Plants Poisonous to Cats

cat and plant

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats
Plants poisonous to cats is something that all people, who live with cats, should at least me aware of.

I have compiled two lists from separate sources. The first is from the well known and excellent book, Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook 4th edition pages 18 to 20 and by Drs Carlson and Giffin, while the second (which I compiled some time ago now) is courtesy Bengal-L Yahoo Group, who may have got the list from the internet (source unknown). In the first list I separate out houseplants poisonous to cats from outdoor plants and I also discuss the matter a bit too. First a bit about poisoning from plants.

Difficulties include (a) we often cannot recognise plants from names. I list them by name, which means asking when buying house and outdoor plants (b) there is a wide range of toxicity to cats from plants and symptoms. Some typical signs are: skin rashes, mouth irritation, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hallucinations, coma and death.

Poisonous Houseplants

These may cause a rash on skin and/or mouth:

Chrysanthemum, Creeping fog, Weeping fig and Poinsettia.

The following houseplants cause mouth swelling and sometimes staggering and collapse:

Arrowhead vine, Malanga, Boston ivy, Marble queen, Caladium, Mother-in-law plant or snake plant, Calla or Arum lily, Neththyis, Dumbcane, Parlor ivy, Elephant’s ear, Pothos or Devil’s lily, Emerald duke, Peace lily, Heart leaf, Red princess, Jack-in-the-pulpit, Saddle leaf, Majesty and Split leaf (philodendron).

The next batch of plants poisonous to cats “contain a wide variety of poisons”1. They may cause: vomiting, abdominal pain, cramps, tremors, heart problems, kidney problems, respiratory problems:

Amaryllis, Ivy, Asparagus fern, Jerusalem cherry, Azalea, Needlepoint ivy, Bird of paradise, Pot mum, Creeping charlie, Ripple ivy, Crown of thorns, Spider mum, Elephant ears, Sprangeri fern, Glocal ivy, Umbrella plant and Hear ivy.

Outdoor Plants Poisonous to Cats

The first batch produce vomiting and diarrhea:

Delphinium, Skunk cabbage, Larkspur, Daffodil, Poke week, Indian tobacco, Castor bean, Bittersweet woody, Wisteria, Indian turnip, Ground cherry, Soap berry and Fox glove.

Trees and shrubs that are poisonous to cats and which result in vomiting and abdominal pain are as follows:

Azalea (rhododendron), Western yew, Wild cherry, English holly, Japanese plum, Horse chestnut, Privet, Balsam pear, Buckeye, Mock orange, Black locust, Rain tree, Bird of paradise bush, English yew, Monkey pod, Apricot, almond, American yew and Peach cherry.

The follow are outdoor plants with “varying toxic effects”1:

Rhubarb, Buttercup, Moonseed, Spinach, Nightshade, May apple, Sunburned potatoes, Poison hemlock, Dutchman’s breeches, Loco weed, Pig weed, Angel’s trumpet, Lupine, Water hemlock, Jasmine, Dologeton, Mushrooms and Matrimony vine.

More plants poisonous to cat that are hallucinogens are as follows:

Marijuana, Nutmeg, Peyote, Morning glory, Periwinkle and Loco weed.

Finally plants poisonous to cats that cause convulsions are:

China berry, Moonweed, Water hemlock, Coriaria and Nux vomica.

Associated pages:

Cat Poison

Will rat poison kill a cat?

Poisoned Cat

Toxic to Cats

Melamine in Cat Food

Outdoor Cat Problems

Bengal-L Yahoo Group List of plants poisonous to cats

This list is of plants poisonous to cats is probably not exhaustive but it is substantial.

This is stating the obvious for many (but not all) but the best way to see what the plant looks like is to copy the name of the plant from this list into the Google search window when Google is on IMAGE search.

You’ll get a mass of images of that plant to cross check with the one you may have or that is in the vicinity.



CaladiumCallaLilyCastor Bean
ChineseEvergreenChristmas Rose
ClematisCordatumCorn(or Cornstalk)Plant

DaffodilDay LilyDevil’s Ivy
Dumb CaneDeadly Nightshade

Easter Lily Elephant Ears
Emerald Feather or FernEnglish Ivy

Fiddle-Leaf PhilodendronFlamingo Plant
Florida BeautyFoxgloveFruit Salad Plant

Glacier IvyGladiolasGlory Lily
Gold DieffenbachiaGold Dust Dracaena
Golden PothosGreen Gold Nephthysis

Hahn’s self branching English Ivy
Heartleaf PhilodendronHeavenly Bamboo
HollyHorsehead Philodendron
Hurricane PlantHyacinthHydrangea


Japanese Show LilyJapanese Yew
Jerusalem Cherry


Lace FernLacy TreeLily of the Valley

Macadamia NutMadagascar Dragon Tree
Marble QueenMarijuana
Mauna Loa Peace LilyMexican Breadfruit
Mistletoe “American”Morning GloryMother-in-Law

NarcissusNeedlepoint IvyNephthytisNightshade

OleanderOnionOrange Day Lily

PandaPeace LilyPhilodendron Pertusum
Plumosa FernPrecatory Bean

Queensland Nut

Red EmeraldRed LilyRed-Margined Dracaena
Red PrincessRhododendron
Ribbon Plant (Dracaena sanderiana)Rubrum Lily

Saddle Leaf PhilodendronSago Palm
Satin PothosScheffleraSpotted Dumb Cane
Stargazer LilyStriped DracaenaSweetheart Ivy
Swiss Cheese Plant

Taro VineTiger LilyTomato Plant
Tree PhilodendronTropic Snow DumbcaneTulip

Variable DieffenbachiaVariegated Philodendron

Warneckei DracaenaWood Lily


Plants Poisonous to Cats — Notes:

1. Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook page 19.

Plants Poisonous to Cats

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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5 Responses

  1. Deborah Gahan says:

    My cat has ear mites, what’s the best store ose medicine for this? Also my other cat is pulling out his hair on his back, they both got outside a few times. Please help?! What store bought mends could help them before taking them to the vet??

    • Michael Broad says:

      There is a page on this website about natural cures for ear infections which you can read by clicking on the following link:

      One thing you should do by the way is be absolutely sure that your cat has ear mites. How are you sure about this? Because if you are incorrect then clearly you will be treating your cat incorrectly. The most frequent sign is intense itching, characterised by scratching and violent head shaking. You will see a dry crumbly dark brown waxy discharge when you look into the ears. The discharge looks like coffee grounds and may be foul-smelling. Constant scratching can cause raw areas with scabs and loss of hair around the ears. There may be a complicating bacterial infection.

      I think to be honest, that your veterinarian needs to identify that ear mites are present. He would do this by removing some earwax from a fold or crease with a cotton tip applicator and examining it under a magnifying glass against a black background. Mites are white specks about the size of the head of a pin that move.

      Ear mites can leave the ear canals and travel over the body. They are highly contagious amongst cats. If mites are discovered on one pet, all pets in the household should be treated.

      They are deeply distressing to a cat. The experts say that you should not begin treatment until your veterinarian has positively identified ear mites as the cause of the symptoms. After the ears are cleaned (I wouldn’t do this without advice from your veterinarian) you should medicate the ears using a medication chosen by your veterinarian that is effective against mites.

      Accordingly, I have to conclude that you will not be able to treat your cat’s ear mites (if he has them) without a trip to the veterinarian.

      As for your cat pulling out his hair, I am not completely sure what you mean by this. Are you saying that he is over grooming because that is what it sounds like. There are lots of reasons for over grooming. One of them is stress. If it is to rescue should look for the source of the stress and eliminated. It may be that his skin is itching and there are many causes of an itchy skin. You would have to go to a veterinarian to assess that.

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