Health - Poisonous, Toxic Plants

Poisonous Plants for cats

Many cats chew houseplants, particularly if they live indoors without access to grass in the garden. Grass seems to aid digestion for some cats, and for the longer-haired varieties, it helps to regurgitate the hairballs that are often formed when fur is ingested during grooming. Cats are often attracted by 'spider plants', which resemble grass, although fortunately this is not one of the poisonous plants, and indoor cats will sometimes play with houseplants if they are bored and do not have sufficient stimulation in the form of toys and human attention.

Most green plant matter will not pass through the cat, and if your cat has eaten some, you will often see that it is regurgitated after about 10 minutes, together with some frothy bile - you will normally notice when this is about to happen as the cat will make loud retching noises, and on the whole, this is normal, and nothing to worry about. However, it is best to keep all houseplants and vases of cut flowers out of the way of cats, just in case. If your cat is one of those that like to eat grass, try growing some pots of cocksfoot grass indoors. You can buy the seeds from garden centres and pet stores, and it is completely non-toxic for cats.

Although the majority of plants will not do much serious harm, there are almost one hundred and fifty varieties that are considered to be poisonous to cats, and if your cat goes out in the garden, you will need to be aware of potential danger. Some plants are obvious, such as ivy or deadly nightshade, but there are a number of others that you might not realise are hazardous, but can be potentially fatal to your cat. In these cases, even if the cat then regurgitates the remains of the plant, considerable damage may already have been done. A few are quite obscure, and you may well not have them in any case unless you are a very serious horticulturist, but you might have some of the more common plants indoors or in your garden, without being aware of their toxicity to cats.

Two of the worst offenders are:

Lily (all varieties) - probably the most toxic of all. Even a cat brushing up against a lily, and then licking its fur, could be enough to cause a very serious reaction, including the onset of irreversible kidney failure in less than 3 days.

Poinsettia - the leaves, stem and milky sap of these popular Christmas houseplants with their bright red bracts are all extremely poisonous to cats.

If your cat shows even the smallest reaction to these two plants, or you know that the cat has been in contact with them, seek immediate veterinary assistance whatever the time of day - any delay could prove fatal.

Lily Plant:

Unfortunately, several types of lilies can be deadly to cats. Easter lily, tiger lily, Rubrum lily, Japanese Show lily, some species of Day lily, and certain other members of the Liliaceae family can cause kidney failure in cats.

Within only a few hours of ingestion of the lily plant material, the cat may vomit, become lethargic, or develop a lack of appetite. These signs continue and worsen as kidney damage progresses. Without prompt and proper treatment by a veterinarian, the cat may develop kidney failure in approximately 36-72 hours.

All parts of the lily plant are considered toxic to cats and consuming even small amounts can cause severe poisoning.
Cat owners should be aware of the dangers of lily ingestion and remove them from their cat's access. Toxicity rating: HIGH

Animals affected: The only reported toxicity is in cats.
Dangerous parts of plant: Leaves primarily, stems and flowers may also be toxic. Class of signs: Gastrointestinal irritation (vomiting), depression, lack of appetite.


Upon consumption of Easter lily (the exact amount is unknown), the cats begin to vomit within an hour or so. The cat then becomes depressed over the next half day, presumably as the toxin begins to affect the kidneys. Within 48 to 96 hours after consumption, the cat will tend to show signs of clinical kidney failure: increased urination, depression, stomach upset, dehydration. Death tends to occur within 5 days.

First Aid

If a cat is seen eating Easter lily, contact a veterinarian immediately. If emergency treatment is begun within 6 hours of consumption, the chances are good that the cat will recover. This generally consists of emptying the gastrointestinal tract of the affected cat and intravenous fluid therapy in a hospital setting. If more than 18 hours has elapsed, the cat may not survive, even with emergency care.

Please also note that if you have pollen on your hands and you stoke your cat - the effects are the same

This is highlighted to you from personal experience, my Akira came into contact with Lillie’s but luckily for me he was treated and there was no kidney damage but it could have been such a different outcome.