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Five Cat-Friendly Plants (and Five You Should Avoid)

Summer is just starting and for many people that means spending time gardening. If you have pets, it’s a good idea to make sure the plants you’re planning to buy or have already purchased are non-toxic to your furry friends.

Since Snuggle Bug Pet Sitting focuses primarily on cat care, we’ve compiled a list of some toxic and non-toxic plants for cats. According to the ASPCA, “the consumption of any plant material may cause vomiting and gastrointestinal upset for dogs and cats. Plants listed as either non-toxic or potentially toxic with mild GI upset as their symptoms are not expected to be life-threatening to your pets.”*

If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic plant or substance, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian’s office or contact the Animal Poison Control hotline at 888-426-4435.

Toxic Plants to Cats

  • Lilies

Why: Lilies contain a chemical that is extremely toxic to cats and can cause acute kidney failure. Cats may experience vomiting, lethargy, drooling, and loss of appetite. Without appropriate veterinary care, cats may die within 36-72 hours of consumption.

  • Apples

Why: Apple stems, leaves, and seeds contain cyanide, which is particularly toxic during the wilting process. Cats may experience brick red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting, and shock.

  • Hydrangeas

Why: Hydrangeas contain cyanogenic glycoside which can produce vomiting, depression, and diarrhea. Cyanide intoxication is rare- it usually produces more of a gastrointestinal disturbance.

  • Begonias

Why: Begonias contain soluble calcium oxalates which can produce kidney failure in grazing animals, vomiting, and salivation in cats/dogs. However, the most toxic part of the Begonia is underground.

  • Eucalyptus

Why: Eucalyptus contains the essential oil eucalyptol which can produce salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and weakness.

Non-Toxic Plants to Cats

  • African Violets

  • Acorn Squash (similar plants: pumpkin, zucchini)

  • Bamboo

  • Cilantro

  • Honeydew Melon

For a complete list of toxic and non-toxic plants for cats, dogs, and horses, please visit the ASPCA’s website. Be safe and enjoy your summer!


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