Plants are a great way to improve the decor and air quality in your home, and there are many common house plants that are easy to care for. But it's important to take any feline friends into consideration when adding plants to your home. While many houseplants are harmless for cats, there are some plants that can be poisonous to your cat if it is ingested. Here is a list of plants that are not safe for your little furry friend:
There are over 1,000 species of rhododendrons. The small, broadleaf plants are referred to as Azaleas, and the large woody shrubs are Rhododendrons. The Rhododendrons are usually more toxic, but this can vary depending on the hybridization of the two plants. These plants contain grayanotoxins and all parts of the plant are considered poisonous. An ingestion as small of 0.02 percent of the cat's body weight can result in poisoning. Signs of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, abnormal heart rate, tremors, and seizures.
The most dangerous lily ingestion involves lilies that are a part of the genera Lilium and Hemerocallis. Some of these toxic lilies include Asiatic, Easter, Japanese Show, rubrum, stargazer, red tiger, Western, wood lilies, and daylilies. It doesn't take much to poison your cat -- a small ingestion of one or two petals or leaves, pollen, or water from a vase can cause some mild to severe signs of poisoning. Some common signs include loss of appetite, lethargy, depression, hiding, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and increased or decreased urination. In more severe cases, ingestion can result in acute kidney failure.
Despite its name, peace lilies are anything but peaceful for your cat. This plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that are released when the plant is bit or chewed on. These crystals result in tissue penetration and irritation of the mouth and gastrointestional tract. In rare instances, there is swelling of the upper airway. Peace lilies belong to the Spathiphyllum genus, and unlike lilies of the Lilium and Hemerocallis genera, ingestion of peace lilies does not cause acute kidney failure.
Sago palms are typically found in tropical and subtropical regions, but they are also used as decorative Bonsai houseplants. Sago palms are a part of the order Cyadacae: Cycads, Macrozamia, and Zamias. All parts of the sago palm are considered toxic, with the seeds being the most poisonous. Sago palms contain cycasin, which is the cause of severe liver failure in dogs. Symptoms of poisoning from sago palm ingestion affect felines as well, and include drooling, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, lethargy, and black-tarry stool. Severe liver damage can occur within two to three after ingestion. Sago palm poisoning is treated with aggressive decontamination treatment, and even with treatment survival is only 50 percent. If you have any pets in your home, it's vital that you keep this plant out of the house.
Although tulips and hyacinths are beautiful and pleasant flowers, they can cause very unpleasant side effects if your cat gets into them. Tulips and hyacinths are a part of the Liliaceae family and contain allergenic lactones, which are concentrated in the bulbs. When ingested in large amounts, this toxic agent can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and increased respiratory rate. Ingestion of the bulbs can also cause irritation of the mouth and esophagus.
Aloe vera is a common houseplant, but its anthraquinone glycoside content can be harmful to animals. When ingested, anthraquinone glycosides are metabolized by intestinal bacteria and form a mixture that increases the production of mucus and water in the colon. This results in vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Other signs include depression, changes in urine color, and, in rare cases, tremors.
As harmless as daffodils seem, they contain lycorine, a chemical that has prominent emetic properties that induce vomiting. The crystals found in the outer layer of the bulbs have a high concentration of lycorine and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain when consumed. Also, irregular heartbeat and respiratory depression.
Dieffenbachia contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystal, similar to the peace lily. Chewing on this plant causes mouth and gastrointestional tract irritation and symptoms include drooling, pawing at the mouth, decreased appetite and vomiting. In rare instances, there may be swelling in the upper airway, making it difficult for your cat to breathe.
These delicate and lovely flowers can be deadly to all species, including humans, if ingested. Oleanders contain cardiac glycoside toxins, naturally occurring poisons that affect the heart. Additionally, they interfere with the heart's electrolyte balance. The degree of poisoning depends on the type of plant, the part of the plant, and how much was consumed. All parts of this plant are considered poisonous, including the vase water. Symptoms of ingestion include nausea, vomiting, drooling, abnormal heart rate, tremors. Poisoning from oleanders can also result in seizures and even death.
Often referred to as the Persian violet and Sowbread, cyclamen are a very common houseplant. They contain an irritating substance called saponins that are found in every part of the plant, particularly in the roots. Signs of ingestion include drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. If consumed in significant amounts, it can cause abnormal heart rate, seizures, and death.
First, remove your cat from the area and make sure that no other pets or children are exposed to the poisonous plant or vase water. Check to see if your cat is breathing normally and check for signs of arrhythmia. If they are unconscious or showing signs of airway restriction, take your cat to the veterinarian immediately. Do not administer home remedies. Also, refrain from inducing vomiting, as this could be dangerous depending on the type of toxin consumed.
If doesn't hurt to get a prognosis by calling the Pet Poison Hotline at 1-800-213-6680. They are available 24-hours throughout the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. You will be charged $59 per incident fee, which covers initial consultation, follow up calls, and management of the case.