floral arrangements. The toxic component of the plant is called Eucalyptol, which is also found in many essential oils. If ingested, clinical signs include diarrhoea, vomiting, lack of appetite and drooling. Take care when purchasing essential oils that contain Eucalyptol and if you suspect ingestion, call your house call vet for advice.

The Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) is a common houseplant across Australia with its beautiful white flowers, though it is highly toxic and even life threatening to felines if ingested. If you suspect your cat has eaten or licked any part of the plant, give your mobile vet a call immediately for a triage assessment on the phone. Typically your vet would run laboratory work including a blood test and urine test. Depending on these results a plan may be created to monitor the kidney function of your cat, as this may be compromised depending on the severity of toxicity.

Snake plant (Sansevieria) is a common house plant and is difficult to kill, making it very popular. Though if chewed or ingested by your feline friend, it can cause nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting due to its toxic component called saponins which are found in all parts of the plant. The symptoms are linked to the gastrointestinal tract and signs to watch out for include abdominal discomfort, excessive drooling and appetite loss.

Devils Ivy (Epipremnum aureum), also commonly known as Pothos contains a toxic component that causes tongue, lip, mouth and throat irritation if eaten or chewed. Other signs to look out for include drooling, difficulty swallowing and drooling. It is important to remember that cats have the ability to hide their symptoms well if they don't feel well (an in-built defense mechanism that helps to keep them safe in the wild). Always contact your house call vet if you have any suspicions or doubts that your cat isn’t feeling their best.

If you believe your pet may have chewed or ingested a potentially toxic plant, call your mobile vet immediately, taking a photo of the plant may also help the vet identify the species and confirm if it is toxic. From here the vet can help to create a treatment plan, it is important to act quickly as this can significantly impact your pets outcome and health.

Cat hiding behind plants from its local mobile vet

Plants provide environmental enrichment for cats. It is important to choose species that are safe for your pets

Plant swapping

You can still have the house plant aesthetic at home with just a few simple plant swaps,

particularly if you have introduced a new cat into the household, or may be concerned that your furry friend will get up to mischief when you’re not around.

  • Artificial plants are a great way to introduce some greenery into your home without the worry of toxicities.

  • Spider plants are a favourite amongst veterinarians, they are easy to grow, pet friendly and are great air purifiers.

  • Boston Fern is a lush green plant that requires little maintenance and low light. Your kitty can swipe the ferns all it likes and is safe for both cats and dogs.

  • Ponytail palm is a plant that can be neglected and forgotten about with minimal watering needs a great beginner house plant along with pet friendly benefits.


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