What House Plants Are Toxic to Cats?

Cats are notorious for nibbling on houseplant leaves. It doesn't take long for kitty to disfigure your favorite spider plant, transforming the slender pointed greenery into unattractive stubs. Allowing your family feline to munch on a houseplant isn't just hazardous to the plant, in some situations plant leaves, stems or flowers are toxic to your pet.

Lily

The Easter lily is a popular houseplant given as a gift during the spring. Although beautiful, all parts of the plant are poisonous to cats, and if consumed can result in kidney failure and ultimately death. Keep all lily varieties from your cat, including the Japanese show lily, tiger lily and the rubrum lily. If your cat snacks on the plant, he may vomit, become lethargic or lose his appetite. Seek medical attention immediately if your cat consumes any of the lily plant.

Asparagus Fern

While some gardeners add asparagus ferns to the flower bed, they are also a popular houseplant, with a showy fountain-like appearance. They make an ideal hanging plant and are appropriate for a plant stand. Yet they are not suitable for your kitty's grazing and may cause death. For humans the plant's berries and sap are deemed low-level toxicity if eaten, according to information provided by North Carolina State University. In many situations, a plant is more toxic to the cat than the pet owner.

Azalea

When selecting a plant gift, buyers often choose the azalea, especially if it is in bloom. This is a way to give flowers and a houseplant. Commonly sold in the grocery store's flower department, the azalea is an easy-to-give and affordable plant gift. Unfortunately, all parts of the azalea or rhododendron are poisonous. This plant is highly toxic both to your pets and yourself. Symptoms of ingestion include loss of energy, vomiting, diarrhea, paralysis and coma.

Philodendron

The philodendron is a common houseplant noted for lush green foliage. While it is toxic to pets and humans, it is especially a threat for cats, due to its aroid toxins, to which cats are highly vulnerable. There are over 200 varieties of philodendron plants, with two primary classes---the vining varieties and the arborescent, which become large plants with large, sturdy leaves.

Keywords: toxic house plants, poisonous cat houseplants, cat friendly houseplants

About this Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University of Fullerton.