How to Choose Cat-Friendly Plants
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.
Grow Some Cat Grass
My cats enjoy this cat grass. It's easy to grow and attracts their attention away from my plants.
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.
Cat Safe Common Plants and Flowers
This is a list of a few cat-safe plants and flowers.
- African Violet
- Boston Fern
- Christmas Cactus
- Venus Fly Trap
Toxic Plants and Flowers
There are just 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 Poison 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. 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