Cat and plant

by Petfolk Care Team

Medically reviewed by Dr. Audrey Wystrach

15 Plants Safe for Cats (and 15 Highly Toxic Plants to Avoid)

Cats love to play and nip. Some of their favorite toys, much to their pet parents’ dismay, are plants. Your cat's interest in plants can be more than an annoyance, it can be highly dangerous, and sometimes even deadly. Not all plants are safe for cats. In order to keep their cat safe, it is important to know which plants are safe, and which should be removed from your household immediately. 

15 Plants that are Safe for Cats

There are a lot of plants that are safe to have in the house with your feline friend. However, remember that ingesting any plant can potentially cause gastrointestinal upset, so be sure to monitor and discourage your cat from chewing on plants of any species. To ensure your pet’s well-being, it is important to be sure that the plant species you have are safe and non-toxic to your cat. It’s important to take note of the genus and species when deciding which plants are good for your home. While some entire genera, or families of plants, are safe, some have only certain species that are. Here is a list of the most common plants that are safe for cats:

  1. African Violet (Saintpaulia genus)
  2. Air plants (Tillandsia genus)
  3. Boston fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata)
  4. Date palm (Phoenix Dactylifera)
  5. Parlor palm (Chamaedorea Elegans)
  6. Polka dot plant (Hypoestes Phyllostachys)
  7. Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea Recurvata)
  8. Spider plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)
  9. Orchid (Orchidaceae genus)
  10. Venus Flytrap (Dionaea Muscipula)
  11. Baby Tears (Helxine Soleirolii)
  12. Bromeliad (Bromeliaceae)
  13. Rattlesnake plant (Calathea Lancifolia)
  14. Prayer plant (Marantaceae)
  15. Staghorn fern (Platycerium) 

15 Plants that are Toxic for Cats

 On the other hand, there are also some plants that are not safe to have around your cat. Having a plant that is toxic to your feline can result in a lot of discomfort, damage, and even death if they ingest it. Lilies, for instance, are especially fatal to cats regardless of how quickly you get them to the vet. Do a detailed inventory of all the plants inside your home to make sure you aren’t accidentally housing a plant that can poison your furry friend. If you do have some plants that aren’t cat-friendly, give them to a pet-less friend. Be mindful of cut flowers as well, like the aforementioned lilies, as well as tulips and hyacinths.  

These are 15 of the most common toxic plants for cats:

  1. Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.)
  2. Autumn Crocus (Colchicum spp.)
  3. Azalea (genus Rhododendron)
  4. Cyclamen (Cylamen spp.)
  5. Daffodils (Narcissus)
  6. Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia spp.)
  7. English Ivy, both leaves and berries (Hedera Helix)
  8. Hyacinths (Hyacinthus)
  9. Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe spp.)
  10. Lilies (Lilium spp.) 
  11. Lily of the Valley (Convallaria Majalis)
  12. Oleander (Nerium Oleander)
  13. Sago Palm (Cycas spp.)
  14. Tulips (Tulipa spp.)
  15. Yew (Taxus spp.)

When a cat ingests (or in the case of some lilies, when the pollen comes into contact with the cat’s fur), these toxic plants can cause symptoms such as redness, swelling, breathing difficulty, diarrhea, excessive drinking and urinating, and a fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat. To see a complete list of plants that are toxic to your feline, visit the ASPCA for their list of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants.

If your cat is displaying symptoms or you believe they have ingested a plant that may be toxic to them, call the ASPCA’s poison control hotline right away. Acting immediately might save your cat’s life. 

 *spp. - several species


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