Cats are notoriously mischievous and curious, known for knocking things over and climbing into places they’re not supposed to be. (Raise your hand if your favorite houseplant has ever been personally victimized by your cat!)
As much as we love our plants, though, the safety and well-being of our fur babies always come first. While cats are relatively self-sufficient when it comes to grooming and portion control, that doesn’t necessarily mean they always know what’s safe to eat and what’s not.
Keep reading to learn about some common houseplants that are dangerous for cats, along with some cat-friendly alternatives.
There are several varieties of lilies—about 90 species—with some being more toxic to pets than others. When it comes to cats, though, it’s best to avoid lilies entirely.
In fact, lilies are one of the most dangerous plants for cats. In addition to containing calcium oxalates that lead to oral irritation and digestive issues, lilies can even be life-threatening for your kitty.
Aloe vera is a common houseplant in many homes, with its gel often used for its skin-soothing properties on humans.
However, if your kitty ingests the aloe plant material, she could end up vomiting, having diarrhea, and feeling lethargic.
While it’s doubtful that you would intentionally bring poison ivy into your home, there are a few other ivy varieties that can add some aesthetic appeal to your interior (and exterior) decor. Unfortunately, they’re not quite as appealing if ingested by your feline friend.
For example, English ivy, devil’s ivy, and sweetheart ivy are all toxic for cats. When ingested, they could lead to tummy troubles, weakness, excessive drooling, oral irritation, and difficulty swallowing.
Monstera deliciosa, also known as “Swiss cheese plants,” are trendy houseplants that can add a tropical feel to any home.
Unfortunately, these plants— like lilies—contain calcium oxalates which cause lip and mouth burning, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting.
The jade plant is a type of succulent that goes by many names, including “money plant,” “friendship tree,” and “rubber plant.”
If ingested by your kitty, this plant can lead to various issues including vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination, and even depression.
Snake plants are popular houseplants. They’re incredibly hard to kill, and they can even improve your home’s air quality.
However, they certainly won’t improve the quality of your kitty’s health. Snake plants contain toxins called saponins, which can result in lethargy, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if ingested by cats.
Dieffenbachias, or dumb canes, are popular low-maintenance houseplants. However, they contain calcium oxalates.
As with lilies and monstera plants, this can lead to oral irritation, excessive drooling, digestive issues, and difficulty swallowing.
Known for its rich, soothing fragrance, eucalyptus is a popular ingredient in many essential oils; some people even like to hang it in their shower for a soothing steam session.
That said, eucalyptus doesn’t exactly offer the same benefits to cats. If ingested, your cat may experience drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and appetite loss.
Sago palms make gorgeous accent pieces and, like snake plants, can even improve the air quality of your home.
However, these plants are incredibly toxic to cats; the smaller the pet, the more dangerous it is. If any part of the sago palm is ingested by your cat, she could experience vomiting, diarrhea, and liver damage. If not addressed quickly, sago toxicity could even be fatal.
With its large, colorful leaves, it’s no surprise that elephant ears make incredibly popular houseplants. If you have a cat, though, you’ll want to stay away from this one.
Like lilies, monsteras, and dumb cane, elephant ears contain calcium oxalates which lead to oral irritation and digestive issues.
*Please note: this is not a comprehensive list of harmful houseplants for cats. Before you bring any new plants into your home, we recommend conducting thorough research to ensure it’s safe for your curious, climbing kitty.
The good news is that you don’t need to choose between having plants and having pets. There are plenty of cat-friendly plants to choose from.
- Moth orchid, which is a good alternative to lilies
- Spider plants
- Money trees
- Echeveria succulents (generally those with a blue hue)
- Catnip (of course!)
If your cat simply isn’t pet-friendly, there’s always the option of fake plants!
Even if it’s been deemed a cat-friendly plant, though, it’s possible that your kitty could develop an allergy. As a general rule of paw, we always recommend talking to your vet if you notice any changes in appearance or behavior in your pet.
Keep your kitty feeling her best with Pet Honesty’s Digestive Probiotics+ Powder for Cats. This tasty meal-topping powder promotes healthy digestion and nutrient absorption and may help reduce digestive issues. Plus, it’s flavored with catnip!