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How to Choose Cat-Friendly Plants

Updated on March 1, 2016
carolynkaye profile image

I'm a freelance writer and lifelong animal lover who's owned cats, dogs, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, guinea pigs, gerbils, and rabbits.

Learn how to choose cat-friendly plants to keep your cat safe.
Learn how to choose cat-friendly plants to keep your cat safe. | Source

Although cats are carnivores, many just can’t resist nibbling on houseplants from time to time. As a cat owner, making sure the plants and flowers in your home are cat-friendly can give you peace of mind.

While some plants are non-toxic and harmless, others can cause symptoms like stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting, and even kidney failure if a cat consumes a small amount.

Plants that are members of the lily family are known to be especially toxic and can be deadly for cats if prompt treatment isn’t received.

Since it’s impossible to watch your cats all day and night, it’s important to ensure every plant, flower and even bouquets of fresh cut flowers in your home are cat-friendly.


Here are five easy ways to enjoy the beauty of indoor plants and flowers while keeping your feline friend safe:


1) See the ASPCA's List of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants and Flowers to find out which plants and flowers are cat-safe and cat-toxic. You might want to print out or bookmark this page on your phone for reference when you're out shopping for plants.


2) If any of the plants or flowers in your home (or that you’re thinking of buying) aren’t on that list, do an Internet search of the plant name. ex: “Are miniature roses safe for cats?” (They are, by the way.) Be sure to check a few reliable websites for accurate information. Remember, even some wildflowers like tiger lilies and daisies can be toxic.

If you aren't sure if a plant or flower is cat-friendly, look it up online on a reliable website.
If you aren't sure if a plant or flower is cat-friendly, look it up online on a reliable website. | Source
Some cats are just naturally curious about plants so make sure the plants in your home are cat-safe. African Violets are non-toxic to cats.
Some cats are just naturally curious about plants so make sure the plants in your home are cat-safe. African Violets are non-toxic to cats. | Source

3) Avoid buying plants considered toxic to cats. If you already have them, either keep them in a room your cat can’t get into or get rid of them. If it’s a plant in the lily family or any others known to be highly toxic and dangerous, it’s best not to have those in the house at all, just to be safe.


4) To discourage cats from chewing on your plants (even if they’re non-toxic), keep them in locations or rooms your cat can’t access.


5) Regularly buy or grow cat grass without fertilizer or pesticides to provide your cat with a safe source of greens to munch on. You can find organic cat grass (already grown or seeds) at most pet stores and online.

Grow some organic cat grass to give your cat a safe source of greens.
Grow some organic cat grass to give your cat a safe source of greens. | Source

Some Cat-Safe Common Plants & Flowers

  • African Violet

  • Boston Fern

  • Christmas Cactus

  • Jasmine

  • Petunia

  • Rose

  • Venus Fly Trap

  • Wandering Jew


Christmas Cactus - A Cat-Safe Plant

The Christmas Cactus is a cat-friendly plant. It's very low-maintenance and has beautiful flowers.
The Christmas Cactus is a cat-friendly plant. It's very low-maintenance and has beautiful flowers. | Source

Some Toxic Common Plants & Flowers

  • Aloe

  • Amaryllis

  • Baby’s Breath

  • Calla Lily

  • Easter Lily

  • Iris

  • Primrose

  • Rhododendron

  • Tiger Lily

  • Yucca


What to do if you think your cat ate a toxic plant or flower

If you think your cat ate one of your plants, if you see bite marks on the leaves of your plant or find vomit that contains pieces of leaves or flower petals, try to identify which plant your cat ate. Check online immediately to see if it’s a toxic plant. If so, contact your vet or the ASPCA’s 24-Hour Pet Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 immediately to see what to do.



African Violets are safe for cats.
African Violets are safe for cats. | Source

© 2013 carolynkaye

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Important information with great photos. You have some lovely, curious felines there who love their cat grass.

    • carolynkaye profile image
      Author

      carolynkaye 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks, FlourishAnyway :)

    • VladimirCat profile image

      Vladimir 2 years ago from Australia

      Some plants are just plain deadly to cats. Glad you have a list of them here

    • carolynkaye profile image
      Author

      carolynkaye 2 years ago from USA

      Thank you, VladimirCat :)

    • profile image

      Nancy Dixon - Canada 14 months ago

      Thank-you for such great information. I have a 14 year old cat going on 4 months. !! He is very interested in plants and always has been. I don't have any plants in my house and sadly, when I receive flowers I watch them like a hawk and hope the will fade fast so I can get rid of them.

    • carolynkaye profile image
      Author

      carolynkaye 14 months ago from USA

      You're welcome, Nancy. That's great you're careful about flowers. It sounds like your cat would love cat grass. Thank for your comments :)

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