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10 Plants That Can Harm Our Cats (and Some That Are Good for Them Too)

Plants are maybe your best of allies when it comes to decorating spaces in your house that need some extra oomph. They come with a plus, they’re great at freshening the air too. But if you have a kitten, you should know that some of them can be very dangerous for their health. The leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, and even pollen of certain plants can be a serious health risk for our adorable and curious feline friends.

Bright Side loves kitty cats, so we thought we’d make a list of some of the most common house plants you might actually own without knowing that they could be toxic to your pet. But not everything is bad news. Don’t miss the bonus at the end of the article where you’ll find a list of common house plants that are good for your four-legged friend’s health.

1. Kalanchoe

The Kalanchoe is a family of plants that includes a whole variety of very beautiful flowers that can often be found around people’s homes. These plants bloom from early winter to spring, depending on the weather, and can bring a lot of color and life to your house. However, it’s a whole different story for your cat. These plants can actually be very dangerous for them. Every single part of the plant contains toxins and, if our pet comes into contact with them, it could experience symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling. Also, if the cat eats them in bigger quantities, it could experience a heart arrhythmia and convulsions. So, you know, if you have one of these plants in the house, it’s best to keep it away from your cat.

2. The money plant

The money plant might very well be one of the most common houseplants in the world. It is very simple to take care of it and it is a strong and resistant plant. However, it can also wreak havoc with our kittens’ health. Felines are very curious animals and they often get close to this plant. They often like chewing on one or 2 of its leaves and branches. And that is exactly when it might get into trouble. This species of plants contains more than a few harmful substances that can irritate your cat’s lips, tongue, and mouth. The cat could also produce excess saliva (start drooling), suffer from vomiting, and even have difficulty when swallowing. If you want to keep these plants in your home, the best advice we can give you is to place them somewhere your cat can’t easily come into contact with them.

3. Cyclamen

Also known as swinebread, because it’s said to be eaten by pigs, the cyclamen is a plant that is usually found at home. In cats, however, cyclamen can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, heart rate abnormalities, convulsions, and even death.

4. Daffodil

The daffodil, also known as narcissus, is a highly valued plant by gardening enthusiasts because its flowers are very beautiful and have a very distinctive fragrance. But when it comes to pets, this species can be a major concern. The bulbs contain lycorine, a substance that can be poisonous if consumed in large quantities. Because of this, try to keep your kitten away from daffodils, as they can cause seizures, diarrhea, tremors, decreased blood pressure, and heart arrhythmia. And clearly, you wouldn’t want that to happen!

5. Lillies

According to a study, 73% of people whose cats were exposed to lilies were not aware that the plant was toxic for their pets. This number says a lot about the lack of awareness in this matter. As it turns out, if a cat ingests 1 or 2 leaves of this species, or if it consumes a small amount of pollen while grooming itself, it can suffer acute kidney failure. It can also be dangerous for a cat to drink the water from a vase in which the flowers of this plant are kept. Symptoms of poisoning include loss of appetite and weakness.

6. Cycas revoluta

The Cycas revoluta, also known as the sago palm despite not being an actual palm, is quite famous for giving a tropical and warm feeling to any home. That’s great indeed, but you should know that it is poisonous to both cats and humans. Still, cats are the ones that are at a greater risk of being exposed to it. They love chewing this funny looking plant because it tastes great to them! Unfortunately, the whole plant is toxic and the most dangerous parts are the seeds. These contain very high levels of a toxin called cycasin. The most frequent symptoms that your cat could suffer after ingesting them are fainting, vomiting, diarrhea, liver failure, and nosebleeds, among others.

7. Chrysanthemums

In China, the chrysanthemum is a symbol of wisdom; in Japan, it’s the national flower; in Mexico, it’s associated with Day of the Dead; and in Poland, it represents All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. The beauty of this flower is indisputable, but it’s also very dangerous for kittens who may want to chew it because of its shape and texture. The symptoms they will experience after ingesting the flower are dermatitis, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive saliva production (drooling), and difficulty in coordinating movements.

8. Laurel

The laurel is widely used in gastronomy. You’ve probably seen many recipes that call for adding a few leaves of laurel as aromatics. It’s a common ingredient in soups, stews, and steak seasonings. But despite its ability to lend a delicious flavor to food, our feline friends can experience weakness, a decrease in blood pressure, diarrhea, and vomiting if they ingest it.

9. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus and cats are not a good match. It’s worth noting that having a tree of this species at home is not really a common thing. However, we do more often have essential oils around with a eucalyptus scent. It’s popular because it can be used as a mosquito repellent or even as a decongestant. It is very important that felines do not have access to the plant, not to mention the essential oil which has a greater concentration of the elements that are toxic for cats. Just a few drops ingested or inhaled by the cat can make them experience difficulty breathing, weakness, and excessive production of saliva (drooling), among other symptoms.

10. English Ivy

Ivy or Hedera is often found in interiors, most often in a pot, or in gardens, climbing on a wall or a tree. Despite the fact that the foliage of this plant is toxic, another problem lies in its fruit. They are fleshy little spheres that can be purple or yellow in color. While they look a bit like blueberries, you should be careful not to eat them because they have a high concentration of elements that are poisonous to both felines and humans. Cats can suffer from abdominal pain, hypersalivation, and diarrhea.

Bonus: Plants that are good for your cat’s health

There are several species of houseplants, and wild plants, that are dangerous for our kittens’ health. But having a cat does not mean that you can’t have any nice plants at home anymore. There are many others that are not only harmless to our pets, but that can also be very beneficial to their health.

1. Nepeta cataria

Also known as catnip, this is a species that is irresistible to cats. It attracts them and makes them want to smell it, chew its leaves, and rub their whole body in it. It produces an incredible state of ecstasy and makes them behave in a fun and playful way.

2. Juniper

Juniper is another plant that is safe to have at home when you have cats. It has antiseptic and antifungal properties, and you can always use its oil to fight your pets’ parasites. Also, juniper has been used in foods like meats, sauces, and fillings.

3. Rosemary

Rosemary is an aromatic plant that has multiple benefits. On the one hand, we can use it to season different foods, but it is also very beneficial for the health of our cats. In some cases, it can even help them to reduce the symptoms of allergies, pain, and respiratory problems. So your cats can eat it without problems, you can crush it and mix it with their food or give it to them in infusions.

4. Orchid

If you are a flower enthusiast, but you also want to take care of your pet’s health, having orchids at home is a good option for you. Thanks to their bright colors, orchids will give a feeling of vitality to your home without putting your cat’s health at risk. However, if your four-legged friend usually enjoys chewing the leaves of plants, try to place it in a spot where it’s a bit harder to reach. That way you’ll make sure your orchids grow strong and healthy.

Were you already aware that there were plants that could harm your cat? Did you know they were as common as the ones we included on our list? Do you know of any other plant that is beneficial for a cat’s health?