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Five Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants to Cats

cat sitting on green grass greensboro nc

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

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, contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control hotline at 888-426-4435 immediately.

Five Toxic Plants to Cats


In an article published by UC Davis Veterinary Medicine, it states that lilies contain a chemical that is lethally toxic to cats and can cause acute kidney failure. A cat can suffer fatal kidney failure just from biting into a lily leaf or petal, licking lily pollen from its paws, or drinking water from a vase containing cut lilies. Cats may experience vomiting, lethargy, drooling, and loss of appetite. Without appropriate veterinary care, cats may die within 36-72 hours of consumption. The best way to prevent lily toxicity is to keep your cat away from lilies. Don’t bring lilies into your home if you have a cat and don’t plant them in your garden.


The ASPCA’s website mentions that ingestion of holly can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and depression due to the presence of saponins. Because individual plants may differ in appearance, it’s recommended to check the name of the plant in question to make sure it isn’t toxic.


Do you love to cook with garlic? Make sure you keep it far away from your cats. The ASPCA’s website lists several signs of garlic toxicity including vomiting, the breakdown of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia), blood in the urine, weakness, high heart rate, and panting.


Similar to garlic, onions can produce the same symptoms if ingested. Make sure, whether you cook with them or grow them in a garden, that you keep them out of reach of your cats.


The article Is Eucalyptus Safe for Cats? explains that because cats aren’t able to metabolize the chemicals found in eucalyptus, if it’s ingested they can experience vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, drooling, and tremors. Bottled essential oils, like the plant, are no different in toxicity; therefore, keep them out of reach of your cats.

Five Non-Toxic Plants to Cats

The following five plants have been deemed non-toxic by the ASPCA. Feel free to grow them in your home or cook with them. You’ll enjoy tastier dishes and your cats will be safe around them.






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


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