Toxic Plants for Cats

Toxic Plants for Cats

Summer is here! The sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and the grass couldn’t be greener. Chances are you’re going to end up with fresh flowers of any sort in your home this summer. While plants are often good for the environment and for us humans too, they may harbor poisonous toxins that could harm our beloved cats. The fact is that cats love plants and are naturally very curious creatures which makes keeping harmful plants out of their reach even harder. We’ll discuss the various plants to watch out for this summer, as well as the symptoms our cats may display if they come in contact with or consume these plants. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance either call your vet or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 24/7 Hotline (888) 426-4435.

Azaleas will bloom as early as spring all the way through summer with an array of mesmerizing colors. From pink, purple, white, you name it! Their sprout will span from the Southeast to the Pacific Coast, making it more likely you’ll see them in your neighborhood. The azalea shrub in its entirety is considered poisonous due to the grayanotoxins it contains. In fact, that same toxin is cultivated in Turkey for the production of Mad Honey, which is honey with hallucinogenic properties brought on by the toxin. Some of the signs that your furry friend has ingested an azalea are excessive drooling, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, lethargy, and even tremors. While the danger level with this plant is medium comparatively, a proactive pet owner is a smart pet owner.

Lilies on the other hand are at a high danger level. They tend to bloom from early summer to mid-fall in woodland areas, so pretty much most of North America. Many species of lilies cause lily nephrotoxicity if ingested by either humans or cats due to the toxin known as convallatoxin. The toxins attack the kidneys which can lead to kidney failure over time. On a positive note, these toxins are also used for life saving treatment against the cytomegalovirus in humans. The symptoms a cat could display if they ingest a lily includes decreased activity level, drooling, vomiting, loss of appetite, increased urination and dehydration. While lilies are a part of the North American vegetation ecosystem, if there’s a cat in the house, it’s best to keep those plants outside of your home at the very least.

Tulips are another high danger plant for cats. While they naturally flourish in Southeastern Europe, tulips are farmed by the millions in giant plants across North America such as Tulip Town in Washington, Texas Tulips in Texas, and VanderZanden Farms in Oregon. Aside from their beauty, every part of a tulip is toxic to a cat. However, the most poisonous part of a tulip is the bulb. The common symptoms of ingestion can be drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, rapid respiratory rate, difficulty breathing, and loss of appetite. Severe symptoms include central nervous system depression which are displayed as lethargy and lack of coordination. While the severity depends on the amount of ingestion and current state of the cat’s health, the consequences outweigh the risk.

Summer may forever bring joy and infinite colors into the world, but it is imperative that we cat owners stay informed about what is harmful and what is safe for our furry friends. Of course, there are many other plants that are good for cat consumption such as areca palm, bamboo palm, and lilyturf which in fact also purify the surrounding air of city smog, smoke, and fumes. With the right knowledge we can keep our felines happy and healthy!