Most Common Poisonous Plants For Cats

March is Pet Poison Prevention Month and we are in the middle of the Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Week. It is a very important time of year to review and be aware of different plants that can harm our cats. Our cats are part of our families and we must take precautions to ensure they are not exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals that can compromise their health.

With the start of spring we start decorating our homes with beautiful and colorful flowers and plants, we must be aware of their poisonous effect when it comes to our cats.

Here are the top 5 most common plants and flowers that are poisonous to cats:

1. Lilies

Not all lilies are dangerous but it's important to identify the ones that can cause harm and keep them out of reach from your cats.

  1. Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies cause minor signs such as irritation in the mouth inducing drooling due to the chemical oxalate crystals. The condition tends to subside after several hours but it's best to keep them in areas where your cats can't get to them.
  2. True lilies such as Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies are the dangerous and potentially fatal types. They are highly toxic and it only takes a bite of the petal or leaf to cause severe kidney failure in cats. If you suspect your cat has ingested any of these plants seek immediate help from your veterinarian to ensure proper decontamination as soon as possible!    all of which are highly toxic to cats! 

2. Daffodils

Daffodils contain the alkaloid lycorine, which can trigger severe vomiting and diarrhea when ingested. The alkaloid is found throughout the structure of the flower (bulb, plant, flower petals) and can cause cardiac arrhythmias or respiratory depression when ingested in large amounts. Early signs of lycorine ingestion include tissue inflammation and secondary drooling. 

3. Sago Palm

The Sago Palm leaves contain a severe toxin called cycasin that causes liver damage when ingested by cats. It can lead to vomiting, bloody stools, damage to the stomach lining, severe liver failure and, in some cases, death. The Sago Palm is very popular in warmer climate areas and planted indoors and outdoors. If you have this plant indoors make sure it is not accessible to your cats because they do enjoy chewing on leaves and can easily ingest them!

4. Tulips

Tulips contain allergenic lactones that are concentrated in the bulb of the flower. While not fatal to cats it does cause severe tissue irritation to the mouth and esophagus when ingested. Signs to look for include drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. It's advised to seek medical help right away so proper treatment is administered. 

5. Dieffenbachia

A very popular house and office plant that contains 

insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. When cats ingest the leaves the crystals are released causing oral and gastrointestinal tract irritation. Common systems include burning sensation in the mouth and lips, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. 

There are many other plants and flowers that can be fatal to cats but these are the most common. If you keep plants around the house, how do you ensure your cat is not exposed to harmful toxins and chemicals? 

Sources: Pet Poison Helpline 

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