Dangerous plants

Find out more about the plants that may be hazardous to cats.

Poisonous plants for cats

Lilies (all parts of the plant) are poisonous to cats but many other plants are dangerous if eaten. Take a look at our guide on poisonous plants to learn how to keep your cat safe from harm.

Why are lilies dangerous to cats?

Lilies are particularly toxic to cats. Although you might find that your cat is disinterested in eating them, there is always a risk that they may come into contact with the flower's pollen by rubbing up against it and absent-mindedly licking their fur.

Unfortunately there are several types of lilies that are poisonous to cats, including Easter lily, tiger lily and other members of the lily family. If you're not sure what these look like, take a look at our visual guides below.

All parts of the lily plant are toxic to cats if ingested, and consuming small amounts can result in severe poisoning. If you're concerned, the best way to prevent your cat from being poisoned is simply to not have lilies plants in your home or garden.

Keeping your cat safe from dangerous plants

Cats are usually careful about what they eat. However, sometimes young, inquisitive or bored cats may nibble on a plant that makes them sick. They can also unintentionally ingest poisonous pollen or plant matter when grooming themselves.

Does your cat like to eat grass? You could grow cat-friendly plants like catnip, mint, cat thyme and lavender to encourage them to nibble non-toxic plants in the garden. When gardening, clear away clippings as these may intrigue curious cats.

If you suspect your cat has eaten a poisonous plant, contact your vet immediately. Don't wait for signs of illness to appear as by then it could be too late to save your cat.

Which flowers are toxic to cats?

Whether you're choosing beautiful blooms for a bouquet or wondering what indoor plants to get, you'll need to be wary of the flowers that are hazardous to your feline friend. Common blooms like lilies, poppies and marigolds can be harmful as well as seasonal plants like mistletoe and poinsettia. Click to expand our visual guides below.

bouquets infographic

cat poisoning indoor plants infographic

How to make a cat-safe bouquet

If you're putting together a bunch of blooms for your home, or for the home of someone you love, you might want to make sure the flowers you're using are cat-safe.

Find out how to create a cat-safe bouquet in our how-to video.

Poisonous house plants

 

Amaryllis
Aphelandra
Azalea
Castor Oil Plant (also see Ricinus)
Christmas Cherry (also see Solanum)
Cheese plant (see also Swiss Cheese Plant, Monstera deliciosa)
Chrysanthemum (also see
Dendranthema)
Codiaeum
Croton (also see Codiaeum)
Cyclamen
Devil’s Ivy (also see Epipremnum aureum)
Dieffenbachia*
Dumb Cane (also see Dieffenbachia)
Elephant’s Ear (also see Alocasia,
Caladium)
Epipremnum aureum
 

Ferns
Holly (also see Ilex)
Hypoestes phyllostachya
Hyacinthus
Ivy (also see Hedera)
Kalanchoe
Mistletoe (also see Viscum)
Nerium oleander
Oleander (also see Nerium oleander)
Ornithogalum
Senecio
Star of Bethlehem (also see Ornithogalum)
Umbellatum
Umbrella Plant (also see Schefflera)
Zebra Plant (also see Aphelandra)

The Great Outdoors

Keen gardeners will need to be aware that some outdoor plants can be toxic to cats. Usually cats will instinctively avoid eating poisonous plants, but it is still best to stay vigilant. For more information on outdoor plants that may be dangerous, take a look at the visual guide below.

Poisonous garden plants

 

Abrus precatorius
Aconitum*
Actaea
Aesculus
Agrostemma githago
Aleurites
Allium
Alocasia
Alstroemeria*
Anagallis
Anemone
Angel’s Trumpets (also see
Brugmansia)
Angel Wings (also see Caladium)
Apricot (also see Prunus armeniaca)
Aquilegia
Arisaema
Arum
Astragalus
Atropa
Avocado (also see Persea americana)
Azalea (also see Rhododendron)
Baneberry (also see Actaea)
Bird of Paradise (also see Strelitzia)
Black-eyed Susan (also see
Thunbergia)
Bloodroot (also see Sanguinaria)
Box (also see Buxus)
Broom (also see Cytisus)
Brugmansia
Bryony
Buckthorn (also see Rhamnus)
Burning Bush (also see Dictamnus)
Buttercup (also see Ranunculus)
Buxus
Caesalpinia
Caladium
Caltha*
Catharanthus
Celastrus
Centaurea cyanus
Cestrum
Cherry Laurel (also see Prunus
laurocerasus)
Chincherinchee (also see
Ornithogalum)
Chrysanthemum (also see
Dendranthema)
Clematis
Colchicum
Columbine (also see Aquilegia)
Conium
Convallaria majalis
Corncockle (also see Agrostemma
githago)
Cornflower (also see Centaurea
cyanus)
Cotoneaster
Crocus (also see Colchicum)
X Cupressocyparis leylandii*
Cyclamen
Cytisus
Daffodil (also see Narcissus)
Daphne*
Datura*
Delonix
Delphinium
Dendranthema*
Dicentra
Dictamnus
Digitalis
Echium*
Elder (also see Sambucus)
Euonymus
Euphorbia*
False Acacia (also see Robinia)
Ferns
Ficus
Flax (also see Linum)

Foxglove (also see Digitalis)
Frangula (also see Rhamnus)
Fremontodendron*
Galanthus
Gaultheria
Giant Hog Weed (also see Heracleum
mantegazzianum)
Gloriosa superba
Glory Lily (also see Gloriosa superba)
Hedera*
Helleborus*
Hemlock (also see Conium)
Henbane (also see Hyoscyamus)
Heracleum mantegazzianum
Hippeastrum
Holly (also see Ilex)
Horse Chestnut (also see Aesculus)
Hyacinthus
Hydrangea

Hyoscyamus
Ilex
Ipomoea
Iris
Ivy (also see Hedera)
Jasminum
Juniperus sabina
Kalmia
Kalanchoe
Laburnum
Lantana
Larkspur (also see Delphinium)
Lathyrus
Ligustrum
Lilium
Lily of the Valley (also see Convallaria
majalis)
Linum
Lobelia* (except bedding Lobelia)
Lords and Ladies (Cuckoo Pint) (also
see Arum)
Lupinus
Lycopersicon*
Lysichiton
Madagascar Periwinkle (also see
Catharanthus)
Marigold (also see Tagetes)
Melia
Mirabilis jalapa
Monks Wood (also see Aconitum)
Morning Glory (also see Ipomoea)
Narcissus
Nerium oleander
Nicotiana
Nightshade, Deadly (also see Atropa)
Nightshade, Woody (also see
Solanum)
Oak (also see Quercus)
Onion (also see Allium)
Ornithogalum
Oxytropis
Paeonia
Papaver
Parthenocissus
Peach (also see Prunus persica)
Peony (also see Paeonia)
Pernettya
Persea americana
Philodendron
Physalis
Phytolacca
Pokeweed (also see Phytolacca)
Polygonatum
Poppy (also see Papaver)
Primula obconica*
Privet (also see Ligustrum)
Prunus armeniaca
Prunus laurocerasus

Prunus persica
Quercus
Ranunculus
Rhamnus (including R frangula)
Rhododendron
Rhus*
Ricinus
Robinia
Rosary Pea (also see Abrus
precatorius)
Rubber Plant (also see Ficus)
Rudbeckia
Rue (also see Ruta)
Ruta
Sambucus
Sanguinaria
Schefflera*
Scilla
Skunk Cabbage (also see Lysichiton)
Snowdrop (also see Galanthus)
Solandra
Solanum
Solomon’s Seal (also seePolygonatum)
Spindle Tree (also see Euonymus)
Spurge (also see Euphorbia)
Strelitzia
Sumach (also see Rhus)
Sweet Pea (also see Lathyrus)
Tagetes
Tanacetum
Taxus
Tetradymia
Thornapple (also see Datura)
Thuja*
Thunbergia
Tobacco (also see Nicotiana)
Tomato (also see Lycopersicon)
Tulipa*
Veratrum
Viscum
Wisteria
Yew (also see Taxus)
*could cause skin irritation

Plants safe for cats

Everyone loves a colourful garden full of beautiful scents providing a peaceful sanctuary for both humans and animals. We’ve already listed those plants that can be toxic to cats, but here are some fantastic floral additions that are safe to plant.

  • Buddleia – common garden deciduous shrub/small tree with pendant spikes of flowers throughout the summer – white through to mauves and purples. Excellent for butterflies so cats therefore like it too! Can self–seed enthusiastically and does need regular very hard annual pruning early in the year before it starts to grow and sprout, to maintain size and shape and also to promote flowering.
  • Canterbury Bell – cottage garden perennial. Various colours, popular bee-friendly plant. Summer flowers. Member of Campanula family of which there are many varieties and are good popular garden perennials.
  • Coreopsis – short growing (generally) perennial with yellow to orange and occasionally other shades. Easy to grow, popular with bees and will grow in most soils.
  • Hibiscus – various varieties as both garden and some less hardy conservatory plants/small shrubs. Perennial and often with very showy flowers throughout the summer.
  • Hollyhock – old cottage garden favourite, many colours and generally grown as an annual/biennial. Good long lasting summer flowering season.
  • Gerbera daisy – half-hardy with great daisy-like flowers. Often sold as a pot plant for indoors, but also can survive outdoors in warmer regions. Good range of bright colours and a good cut flower too.
  • Impatiens – popular annual plant for hanging baskets and containers. Good range of colours. Be warned though, there is a species commonly known as Policeman's Helmet or Himalayan Balsam which is extremely invasive by self-seeding and is now on the RHS list of 'banned' plants! It looks great but just don't go there!
  • Nasturtium – good old garden favourite, annual grown from seed. It is edible by humans too and a good range of colours. There are scarcer perennial varieties, but these are not often seen/available.
  • Pansies – 'standard' fare in pots, baskets and containers. Flowering all year round dependant on variety – including winter months. Self-seeding and a huge range of colours and flower sizes. Include violas as well in this group – just really smaller variety of the same family.
  • Petunia – common garden favourite. Grown usually as an annual for containers, baskets etc. Huge range of colours and styles. Upright and trailing.
  • Roses – Huge range available now. Perennial shrubs, climbers and ramblers. Some varieties now for containers. Readily available. Single flower varieties good for insects, many scented.
  • Sunflower – easy to grow as an annual. Popular with kids as some will grow huge in a few weeks and then huge yellow/orange/red blooms which once seed is set, provide good source of food for garden birds.
  • Valerian – produces a similar effect to that of catmint, commonly available in garden centres. Produces pretty flowers which are popular with insects.
  • Zinnia – old favourite, plenty of colours and usually grown as an annual. Easy from seed although the slugs like them when starting. Bit of a cottagey feel and quite good for bees.

What are the signs of plant poisoning in my cat?

If you think your cat has been poisoned, contact your vet immediately. Don't wait for signs of illness to develop.

Signs of poisoning can include (but are not limited to)

  • salivation
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • twitching
  • fitting
  • breathing difficulties
  • shock
  • collapse
  • coma

First aid for poisoned cats

If you can see the poisonous substance, take your cat away from it and then call your vet for advice. They may want to see your cat immediately. Making your cat sick may not be helpful.

If you have evidence of what your cat has eaten, take a sample to the vet. Even a sample of vomit may help diagnosis, particularly if it is an unusual colour or contains plant matter.

A visual guide to keeping your pet safe

cats poisoning infographic

Related topics

Keeping cats safe outside - Topic

Poisoning - Topic

Cat first aid - Topic

Photo credit

Banner image - Kelvin Smit - unsplash.com

Inset image 2 - Matt Lewis - unsplash.com