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Plants That Are Toxic to Cats

Plants That Are Toxic to Cats

While they may look beautiful, many common house and garden plants are toxic to cats. If your furry best friend nibbles on a plant, being able to tell your veterinarian exactly what your cat has eaten will help your Lacey vet determine and administer appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.

Cat Poisoning

Anyone who's lived with a kitty knows they will always take an opportunity to jump and explore. This makes keeping toxic houseplants out of the reach of a curious cat's paws a challenging task. 

To help protect your pet's long-term health, our Lacey vets recommend that you spend some time learning the types of plants you have in your home, and research which plants are toxic to your pets. 

How You Can Protect Your Cat

Moving your toxic plants to another room your cat is not able to get to or removing the plants from your home is the safest thing you can do for your cat. That said, if your kitty does manage to ingest a poisonous or toxic houseplant, knowing the type of plant and its official name can help your vet to quickly treat your feline friend. 

If you spot your cat eating any plant that you're unsure of, call your vet. 

Plants That Are Toxic To Cats 

Many plants are poisonous or toxic to cats. This list includes many common houseplants that can harm your kitten or cat:

  • Spring bulbs 
  • Amaryllis 
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Azaleas and Rhododendrons
  • Castor Bean
  • Chrysanthemum 
  • Daffodils
  • Dieffenbachia 
  • English Ivy 
  • Hyacinths
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lily
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Marijuana 
  • Oleander 
  • Peace Lily 
  • Pothos, Devil’s Ivy
  • Sago Palm
  • Spanish Thyme
  • Tulip
  • Yew

Toxic Parts of Plants

Pollen, needles, seeds, flowers and leaves can all be potentially toxic for cats. Often cats ingest toxic plant substances while grooming themselves due to pollen or seeds being trapped in their fur or on their paws. Bored cats may find that a hanging plant makes for an amusing toy and chew the leaves or vines while playing.

Signs that Your Cat May Have Ingested a Toxic Plant

Different plants pose different health risks to cats, and some are much more dangerous than others. Symptoms of plant poisoning in cats can range from mild skin irritations to serious issues affecting the kidneys or heart.

Symptoms of Irritants

  • Itchiness, scratching
  • Swelling
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Irritation around the mouth

Gastrointestinal Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Other Serious Symptoms

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Drooling, difficulties swallowing
  • Frequent Urination

What To Do If Your Cat Has Been Eating Plants 

See your vet if you notice your cat eating a plant that you are unsure of. But before heading to the vet there are a few things you should do:

Move Your Cat to Safety

Calmly 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.

Identify the Poison

Take a few seconds to identify the plant that your cat has been eating then call your regular vet, or if it's after hours please call us at Olympia Pet Emergency. Let the vet know what has happened and that you will be bringing your cat in for an examination.

Bring a Sample of the Plant With You

Bring along a sample of the plant to show your emergency veterinarian, or if you are unsure which plant your cat has been eating consider bringing in a sample of your cat's vomit containing the plant material.

Diagnosis of Plant Poisoning in Cats

Being able to identify the plant that your cat has ingested will give your vet a head start when it comes to diagnosis and treatment.

If you can't provide your vet with the name of the plant your cat has ingested, or a sample of the plant matter, your vet will need to run a series of tests to identify the type of poison ingested in order to provide appropriate treatment to your feline friend.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets.

If you see your cat eating any substances that are potentially toxic, call your regular vet during normal business hours, or call our emergency vets at Olympia Pet Emergency in Lacey outside of normal business hours. 

Walk-in Patients Welcome

At Olympia Pet Emergency, you can always access our full complement of emergency services without an appointment. We treat both walk-in patients and referrals for urgent veterinary care.

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