10 Common Poisonous Plants for Cats

PetMD Editorial
By PetMD Editorial on May 16, 2012
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List of Toxic Plants for Cats

Dealing with a cat that has been poisoned by a plant is a scary situation. Who do I call? What do I do? How could I have prevented this? To help you on that last one, here’s a list of 10 of the most common poisonous plants for cats.


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1. Autumn Crocus

The Autumn Crocus can cause an intense burning sensation in the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, liver and kidney damage, heart arrhythmias, and death. Although the entire plant is considered toxic to cats, the toxicity is highest in the bulbs, seeds and flowers.

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2. Azalea and Rhododendron

Even ingesting just a few azalea leaves can cause oral irritation with subsequent vomiting and diarrhea in cats. In severe cases, ingestion can cause a drop in blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, coma and death.

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3. Daffodil

Although the entire plant is considered toxic to cats, it is the bulb that is the most toxic. Ingestion of any portion of a daffodil can cause oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, arrhythmias, convulsions and a serious drop in blood pressure.

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4. Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia, also known as dumb cane, is a common houseplant that can cause a burning sensation in the lips, tongue and mouth; vomiting; and difficulty swallowing in cats. Ingestion of dieffenbachia is rarely fatal but very unpleasant for cats.

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5. Tulip

The whole tulip plant is considered toxic, but the bulb is the most poisonous to cats. Ingestion can cause significant oral irritation, excessive drooling and nausea. Unless large quantities of the bulb are eaten, which is unlikely in cats, tulip ingestion should not be fatal.

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6. Kalanchoe

Also known as the mother-in-law plant, the kalanchoe is a common houseplant with small, dense flowers. All of the parts of this plant are toxic to cats. When ingested, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea. In rare cases, heart arrhythmias can occur.

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7. Lily

Many different species of flowering plants are commonly referred to as lilies. Those included in the genus Lilium, like Easter lilies, Asiatic lilies, and tiger lilies, cause severe kidney failure in cats that ingest even a small amount of the plant.


Day lilies fall into another genus (Hemerocallis) but have similar effects. All parts of the plant are toxic to cats, but the flowers are especially dangerous. In fact, just the pollen from one of these lilies has been known to be lethally poisonous to cats.

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8. Sago Palm

Also known as the coontie palm, or the cardboard palm, the sago palm is an extremely poisonous plant to cats. When ingested, it can cause bloody vomiting and diarrhea, bleeding disorders, liver failure, and death.

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9. Oleander

Oleander is a popular ornamental flowering shrub commonly found in the Southern United States and California. Its cardiac glycosides, similar to digoxin, are very toxic to cats and can cause fatal heart abnormalities, muscle tremors, incoordination, seizures, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.

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10. Cyclamen

Also known as sowbread, the cyclamen is a common flowering houseplant that contains compounds (terpenoid saponins) that are poisonous to cats. They cause oral irritation, vomiting and diarrhea, and in large amounts, heart abnormalities, seizures and death.