Just like many other animals, a cat's brain is filled with curiosity. When your feline friend is outdoors, they might be interested in a flower or plant that entices them, and there is a chance that what they find might be perfectly harmless for them to try.
However, there are some plants that might make your cat severely ill and induce nasty symptoms, sometimes even death. It is best to be clued up on which plants might make your pet ill, so that you can avoid a trip to the vets and have a healthy cat!
Azalea’s contain a toxin called ‘grayanotoxin’ which if consumed by a cat can lead to abdominal pain, disorientation, lethargy and an abnormal heart rate. If a large amount of the plant is consumed then it can even lead to seizures, coma or temporary blindness. All parts of the plant are poisonous to cats, so it would be best to try to keep your garden free of Azaleas.
Daffodil’s are considered to be mildly toxic to cats due to the toxin that is present called ‘crystalline lycorine’, with the bulb being the most toxic part of the plant. Due to their popularity especially during the spring, it might be best to keep an eye out for any daffodils in your garden so that your cat doesn’t feel tempted to have a munch on one. Signs that your cat has been poisoned by one of these plants are vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, salivation and drooling, shivering and laboured breathing.
They might be beautiful, but they contain amygdalin which by itself is not toxic to cats. The problem occurs however, when the substance is metabolized during the digestion of the plant.
This reaction produces cyanide which can be harmful to mammals. Cyanide mainly causes vomiting and/or diarrhoea, but luckily hydrangea poisoning is rare because a large amount has to be consumed for symptoms to appear as more than mild.
Known for its beauty and useful properties, English Ivy is known to be a toxic substance for cats. The toxins can cause gastrointestinal issues, as well as burning or irritation of the mouth. If enough is consumed, cats can even be comatosed or may even die from the Ivy.
Despite being an extremely popular choice for garden and house plants, Lilies are very harmful to cats. Even if your cat licks a lily plant, there can be severe reactions. Cats are at great risk of kidney failure when exposed to Lilies, and if left untreated, lily poisoning is usually fatal.
Cats are prone to brushing past a Lily, causing pollen to fall onto their fur which at a later stage is ingested if they lick that part of their coat.
All types of Lily have the potential to harm your cat, so any plant or flower with the name ‘Lily’ attached to it is best kept far away from your garden.
There may be some confusion as to whether Marigolds are toxic to your cats or not. Growing the pot marigold in your garden would be a safe option as it is not toxic for your feline friend.
However, other types of marigold can be mildly toxic to your pet. Irritation of the mouth, drooling, stomach pain and diarrhoea are all symptoms of marigold poisoning.
Very beautiful but also very invasive. Wisteria seeds and pods are poisonous to cats, being able to cause severe dehydration to the point of severely damaging the central nervous system.
Other symptoms include vomiting (with blood) and clotting of red blood cells. Seek immediate veterinary help if you suspect your cat to have ingested part of the Wisteria plant.
Tulips contain glycosides which can be very harmful to cats. The most toxic part of the tulip is the bulb, however the whole plant is considered poisonous. Breathing troubles, heart problems, vomiting, tremors and even death can be the end result of Tulip poisoning. Tulips are from the Lily family, so it is not a surprise that they are so harmful to cats.
Due to the varying amounts of alkaloids and opioids found in the poppy, they can potentially be very harmful to your cat. Some types of poppy may cause sedation or excitement in your cat, with dilated pupils. However depression, coma and death may also be the end result of poppy poisoning. The same applies to poppy seeds, so you might want to consider what food products you are bringing into the house as well.
Very popular around the holidays, Mistletoe contains various substances that are harmful to cats. The plant can cause severe intestinal issues, a sudden drop in blood pressure, respiratory issues and also hallucinations/unusual behavior. If enough is consumed, coma or death may be the end result. You might want to think again about bringing this plant near/in your home if you have felines in your presence.
Looking for plants that are safe for your feline? Check out our other blog post; 10 Indoor and Outdoor Plants that are Safe for Cats.