Categories: poison

Most popular houseplants are all poisonous to cats bar one

It is a bit of a shock that eight of the most popular houseplants are all toxic to cats bar one (if they are chewed). The toxicity to pets or not is a consideration which appears to have been placed on the back burner as these plants are promoted on Instagram. The information here begs the question as to whether cat owners should have houseplants in their homes.

Swiss cheese plant toxic to cats. Photo: Amazon.

There’ll be a discussion as to what the most popular houseplants are but my internet search resulted in the list below:

  1. Monstera deliciosa or “Swiss cheese plant” – highly toxic to cats and just one bite can land them in severe pain
  2. Epipremnum aureum or Devil’s Ivy – listed as toxic to cats and dogs by the ASPCA, because of the presence of insoluble raphides
  3. Dracaena Massangeana or Mass Cane – non-toxic to humans, but toxic to dogs and cats
  4. Spathiphyllum or Peace lily – not a true lily from the family Liliaceae. Mildly toxic to humans and other animals when ingested
  5. Zanzibar Gem – all parts of the plant are poisonous
  6. Anthurium Andraeanum – Anthurium plants are poisonous due to calcium oxalate crystals
  7. Maidenhair Fern – non-toxic
  8. Ficus Elastica or Rubber Plant – this plant is toxic to cats and dogs.

The only one not toxic or poisonous to cats is the Maidenhair Fern. The famous and trendily popular cheese plant is toxic. If chewed by a cat it can cause immediately painful blistering and irritation of the mouth. Symptoms also include vomiting and perhaps death. The plant contains insoluble calcium oxalates. Perhaps cats are saved by the bitter taste which is unattractive but you never know with cats. The cheese plant is very popular on Instagram apparently. This promotes the plant but are there sufficient warnings about its toxicity to pets?

Some associated pages. There are more. Please search.

Other houseplants that are toxic to cats according to a Metro article are:

  • Philodendron Snake plant (Mother in law’s tongue)
  • Caladium (elephant’s ear)
  • Oleander
  • Lilies (famously poisonous)
  • Aloe vera
  • Sago palm
  • English ivy Dieffenbachia (dumb cane)
  • Ficus (rubber plants)
  • Eucalyptus
  • Jade succulent
  • Daffodils
  • Hyacinths
  • Azalea
  • Aphelendra (zebra plant)
  • Ferns

This is not a comprehensive list. There are many poisonous garden plants too. In 2009, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in America handled 7,858 calls related to pets poisoned by house and garden plants. The most common poisonings relate to drugs (45,000) and insecticides (these will be flea and tick treatments) at almost 30,000.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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