Showing posts with label plants poisonous to cats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label plants poisonous to cats. Show all posts

Wednesday 3 April 2024

If so many plants are toxic to cats, how is it they don't all die in the wild?

Here are some reasons in response to the question in the title:

The question refers to plants in the wild. We don't know how many of them are toxic to cats and in any case not as many as the question in the title suggests (but see below for a short list). This contradicts the implication in the title that many or most are toxic.

But more importantly, there is grass outside and cats favour eating grass and in favouring grass they will ignore eating plants. They understand that grass is okay and safe to eat.

The snow leopard living at high altitude knows through eons of experience and evolution that the Tamarix plant is beneficial to them. I have suggested that it improves their oxygen intact and therefore their performance at high altitude where the air is thin.

Indoor cats might be driven to eating plants which are toxic to cats (most popular indoor plants are toxic) because they instinctively want to eat some vegetation for medicinal reasons but grass is unavailable. Lesson: full-time indoor cats should have access to some grass. I am sure that you can buy it on Amazon! 👍💕.

We are not sure exactly why domestic cats and wild cats like to eat vegetation occasionally. It has medical benefits one of which might be to ingest minute amounts of a vitamin called folic acid which plays an important role in the production of haemoglobin which transports oxygen around the body in the blood.

Some experts believe that if cats are deficient in folic acid they'll become anaemic and their growth will suffer.

In the wild domestic and wild cats are able to find grass to eat and will be able to avoid plants that are toxic through experience and probably taste and smell. Cats can detect bitterness to protect from poisons.

Believe it or not, the ASPCA lists 417 varieties of plants that are toxic to cats, as well as 569 that aren’t toxic. While some plants cause mild symptoms, others can be highly dangerous. The lily is particularly hazardous, with all parts of the plant being toxic. However, there are several other plants, both indoors and outdoors, that can harm cats. Here are some common ones:

  1. Aloe vera: A succulent with jagged edges.
  2. Pothos: A low-maintenance vine.
  3. Sago palm: An ancient tropical plant.
  4. Dieffenbachia: A tropical foliage plant.
  5. Kalanchoe: A flowering succulent.
  6. Lily of the valley: Not a true lily.
  7. Hyacinth: A bulbous spring flower.
  8. Yew: An evergreen conifer.
  9. Chrysanthemum: A late-season blooming flower.
  10. Poinsettia: A perennial shrub from Mexico.
  11. Lilies (true or daylilies).
  12. Peace Lily: Not a true lily.
  13. Cutleaf Philodendron: A tropical split-leaf plant.
  14. Jade Plants: Succulent money plants.
  15. Snake Plant: An air-purifying plant.
  16. English Ivy: A delicate trailing plant.
  17. Oleander: Also known as Jericho rose or rose laurel.
  18. Tulip: Another bulbous spring flower.
  19. Daffodil: Yet another bulbous spring flower.
  20. Bird of Paradise: Two different plants with this name.

Remember, cats are generally cautious and selective about what they eat. While they may occasionally nibble on grass or greens, they primarily rely on animal-based protein. If you suspect your cat has ingested something toxic, consult a veterinarian promptly.

Sources for the second section on this page: RSPCA, Bing,,, the spruce pets and more - plus me! 😎👍

RELATED: Most popular houseplants are all poisonous to cats bar one

RELATED: Plants poisonous to cats (huge list).


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Solution of half water and half vinegar sprayed on houseplants protects them from cats?

A Bengal cat owner, trainer and founder of Outdoor Bengal believes that he has the solution to protecting indoor houseplants from being chewed by domestic cats. It's a simple one.

You take an empty spray bottle and fill it with 50% water and 50% vinegar. You spray the solution on the plant. The smell deters the cat. That's it.

I don't know whether it works or not. It probably will at least to a certain extent. Cats as we all know have a great sense of smell and vinegar smells bad to them. Like I said it's a simple formula.

Will it harm the plant? Will the homeowner accept the vinegary smell coming from their plants?! 😀 If the smell is acceptable to the cat's owner all well and good. I have doubts.

There is a double advantage: you protect your plants from domestic cats and you protect your cat from houseplants as many of them are toxic to cats.

If you want to know which ones are not toxic to cats please click on the link below:

The above plant is safe for cats.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Thursday 14 December 2023

Top Christmas indoor plant is toxic to cats but its toxicity is greatly exaggerated

Top Christmas indoor plant is toxic to cats but its toxicity is greatly exaggerated
Poinsettias are mildly toxic to cats. Image: MikeB

This is what one website says about poinsettias:

Native to Central America, poinsettias are perfect for the festive season. With little sunlight needed to survive, they are brilliant to buy as a table centrepiece in time for Christmas.
Yep, they are perfect for Christmas; bright red and green. A perfect combination of colours to decorate the home generally at Christmas.

But historically, you'll see warnings on the internet that this plant is toxic to cats. It would seem that some websites exaggerate their toxicity. 

This may have originated in the poisoning of a child in the early 20th century who ate the leaves and died. 

Here is an extract from an AI computer's assessment of their toxicity:
Poinsettias contain milky white sap that contains chemicals called diterpenoid euphorbol esters. These compounds can cause irritation and discomfort if ingested by cats, resulting in mild gastrointestinal upset, such as drooling, vomiting, or diarrhoea. However, the toxicity of poinsettias to cats is relatively low, and severe poisoning or fatal outcomes are extremely rare.
The point though is that the plant can cause ill-health in cats and in the worst case scenario seriously harm a cat.  Steps should be taken to protect cats from poinsettias.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Wednesday 25 January 2023

Terrifying picture of a cat sitting under a bunch of lilies

The cat's caregiver urgently but innocently asks: "HELP! I've heard lilies are toxic to cats. I was given this bouquet today as a bday gift and she keeps following it wherever I put it (outside, inside, living room, bedroom, bathroom). I cut the pistils and vacuumed the pollen and spores, not sure if that's enough. Are cats also attracted to lilies?"

Picture by u/Idrialis on

I find the picture terrifying to be honest. Anybody who has done some research on the effect of lilies on domestic cats should be terrified of this plant. There is no place for this plant in a home where there is a domestic cat or cats. They should be completely banned from the home. Even if they are a present on a birthday as is the case in this instance. Lilies and cats should be separated permanently and completely.

Why are lilies toxic to cats?

Even a small amount of pollen from one of the toxic lily species can kill through kidney failure. The lady says that she has removed some of the toxic elements of the lily and hoovered the area around the lilies but this is not enough. Not in my view. Perhaps I'm being a little bit over reactive but the problem is this: the risk is very high and because they can be fatal there is no place for them.

The top 10 cat poisons in the USA and lilies are in the number 1 spot.

There are some species of lily which are non-toxic. The problem is it's very difficult to know which ones are and which ones are not. Unless you are an expert and you can recognise lily species. There's quite a large number.

There are other plants you can put in the home although most popular plants, my research, can be toxic. Domestic cats like to eat plants sometimes because they like to eat grass and grass is a plant. They eat vegetation to improve their health which is ironic.

Dr. Desmond Morris says that domestic cats eat plants to ingest folic acid which is contained within grass. This helps with the transportation of haemoglobin in the blood around the body. That's his theory. Another theory is that they eat grass as roughage to help pass hairballs through their digestive tract. And another theory is that it makes him sick to throw up hairballs. Take your pick.

All these reasons are another reason why lilies should be removed from the home and never accepted even if it is your birthday and they are a nice present.

The lady in question posted her picture about 24-hour's ago. I hope and pray that her cat has not ingested a small amount of lily material during that time. If they have, they may be on the way to death. That sounds exaggerated. I don't think it is.

Wednesday 23 February 2022

Are orchids poisonous to cats?


According to 8 sources.

It is quite nice to know that eight sources tell me that orchids are not poisonous to cats. It's pleasant to know that because there are a lot of plants which are poisonous to cats. I am almost of the opinion that a cat owner should have no plants in their home! That would be too extreme but actually it applies to me. You just have to be careful and I don't want the worry because cats like to nibble plants because they like to nibble grass which is a plant.

RELATED: Top 10 most poisonous plants to cats.

Although orchids are non-toxic to cats, if a cat chewed on one substantially it might give them a stomach upset causing them to be sick. And there may be some pesticides on orchids. I don't know if there are but the commercialisation of growing plants probably indicates that some sort of toxic pesticide is used by the producer.

However, they have been declared safe on the Internet by people who know more than me about the toxicity of plants and therefore I take that information on face value and pass it on.

Although orchids are safe, they are expensive and they are expensive because of production costs and transportation difficulties as I understand it. Market forces might also be involved which I mean demand outstrips supply which automatically forces up the price.

RELATED: House plants safe for cats.

If they are looked after well, they can last 15-20 years although they apparently become weaker producing less blossoms as they get older. I'm told that there are reports of some orchids living for over 100 years. But I guess when they are in someone's home, they might live 2-3 months.

The point that I am making is that perhaps the price is not as high as it seems if you take into account their longevity provided the conditions are satisfactory. They thrive in strong sunlight but not direct late afternoon sunlight. They also need a high humidity and air flow around the roots. And apparently, they need regular periods of drying alternating with heavy watering. They do best in temperatures above 50° but below 85°F.

Friday 27 August 2021

What parts of lilies are toxic to cats?

All of the lily is the answer to the question. I have spent a reasonable amount of time researching an answer to the question in the title, in terms of the specific chemical, without success I have to confess. I have searched the Internet using Google Scholar looking for studies on this topic. The studies that I found are quite old (e.g. 2009) and they tell me that they don't know the specific chemical that causes such toxicity to cats. But they do tell me that all parts of lilies i.e. the whole plant-petals, stamen, leaves, and pollen are toxic.

What part of lilies are toxic to cats? All of it.
What part of lilies are toxic to cats? All of it. Image: MikeB

Not all lilies are toxic, funnily enough. You can click on this link if you wish to find out which lilies are not toxic. However, as a cat owner you should not have any lilies in the home at any time in my honest opinion. This is because they are lethally toxic. They are just too dangerous and only a small amount of pollen from a stamen can harm or perhaps kill a cat.

There are many hybrids of the lily which is another confusing point. And as little as two leaves or part of a single flower can kill a cat. The onset of poisoning is rapid which suggests a rapid absorption of the toxin concerned. It is disappointing to realise that the scientists don't know what this toxin is. If you know better than me then please leave a comment and tell me exactly what this chemical is.

Click for the top 10 cat poisons in the USA and lilies are in the number 1 spot.

The experts say that the renal tubular epithelium appears to be the target of the toxin. A water-soluble fraction of the lily is nephrotoxic. The symptoms of lily intoxication include depression, anorexia, vomiting and salivation. Polyuria renal failure leads to dehydration and anuric renal failure and death results.

Specifically, it is called nephrotoxicity which means toxicity to the kidneys in my understanding of the word.

Thursday 8 July 2021

We need to identify the toxic substances in plants which makes them poisonous to cats

WHY, WHY, WHY are domestic cats injured by many plants that are toxic to cats when they chew on them??? Domestic cats like to chew on vegetation as we know. Their favourite plant is grass (click for reasons). We don't know how many domestic cats are injured by plants but they damage the kidneys resulting in kidney failure and death. The reason why I have overly emphasised "why" is because I want Google's search engine to find this article rather than simply treat this article as another one describing the toxicity of plants to cats. We don't want that. We want to know about the chemical in the plants which hurts cats.

Why are lilies toxic to cats?
Lily Pollen Kills Cats. Photo by wlcutler. Why? We don't know.

Regarding lilies Wikipedia states:

"The true mechanism of toxicity is undetermined, but it involves damage to the renal tubular epithelium...which can cause acute renal failure."

And, yes, I've been searching on the Internet for the reasons why many plants are toxic to cats without success. The most toxic of plants are lilies. And there are many species of lily. Not all of them, incidentally, are toxic to cats but cat owners would be wise to never have lilies in their home of any species. They are that toxic. But we do not know the toxic substance in lilies that injures cats' kidneys. It has not been identified apparently. If it has been identified I can't find the information.

I find this state of affairs strange, to be honest. If we knew the substances that can kill cats in lilies and other plants, we might be able to design an antidote which cancels that substance out providing an immediate and rapid cure. 

Perhaps the scientists are disinterested. Perhaps this is because when a cat dies "they are only cats". And cats are 'only cats' because there are too many of them on the planet, many of which are unwanted and without homes. That state of affairs has a knock-on effect on the mentality of people and their attitude towards domestic and stray cats.

You'll find millions of pages on the toxicity of lilies to domestic cats. But you won't find WHY. Please, can we have some information about this!

Think of the massive advantages it would bring to cat owners if they were able to have, in their home, a spot-on treatment which saves the life of their cat because they had chewed on a toxic plant. Wouldn't that be a commercial success? An antidote to toxicity in plants for the domestic cat? Surely that would be a commercial success.

Friday 11 June 2021

Cats living in greenhouses. Is it a good idea?

There's a story online today about cats living in greenhouses and it is described as something which is very good and in general terms I agree with that assessment. I love to see domestic cats in the working environment making the place more pleasant and giving it some soul. 

Oakridge Nursery & Landscaping resident cat
Oakridge Nursery & Landscaping resident cat. There are others. Photo: the nursery.

But is it a good idea because garden nurseries are full of plants (obviously)? The reason why I stress the word "plants" is because there are hundreds of plants that are poisonous to domestic cats. And, to compound the matter, some cats like to nibble plants in the same way that they like to nibble grass which, after all, is also a plant.

I'm not saying that it is automatically dangerous for a domestic cat to wander around a garden nursery, inside one of their large greenhouses as you see in the photograph. However, if I was a garden nursery owner and had a couple of working cats at the workplace, I would be anxious about their welfare. It would be a shame because I would love to have them there but I wouldn't allow it as much as for my well-being as for the cats'. I would not like to be in a state of constant low-level anxiety about the welfare of my cats. I've therefore got to come to the conclusion that it is not a great idea to have cats in greenhouses.

The story, incidentally, concerns Oakridge Nursery and Landscaping in Brandon, South Dakota. They have had cats at their workplace for many years, without problems? We are told that they weave in and out of annuals, perennials and gardening supplies. The cats are related and they are all named after plants such as Annabelle hydrangea! Great name by the way.

I am sure, too, that they amuse the customers and contribute to the profitability of the business. Working cats in stores always do. Visitors love to see them as they make the place emotionally warmer and more pleasant visit. Garden nurseries are already nice places to visit because of the smells and because they are about nature. Nature is very healing even if people don't realise it. But it is the reason why garden nurseries are pleasant places. Some people visit them just to have a coffee in the canteen!

No criticism is intended of this garden center. It looks great. I am highlighting a potential problem and in the worst-case scenario it is a serious problem.

Source: Daily Paws via Yahoo.

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