Although it is possible to list all the plants toxic to cats, which I did years ago, there is an alternative way for UK cat owners and plant buyers. Most garden centres and nurseries label plants which are toxic or cause skin reactions. They are divided into three categories: A, B and C.
The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) say these categories refer to the severity of the hazard: A being poisonous, B being toxic if eaten and C referring to harmful if eaten.
All plants purchased in the UK with A, B or C labelling are hazardous or pose a threat to human health. The HTA refers to human health when describing these plants as hazardous. However, it would make sense to presume that they are also hazardous to cats although they are not stated as being hazardous to pets.
These potentially harmful plants fulfill five conditions:
- They are a significant hazard
- The toxic parts of the plant are available/produced in the UK
- There are serious medical symptoms when ingested or when in contact with the plant
- There are many reported cases
- These plants pose a serious health risk
Children are also at risk if these plants are in or around the home. Plants in category A are rarely sold. Pet owners should avoid plants in category B, both indoors and outdoors.
Sources: HTA – Complete cat care by Dr Fogel – myself.