I've been a cat owner for most of my life and have learned many tips and tricks for keeping cats happy and healthy.
Plants Range From Harmless to Deadly for Cats
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. For example, 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.
In this article, I have included five easy ways to enjoy the beauty of indoor plants and flowers while keeping your feline friend safe.
5 Ways to Keep Both Cats and Houseplants
- Visit the ASPCA's Website
- Do a Quick Search Online
- Avoid and Get Rid of Potentially Toxic Plants
- Keep the Plants in Hard-to-Reach Places
- Buy or Grow Cat Grass
By following this guide, you will be able to enjoy your pet's company and a wonderful assortment of indoor plants for many years to come!
1. Visit the ASPCA's Website
Review the ASPCA's List of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants and Flowers to find out which plants and flowers are cat-safe or cat-toxic. You might want to print out or bookmark this page on your phone for referencing while you're out shopping for plants.
2. Do a Quick Search Online
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, such as tiger lilies and daisies, can be toxic.
3. Avoid and Get Rid of Potentially Toxic Plants
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. Keep the Plants in Hard-to-Reach Places
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. Buy or Grow Cat Grass
Cat grass provides a safe source of greens for your cat. You can buy seeds or pre-grown containers of grass at many pet stores and online. I use these organic cat grass seeds to grow my own. The grass grows quickly and helps keep my cats' attention away from my houseplants.
Safe Plants and Flowers
Here are a few cat-safe plants and flowers:
- African Violet
- Boston Fern
- Christmas Cactus
- Venus Fly Trap
Toxic Plants and Flowers
Here are a few common plants and flowers you'll want to avoid if you have cats in your home:
- Baby’s Breath
- Calla Lily
- Easter Lily
- Tiger Lily
ASPCA Animal Poison Control: Lists of Safe and Unsafe Plants for Pets
- Animal Poison Control | ASPCA
Our handy list contains plants that have been reported as having systemic effects on animals and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract.
What to Do If You Think Your Cat Ate a Poisonous Plant or Flower
If you think your cat ate one of your plants—whether 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. It's also a good idea to contact your vet, an emergency animal clinic, or the ASPCA’s 24-Hour Pet Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2013 carolynkaye
carolynkaye (author) from USA on March 31, 2019:
Hello Peg, I wouldn't let a cat on a balcony. Some cats do like to jump. He might not know how high it is. He also could try to jump onto the rail, or fall trying to chase a bird.
Peg Shea on March 30, 2019:
We live in a home now, but are moving to an apartment on the 4th floor. It has a balcony. My one cat loves going outside. Will he know not to jump? Will he realize it's too high?
carolynkaye (author) from USA on May 11, 2016:
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 :)
Nancy Dixon - Canada on May 10, 2016:
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 (author) from USA on September 02, 2014:
Thank you, VladimirCat :)
Vladimir from Australia on August 28, 2014:
Some plants are just plain deadly to cats. Glad you have a list of them here
carolynkaye (author) from USA on April 16, 2013:
Thanks, FlourishAnyway :)
FlourishAnyway from USA on April 16, 2013:
Important information with great photos. You have some lovely, curious felines there who love their cat grass.