Poisonous House Plants and Cats


Cats enjoy nibbling on greenery, and some plants provide nutrients that are beneficial to your feline friends. Not all plants are safe for cats to eat, however. If your cat spends time indoors, chances are he will sample your houseplants. Should one of those houseplants be poisonous it could end your beloved pet's life.

The Lily

All parts of lily plants are extremely poisonous to cats. In some houseplants, the toxic characteristic is isolated to a specific part, such as the roots, leaves, seeds or berries. Even if a houseplant has only one part that is poisonous, remove it from the cat's reach.

Cats Aren't People

Just because a plant is safe for human consumption does not make it safe for your cat. According to the Cat Fancier's Association, the green fruit of the tomato plant is toxic to cats. The leaves and stems also pose a danger. The tomato plant is not the only seemingly innocuous plant that can pose a threat to your cat.


There are many reasons to continue decorating with houseplants, including the fact that they efficiently filter the air, according to studies by NASA. Instead of banning all houseplants, identify plants that are poisonous and look for safe options. The ASPCA website lists toxic and non-toxic plants for cats, dogs and horses. Choose houseplants from the safe list when decorating your home.


Some plants, such as lilies, can quickly kill a cat and consuming just a small amount of the plant can be lethal. After eating a portion of the plant, the cat might vomit, become lethargic and within 72 hours develop kidney failure. If you suspect your cat has eaten a toxic plant, immediately contact your veterinarian and seek medical attention.


For years, the poinsettia plant, a familiar flowering plant used for decorating during the winter holidays, was considered an extremely poisonous houseplant. Recent studies have reversed that belief. The ASPCA now includes the poinsettia under the "Non-toxic Substances for Dogs and Cats" list on its website. Yet it does note that digesting the plant may cause a stomach upset.

Keywords: poisonous house plants, poisonous plants for cats, plants toxic for cats

About this Author

Ann Johnson was the editor of a community magazine in Southern California for more than 10 years and was an active real estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelors of Art degree in communications from California State University of Fullerton. Today she is a freelance writer and photographer, and part owner of an Arizona real estate company.