What Flowers and Plants Are Safe for Cats?


PetMD Editorial

. Reviewed by Jennifer Coates, DVM
Updated Oct. 19, 2023
orange cat sitting among houseplants looking up

Did you know that certain plants and flowers can actually be dangerous for your cat? If you’re considering adding some foliage to your home decor, it’s important to only pick cat-friendly plants if you share your house with a feline.

“While any plant material can cause mild stomach upset, some plants are much more dangerous,” says Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

It’s also important for cat parents to know that some plants and flowers that are relatively safe for dogs can be deadly for cats. For example, lilies can cause kidney failure in cats, but only mild stomach upset in dogs. So don’t assume the same rules apply for your dog-friendly plants.

Check out this list to learn what plants are safe for cats.

12 Flowers That Are Safe for Cats

Here are some popular cat-friendly flowers:

  • Alstroemeria

  • Asters

  • Dense blazing star (Liatris spicata)

  • Freesia

  • Gerbera daisies (Gerbera jamesonii)

  • Lisianthus

  • Orchids

  • Roses

  • Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)

  • Statice (Limonium sinuatum)

  • Sunflowers (Helianthus angustifolius)

  • Wax flower (Etlingera cevuga)

It’s also important for cat parents to know that some plants and flowers that are relatively safe for dogs can be deadly for cats.

20 Plants That Are Safe for Cats

If you’re looking for less pops of color and more greenery, there are plenty of cat-friendly house plants you can choose:

  • Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens)

  • Bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea)

  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

  • Boston fern (Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis)

  • Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)

  • Dill (Anethum graveolena)

  • Dwarf date palm (Phoenix acaulis)

  • Friendship plant (Pilea involucrata)

  • Hens and chicks (Echeveria elegans)

  • Lady palm (Rhapis excelsa)

  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

  • Old man cactus (Cephalocereus senilis)

  • Painted lady (Echeveria multicaulis)

  • Reed palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

  • Sage (Salvia officinalis)

  • Shrimp cactus (Schlumbergera russelliana)

  • Spider plant/spider ivy (Chlorophytum comosum)

  • Venus fly trap (Dionaea muscipula)

  • Zebra haworthia (Haworthia fasciata)

Different flowers and plants sometimes go by similar common names. Whenever possible, find the plant’s scientific name (genus and species) and use that to search a reliable database, like the ASPCA Pet Poison Control’s toxic and non-toxic plants list.

Plant Safety for Cats

Just because a plant isn’t toxic to cats doesn’t mean it still can’t pose safety concerns.

Anything unusual that a cat eats, including plant material and the cut flower food that often comes with bouquets, can lead to an upset tummy and symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and a poor appetite. Cats that eat large amounts of any type of plant material are also at risk for a gastrointestinal blockage.

Even the vase could pose a problem. “Cats especially like to drink from vases, so make sure the cat cannot overturn heavy vases and hurt themselves,” Wismer adds. “Breakable vases can also be a hazard for your pets … and you, when you have to pick up the pieces.”

Wismer recommends keeping all plants and flowers out of reach of curious cats. You can contain them in a room your cat isn’t allowed to be in unsupervised, or use hanging planters so your kitty can’t reach them.

What To Do if Your Cat Eats a Plant That Might Be Poisonous

If your cat nibbled on a flower or plant and you’re unsure whether it may be toxic, call your emergency vet, the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

You should call even if you just suspect that your cat might have eaten part of a plant or flower. Getting cats the treatment they need as quickly as possible can save both money and lives.

By Cheryl Lock

Featured Image: Getty/Damian Lugowski

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