If you have a cat and a garden, you should know which plants are harmful to cats. Flora and fauna coexist to create an ecological balance, which means there are always potential dangers that
can hamper their existence. Plants that are in the wild cause more harm to animals than those cultivated at home. If you have pets at home, ensure that you are aware of what type of plants you grow in your garden. Most of us are fond of our cats and it is our responsibility to make sure we keep them safe. Instinctively, these felines are cautious of what they come in contact with, especially what they eat, but there may be circumstances that the cat may come into contact with harmful leaves or seeds.
Kittens are more vulnerable to sampling plants as they don’t have the instincts of an adult cat.
Cats in the wild do not have the tendency to eat unfamiliar plants, but house cats have to be kept away from dangerous plants.
A common problem that cat owners face is their cats using and damaging their furniture. Instead of training their cats to not damage their furniture, some of them start putting them in the garden where they won’t destroy their furniture. However, this places them in danger one of which is eating plants which are can be toxic to them. If you are one of them or just simply have a problem in keeping your cats off your furniture, do read my article on how to keep your cats off your furniture by clicking here.
In the case, where you would like to not let your cat out in the garden but are forced to do so because of litter box issues, be sure to check out our self cleaning litter box guide.
16 Common Plants poisonous to cats
The list of harmful plants to cats is enormous; there are more than 700 species of flora that are dangerous, many of these are plants poisonous to cats. The range to which the poison can affect the cat could vary, and in some cases could result in death. Not just leaves, but the bark, stem, flowers, berries, seed, tubers and spouts can be poisonous when contacted or ingested. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about a large majority as they are not common in our daily lives and hence irrelevant.
Here is a list of 16 of the most common plants that are toxic to cats.
1. Aloe Vera: This is a common plant that people like to grow in their garden for its benefits. Affected cats show
gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors.
2. Amaryllis: A common plant which is grown for it’s ornamental value. Most of the poison is concentrated in the bulbs. Causes gastrointestinal symptoms and tremors.
3. Asparagus fern: It has a toxic agent called Sapogenin that can cause skin allergies on animals, with repeated exposure.
4. Begonia: Tubers of this common garden plant are the most toxic.
5. Cyclamen or sowbread: It is a flowering plant that is poisonous when swallowed by cats. It causes irregular heart rhythm and seizures.
6. Carnations: Although it is mildly harmful, we use Carnations commonly in floral arrangements. Therefore, it is better to be aware that it can cause inflammation of the skin and an upset stomach to cats.
7. Castor bean: If you like to take your cats out for walks, this is one of the plants to watch out for. It is often used in parks and other places for landscaping purposes, but can cause nervous and abdominal symptoms if ingested, which can be fatal.
8. Corn plant: It contains Saponin that causes dilated pupils when eaten by cats.
9. Dieffenbachia or dumb cane: It is a tropical flowering plant that causes oral irritation, often resulting in increased salivation.
10. Daffodils: Daffodils are pretty and it is hard to consider that they can be harmful to anybody. Sadly, munching on these can cause abdominal, nervous and cardiac effects on your cat.
11. Elephant Ear: It is another plant that can cause difficulty in food swallowing and can result in vomiting.
12. Lillies: Lillies are all-too-common and lovely, but their beauty hides its toxicity to cats. Ingestion could lead to vomiting and kidney failure that has to be treated immediately, or it could cause a quick death. Although the exact component is not known, they are fatal at even small levels of ingestion.
13. Marijuana plants: They are toxic to cats upon ingestion. It affects the central nervous system and can be fatal.
14. Heartleaf philodendron or horsehead: It is a houseplant that can cause irritation when it comes in contact with the mouth or tongue.
15. Jade plant: can lead to slow heart beat.
16. Stain Pothos: It can cause vomiting and irritation.
How to protect cats from poisonous plants?
The first step is to remove all toxic plants for cats from your garden and keep your cats indoor. Of course, if your cat is a free roaming one, then it is more difficult to prevent contact with toxic plants. If your neighbors have any potential toxic plants, then make a note of them, so that it will be easier for the vet to treat your cat. While buying plants from the nursery ensure that they are coded by the Horticultural Trade Association. Plants can be grouped into
b. Toxic if eaten and
c. Harmful if eaten
Sometimes, any contact with leaves, stems and sap can cause skin irritation and rashes. In cats, it can cause itching and blistering of the mouth. Even leaves of tomato, carrot, celery, cucumbers and strawberry may cause skin irritation in cats. If you grow vegetables or ornamental flowers in your garden, it is ideal to restrict access of the cat to them.
Preventing free roaming of kittens in bushes when they are young is very important. Kittens are not very smart at recognizing any plants that may be allergic or toxic to them. If you take your kittens on a trip, make sure they don’t wander off in the bushes. Be aware of and keep an eye out for any toxic plants in the vicinity.
Immediate veterinary care
Only a veterinarian can confirm if your cat has been poisoned. If you notice strange behavior in cats or if it shows skin irritation, continuous vomiting or if your cat collapses it is time to approach a veterinarian. If you can get the
sample of the plant that you suspect, take it along with you to the vet. This can help the vet to get an antidote quickly to save your cat from discomfort. Sometimes it may take a long time for the poison to work on the cat so it is wise to always keep a watch on your pet.
The vet gives the cat activated charcoal to absorb the toxins from the gut and also give medication like sucralfate to heal the damages in the stomach.
Cats are prone to probing and it is difficult to control their wandering nature due to their climbing traits. As responsible pet owners, you have to take care of your pet and ensure that they are properly fed and watered. Make a note of the plants in your garden and if you find any plants that can harm your cat, remove them immediately.