Poisonous indoor plants for cats

Written by jennifer gittins
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Poisonous indoor plants for cats
House plants can cause illness in cats. (Life On White/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Cats have a tendency to be curious and get into or eat things they shouldn't, such as house plants. Unfortunately, some house plants can have adverse, unwanted effects on curious cats. Cat owners should check out a plant's potential toxicity prior to bringing it into the home. If you suspect your cat has ingested a poisonous plant, contact your veterinarian right away.

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Aloe Vera

The aloe vera plant is a common house plant because of its medicinal properties. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center website, aloe can soothe burns, wounds and other skin irritations and ease constipation. However, cats who consume the aloe plant may suffer from diarrhoea, vomiting, changes in urine colour, depression, anorexia and tremors, according to the ASPCA.

Baby's Breath (Gypsophila elegans)

Baby's breath is an annual plant, meaning it only has one growing season before it dies. It requires full sun but is relatively tolerant of droughts, so some enjoy growing it as a houseplant. It is also a common element in floral arrangements. Cats who eat baby's breath may suffer some mild to severe vomiting or diarrhoea.

Begonia (Begonia spp.)

According to the ASPCA, more than 1,000 species of begonia exist along with approximately 10,000 hybrids in a rainbow of available colours, and all are poisonous to cats. In cats, they can result in oral irritation such as burning, hypersalivation (drooling), difficulty swallowing and vomiting.

Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)

The calla lily plant, also called the garden calla or the florist's calla, produces a white funnel-shaped flower. Many members of the lily family are highly toxic to cats. This particular species of lily can produce hypersalivation, difficulty swallowing, irritation to the oral cavity and vomiting.

Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp.)

Chrysanthemums originated in Asia and have been garden and house plants for hundreds of years. They only require partial sun to flourish, making them an ideal choice as a house plant. Cats who eat the chrysanthemum may suffer from incoordination, dermatitis, diarrhoea, hypersalivation and vomiting.

Easter Lily (Lilium longiforum)

The flowers of this plant are white and trumpet-shaped. They are extremely fragrant but do require plenty of light to fully thrive. The Easter lily is highly toxic to felines. It can result in vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, kidney failure and death in a cat who eats part of the plant.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

Peace lilies are extremely tolerant of lower light levels in a home. That, combined with their foliage, make them a popular choice as a house plant. According to the ASPCA, cats can suffer from vomiting, difficulty swallowing, hypersalivation and irritation to the mouth and lips after consuming this plant.

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

Poinsettias are prevalent during the winter holiday season and in terms of their toxicity, according to the ASPCA, they are "generally overrated." Poinsettia ingestion in cats can result in irritation to the stomach and mouth with occasional vomiting, but very rarely does anything more severe result.

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