Houseplants are a great way of bringing some life to your home. In fact they are believed to help you concentrate, improve your productivity and even reduce stress!
But before you run off to your local garden centre it is important for cat owners to be aware that there are some popular houseplants which can be toxic to cats, some even to the point of causing fatalities.
Here are three very common household plants which you should avoid at all costs if you have a cat:
Lilies are a beautiful looking flower that come in a huge range of varieties so it is no surprise that they are a popular houseplant. However if you own a cat you should give them a wide berth.
This is because some lilies can cause fatalities with minimal contact, your cat could brush past one and get some pollen on themselves which they later groom off. This could prove to be fatal!
While not all lilies are that lethal it is wise to avoid having any lily in your home as all lilies are toxic to cats.
It is not actually known what the exact toxin lilies contain which causes the poisoning however it can cause nervous system failure and acute kidney failure which can ultimately lead to death if not treated fast.
Begonias are colourful flowers which are common garden plants but also will sometimes be kept indoors as pot plants.
Begonias are less toxic than lilies however they can still be very dangerous, particularly for young kittens that like to chew everything, this is because they contain a lot of Oxalate.
Oxalate is a problem for cats if ingested because of its microstructure which is made up of small needles will irritate the mouth, throat and stomach lining.
If ingested Oxalate will eventually break down into oxalic acid which can be very potent and can cause liver failure which could be fatal for your cat.
True Aloe is commonly found in many households, it makes a great kitchen window plant and has some great medicinal uses (for humans).
Unfortunately for cats Aloe is more harmful than healing.
Aloe contains several different toxins which can harm your cat including; glycosides, anthracene and anthraquinones.
Aloe is far less toxic than Begonia or lilies.
If your cat just has a nibble they are likely to experience vomiting and loose bowel movements, however if your cat decides to eat a large amount of it then this could result in more severe poisoning symptoms.
Other Plants To Avoid
There are plenty of other plants which can be toxic to cats too if ingested such as:
- Sago Palm
- Spanish Thyme
Fortunately, as a general rule most adult cats are uninterested in plant life (except catnip of course!) so you don’t have to worry too much if your garden does have any of these plants…unless you have kittens.
Kittens are far more prone to biting something that looks new, colourful and interesting so keep them inside until they have matured a bit or get rid of the toxic plants!
Poisoning Symptoms & Treatment
Symptoms of feline poisoning include:
- Excessive Tiredness
- No Appetite
- Extreme Thirst
- Falling Over
- Loose Stools
If you suspect that your cat has ingested a toxic plant..
- Take them to the vet as soon as possible.
- If you know which plant it was take a piece of it to the vet.
..you must not:
- Feed your cat.
- Try and force them to throw up.
- Wait for the symptoms to go away.
We hope you found this article useful in helping you make your home safer for your cat by avoiding toxic houseplants.
Dan has been writing about cats for almost three years. He has a chilled out black and white cat called Whisky and a lively Beagle called Rufus.