They don’t look tasty, but for some reason cats love to chew on house plants.These plants do more than decorate your home—if eaten by felines, they can be toxic. Sure, you’re limited when it comes to decorating for the holidays—no more holly and mistletoe at Christmas, or lilies and daffodils in the spring—but there won’t be any emergency trips to the vet. Here are five popular indoor plants that are poisonous to cats (there are more, so before you bring a plant home, do your research to find out if it’s toxic to your feline).
LilyA popular indoor plant, especially in the spring and Easter, lilies are deadly when eaten by cats. From top to bottom (even its pollen) can poison your cat, so it’s best to keep it out of your home. Symptoms of ingestion include lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting. If your cat does eat a lily, you need to get him to the vet right away—toxicity will spread throughout your cat’s body, leading to kidney damage and death.
TulipNothing signals the coming of spring like the tulip, but this beautiful bloom is toxic to cats, especially when they ingest the bulbs. If your cat eats a tulip, symptoms will include severe gastrointestinal upset, loss of appetite, drooling, and convulsions. The central nervous system and cardiovascular system may also start to shut down.
Azalea/RhododendronInside or out, azaleas and rhododendrons are toxic to cats. When ingested, your cat will exhibit excessive drooling, loss of appetite, digestive upset that includes colic and diarrhea, weakness, and loss of coordination. Leg paralysis and a weakened heart rate are also common. Left untreated, a cat can die within days.
FoxgloveBecause every part of the foxglove plant is toxic to felines, keep this plant out of your home. First symptoms associated with ingestion of foxglove include excessive salivation and vomiting. The cat’s pulse may become stronger but will slow down at the same time. Later, it may become weaker and beat more rapidly. All of this can lead to shock, hypotension, and collapse, as the cat slips into a coma. This plant is so dangerous it can ultimately lead to the death of your cat, so immediate veterinary treatment is needed if your cat eats any part of a foxglove plant.
CyclamenAnother popular and pretty flowering houseplant that’s dangerous to felines is the cyclamen. Symptoms associated with ingestion of this plant include excessive salivation, diarrhea, and vomiting. Your cat may also experience heart arrhythmias and seizures that can become fatal.
©istockphoto/taka4332This isn’t a complete list of indoor plants poisonous to cats, so do your research before bringing a new plant into your home. There are many beautiful feline-friendly houseplants you can use to brighten your décor, but to be safe, always place plants in an area that’s out of your cat’s reach. This will keep them looking lovely and prevent any potential side effects associated with ingestion.