Tomato plant

Toxic Plants & Food for Cats – What Things Are Poisonous For Cats? Ultimate Guide

Knowing what is potentially toxic and dangerous to your cat means you’ll never have to risk your feline coming into contact with something that can bring about a consequence ranging from mild irritation, right up to having to be admitted to the emergency vet clinic.

Prevention is always the better than cure, so if you’re wanting to know if that plant you were considering for the patio, garden or indoors is ok for kitty to be around, you can have the peace of mind that you’re not putting him at risk.

There are of course differing levels of toxicity: from the downright extremely poisonous, to things that might cause a mild irritation. In any case, I don’t think anyone wants to risk exposing our cats to anything that is potentially dangerous, no matter how small the risk.

Plants are heavily focused on in my guide to what’s toxic or potentially dangerous to cats, but I also cover other areas: things like human foods, chemicals and cleaners, household materials and anything else that we need to all be aware of for the safety of our beloved kitties.

Most Toxic Plants for Cats

Lilies

Toxicity level: HIGH

There are lots of plants with the common name of “lily”. But my focus in this guide is on the two familes of lily plants that are known to have very high toxicity to cats:

  • Lilium
  • Hemerocallis

Kidney failure is the result of lily toxicity in cats.

To add to the confusion, many lily hybrid plants exist as well and these can come under different names. Ultiamtely the only real option is to avoid all types of lily plants.

If you’re shopping in your local plant nursery and see a plant with either of these names on the tag – stay away. Unless you plan to have the plants in a spot that your cat will certainly never access, it’s better to be safe than sorry by choosing another lovely plant instead.

Which part of lily plants are toxic to cats: Every part of lilies are toxic to cats. Cats should not be allowed near these plants at all.

So just how toxic are lilies for our cats? Extremely. Studies have found that “as little as 2 leaves or part of a single flower have resulted in deaths“.

Aglaonema

Is Aglaonema toxic to cats?

Flower of the Aglaonema modestum plant

This is a common house plant, and is commonly known as the Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema modestum).

Cats should not be allowed access to Aglaonema plants as it is toxic to them.

Symptoms of poisoning from Aglaonema plants can vary from irritation and swelling in and around the mouth, vomiting and swallowing difficulties, depending on just how much your cat has got into the plant, and their own individual reaction to it.

In any case: if your cat has come into contact with this plant – see your vet.

Chemicals and Cleaners Toxic to Cats

Permethrin


This is an all too common danger to cats – because permethrins are used in most dog flea products but are HIGHLY TOXIC to cats. I have more information on this in my cat flea guide. This is why dog flea products should never, ever be used on cats. And really, cats should be kept away from a dog that has been treated with a permethrin-based flea control, including spot-on products and flea collars.

Unfortunately and astonishingly, despite the well known danger, a small number of very cheap, low quality cat flea control products do still use permethrin ingredients, and there have been disastrous results including death. Needless to say, avoid any product with permethrin and seek immediate veterinary care if your cat has come into contact with it.

Human Foods That Are Toxic to Cats

Onion

It’s the compound thiosulphate which is found in onions that is toxic to cats (as well as dogs and some other animals). The potential risks and consequences of onion toxicity in cats is severe in the worst case scenarios: it can bring about damaging effects to the red blood cells through a condition called hemolytic anemia.

What are the symptoms of onion toxicity in cats?
If you have no idea that your cat has eaten onion, you won’t have taken quick evasive action to get to a vet. Potential signs and sypmtoms are what could you alert you as to what’s happened.

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