Dangerous House Plants

Although we think of cats as carnivores, in fact many are fond of vegetables and other plant material. Although food preferences vary with individual cats, many will sample a plot of grass outdoors, the leaves of a potted houseplant indoors, or other common items like shoelaces. Cats confuse their owners by ending grass-grazing with regurgitation or vomiting. The reason for this predictable behavior is unclear, but it has been suggested that our pets eat grass, at least sometimes, in order to stimulate vomiting. Relief from hairball indigestion may be one motive for plant eating in cats.

However, not all plant-eating leads to getting "sick", so it is a good idea to consult with your vet if the pattern continues. Because of this tendency to seek and ingest vegetation, cats may naturally experiment with the taste of houseplants. Such behavior can be undesirable, at best, or dangerous when leaves or other plant parts are toxic.

To keep your cat safe, be sure all plants in your home are safe in case of ingestion, or place them out of reach. Hanging pots, for example, usually lose their appeal even to curious cats. Non-toxic, valued plants can be protected with a small amount of sprayed vinegar or black pepper solution on leaves. As a gift to those cats that seem determined to eat plants, owners can offer treats of herbicide- and pesticide-free potted grass. Grass seeds or even parakeet seeds can be sprouted in seedling pots and offered occasionally, the empty pot then re-seeded for a new batch.

In small amounts, grass can be a welcome treat for any house cat. Listed here are plants poisonous to cats that must be avoided if there are cats in your home. While in some cases just parts of a plant bark, leaves, seeds, berries, roots, tubers, spouts, green shells might be poisonous, this list rules out the whole plant. If you must have any of them, keep them safely out of reach. Should your feline friend eat part of a poisonous plant, rush the cat to your veterinarian as soon as possible. If you can, take the plant with you for ease of identification.

Plants Poisonous To Cats - Alfalfa - Almond (Pits of) - Alocasia - Amaryllis - Apple (seeds) - Apricot (Pits of) - Arrowgrass - Avocado - Azalea - Baneberry - Bayonet - Beargrass - Beech - Belladonna - Bird of Paradise - Bittersweet - Black-eyed Susan - Black Locust - Bleeding Heart - Bloodroot - Bluebonnet - Box - Boxwood - Buckeyes - Burning Bush - Buttercup - Cactus - Candelabra - Caladium - Castor Bean - Cherry (pits) - Cherry, wild varieties - Cherry, ground - Cherry, Laurel - Chinaberry - Christmas Rose - Chrysanthemum - Clematis - Coriaria - Cornflower - Corn Plant - Cornstalk Plant - Croton - Corydalis - Crocus, Autumn - Crown of Thorns - Cuban Laurel - Cutleaf Philodendron - Cycads - Cyclamen - Daffodil Daphne - Datura - Deadly Nightshade - Death Camas - Delphinium - Decentrea - Dieffenbachia - Dumb Cane - Easter Lily - Eggplant - Elderberry - Elephant Ear - English Ivy - Euonymus - Evergreen - Ferns - Flax - Four O'Clock - Foxglove - Golden Chain - Golden Glow - Gopher Purge - Hellebore - Hemlock, Poison - Hemlock, Water - Henbane - Holly - Honeysuckle - Horsebeans - Horsebrush - Horse Chestnuts - Hyacinth - Hydrangea - Indian Tobacco - Iris - Iris Ivy - Jack in the Pulpit - Java Beans - Jessamine - Jerusalem Cherry - Jimson Weed - Jonquil - Jungle Trumpets - Lantana - Larkspur - Laurel - Lily - Lily Spider - Lily of the Valley - Locoweed - Lupine - Marigold - Marijuana - Mescal Bean - Mistletoe - Mock Orange - Monkshood - Moonseed - Morning Glory - Mountain Laurel - Mushrooms - Narcissus - Nightshade - Oleander - Peach (pits of) - Pencil Cactus - Peony - Periwinkle - Philodendron - Pimpernel - Poinciana - Poinsettia - Poison Hemlock - Poison Ivy - Poison Oak - Pokeweed - Poppy - Potato Plant - Precatory Bean - Primrose - Privet, Common - Rhododendron - Rhubarb - Ribbon Plant - Rosemary Pea - Rubber Plant - Scotch Broom - Skunk Cabbage - Snowdrops - Snow on the Mountain - Staggerweed - Star of Bethlehem - Sweetpea - Tansy Mustard - Tobacco - Tomato Plant - Tulip - Tung Tree - Virginia Creeper - Water Hemlock - Weeping Fig - Wild Call - Wisteria - Yews -- - e.g. Japanese Yew - English Yew - Western Yew - American Yew.

Tristan Andrews writes useful articles about cats and kittens. Discover and explore the feline world. Find out how to better care for, train and live with your cat at the cat forums at

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