Cat outside in garden

Plants poisonous to cats

There are several common plants than can be dangerous to cats. Cats only need meat in their diet, not plants or vegetables. But, being curious creatures, they will sometimes lick, chew or eat plants. This can put them at risk of plant toxicity. 

The danger level will often depend on the type of plant and the amount eaten. Cats can also get the pollen or sap from poisonous plants on their skin. This can damage the skin or cause more serious problems inside their body after your cat grooms and licks themselves.

Get to know the signs of plant poisoning in your cat.

Important

It’s important to speak to your vet if you think your cat has come into contact with a poisonous plant, even if you didn’t see them lick or eat it. 

Are lilies poisonous to cats?

Lilies (Lilium species) and day lilies (Hemerocallis species) are one of the most toxic plants to cats. All parts of the plant are highly poisonous and can lead to kidney failure. 

Symptoms of lily poisoning in cats

Symptoms can include:

  • vomiting
  • low energy
  • drinking more
  • seizures

In severe cases, it can sadly be fatal. If you think your cat has been in contact with lilies or you see lily pollen on their fur, contact your vet immediately, as early treatment can improve their outlook.

Other poisonous plants

These plants are less toxic than lilies but can still cause problems for your cat if eaten.

  • Cabbage palms (Cordyline species)
  • Dragon tree (Dracaena species)
  • Cyclamens (Cyclamen species)
  • Foxgloves (Digitalis species)
  • Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)
  • Oleander (Nerium oleander)
  • Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum species)
  • Tulips (Tulipa species)
  • Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Yucca plants (Yucca species)

Not all parts of these plants will be toxic, but it's better to keep your cat away from the whole plant to be safe. 

Most of these toxic plants will only cause mild symptoms (such as stomach upsets) unless very large amounts are eaten. 

Remember, this isn’t a complete list and there are plants that haven’t yet been identified as toxic to cats but could still be a danger to them.

Symptoms of plant poisoning in cats

As many cats have free access to the house and outdoors, it can be difficult to know if they’ve come across a poisonous plant. This means it’s even more important to know the symptoms of plant toxicity so you can spot the signs early. Symptoms of plant poisoning include:

  • drooling
  • not eating
  • low energy
  • vomiting or diarrhoea (sometimes both) – especially if you see bits of chewed up plants in it
  • drinking and peeing more
  • rashes or red skin
  • ulcers in their mouth
  • pale gums
  • twitching or seizures
  • collapse

If your cat eats a poisonous plant or is showing any signs of toxicity, call your vet immediately.

— Page last updated 18/03/2022