32 Common Indoor and Outdoor Plants Poisonous to Cats 

cat facing the camera while sitting in grass

Every cat owner knows these mischievous little troublemakers love to nibble on plants when you’re not looking. That’s why, if you have a cat, you should avoid these toxic plants at all costs. Whether your feline companion lives indoors or outdoors, here are some of the most common plants poisonous to cats that you need to protect them from. 

In this article, we’ll explain how to identify these toxic plants and what could happen to your cat if they eat one. We’ll also provide advice on what to do if you think your furbaby needs medical attention. 

1. Aloe plant (Aloe vera)

Identifying features: Green, spiky succulent leaves, sometimes with white spots, that grow in a rosette shape  

Poisonous characteristics: All parts of the plant contain saponins, which can cause gastrointestinal and neurological damage, and anthraquinone glycosides, which can cause gastrointestinal upset. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Changes in urine color
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Depression
  • Tremors 

2. Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.)

Identifying features: Bright red trumpet-shaped flowers with six petals, sometimes with white striations

Poisonous characteristics: The leaves, stems, and bulbs of the plant contain phenanthridine alkaloids, which can cause gastrointestinal upset, drops in blood pressure, and respiratory issues. The bulbs also contain raphide oxalate crystals, which can tear the soft tissue inside the digestive system. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Fainting

3. Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale)

Identifying features: Blooms in early autumn; Light pinkish-purple bulbs with a white center and yellow stamens 

Poisonous characteristics: All parts of the plant contain a toxic alkaloid called colchicine, which can cause severe damage to the gastrointestinal system, liver, kidneys, respiratory system, or central nervous system. Ingesting this plant could lead to death. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant: 

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea 
  • Seizures 
  • Panting
  • Restlessness 
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excess thirst 
  • Weakness
  • Behavioral changes 

4. Azaleas (Rhododendron spp.)

Identifying features: More than 1,000 species of shrubs that can be deciduous or evergreen, large or small, with flowers of pink, white, red, or blue that bloom for several months in spring, summer, or early fall depending on the species

Poisonous characteristics: All parts of the plant contain grayanotoxins, which can cause damage to the skeletal and cardiac systems. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Drooling
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Abnormal heart rate 
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Temporary loss of sight 

5. Castor bean (Ricinus communis)

Identifying features: Large, star-shaped evergreen leaves that can be green, maroon, purplish, or bronze colored; bright red flowers that look like spiky balls can bloom year-round

Poisonous characteristics: The beans contain ricin, a highly toxic compound that can be fatal.

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Weakness
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Coordination loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Convulsions
  • Collapse

6. Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum spp.)

Identifying features: Fall-blooming flowers with feathery petals in bright orange, yellow, red, pink, lavender, or purple, depending on the species 

Poisonous characteristics: The flowers contain pyrethrins, which are used as pesticides. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excess salivation 
  • Loss of coordination 
  • Skin irritation 

7. Cyclamen (Cyclamen spp.)

Identifying features: Clumps of leaves that resemble tiny lily pads, with white, pink, lavender, or red flowers rising above the leaves on stems 

Poisonous characteristics: All parts of the plant contain saponins, which cause irritation when ingested in small quantities but can cause far more severe issues — even death — if consumed in large quantities.  

Signs your cat has eaten this plant: 

  • Drooling  
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Seizures 

8. Daffodils (Narcissus spp.)

Identifying features: Bright yellow, star-shaped flowers with a trumpet-shaped tube protruding from the center

Poisonous characteristics: Daffodil bulbs contain lycorine, which triggers vomiting, and sharp crystals that cause severe irritation. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal heart rate 
  • Abnormal breathing 
  • Low blood pressure
  • Tremors 

9. Devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum)

Identifying features: Fast-growing vine with shiny green leaves; new leaves are variegated with yellow

Poisonous characteristics: This plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can irritate and penetrate tissue in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract when ingested. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Swollen mouth, tongue, and lips 
  • Oral irritation or pain
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Rarely: Difficulty breathing

10. Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia spp.)

Identifying features: Large green leaves shaped like spearheads, with greenish-white variegation

Poisonous characteristics: This plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can irritate and penetrate tissue in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Burning and pain in the mouth
  • Drooling 
  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Vomiting 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Rarely: Difficulty breathing

11. Elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta)

Identifying features: Large, heart-shaped green leaves with ridges and ruffled edges

Poisonous characteristics: This plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can irritate and penetrate tissue in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract when ingested. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Swollen mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Oral irritation
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting 
  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rarely: Difficulty breathing 

12. English ivy (Hedera helix)

Identifying features: Fast-growing climbing vine or ground cover with small, glossy green leaves with white veins and three points 

Poisonous characteristics: The leaves and berries contain triterpenoid saponins, which irritate the gastrointestinal system. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant: 

  • Drooling 
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea

13. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus cinerea)

Identifying features: Soft green, roundish leaves with a strong minty scent 

Poisonous characteristics: Eucalyptus oil can damage cats’ internal organs because they aren’t able to digest it. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression 
  • Weakness 

14. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Identifying features: Tall spikes of tubular, drooping flowers in varying shades of purple, pink, or white 

Poisonous characteristics: All parts of the plant contain cardiac glycoside toxins, poisons that affect the cardiac muscles and can lead to death.  

Signs your cat has eaten this plant: 

  • Irregular heart rate 
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling 
  • Dilated pupils
  • Seizures 

15. Garlic (Allium sativum)

Identifying features: Grass-like foliage aboveground; garlic pods underground; garlic smell

Poisonous characteristics: Garlic contains N-propyl disulfide, which causes gastrointestinal upset and anemia in cats if consumed in large quantities. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Weakness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Panting
  • Bloody urine 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Collapse

16. Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)

Identifying features: Rounded spikes of small flowers in spring colors such as lavender, pink, purple, blue, or white

Poisonous characteristics: The plant, especially the bulbs, contains the toxin lycorine, which induces vomiting and gastrointestinal upset. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Severe vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in urine or feces
  • Drooling 
  • Rapid heart rate 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Depression
  • Tremors 

17. Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)

Identifying features: Shrubs with round clusters of small flowers in blue, pink, purple, or white 

Poisonous characteristics: The leaves and flowers contain cyanogenic glycosides, which disturb the gastrointestinal system when ingested.  

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Lethargy

18. Iris (Iris spp.)

Identifying features: Unique-shaped flowers with petals that droop from the center in an irregular pattern; flowers are usually blue or violet with traces of white and yellow

Poisonous characteristics: All species of irises contain glycoside compounds, which irritate internal tissue and can potentially cause a variety of health issues. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant: 

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy 

19. Jade (Crassula argentea)

Identifying features: Glossy, dark green succulent leaves with an oblong shape 

Poisonous characteristics: The leaves contain unknown toxins that cause symptoms in cats. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of coordination
  • Depression

20. Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe spp.)

Identifying features: Glossy, scallop-edged, dark green leaves; clusters of small rosette flowers in shades of yellow, orange, pink, red, or white 

Poisonous characteristics: All parts of the plant contain bufadienolides, toxins that affect the cardiac muscles and irritate the gastrointestinal tract. If ingested in large amounts, it can cause cardiac issues. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Abnormal heart rate 
  • Weakness
  • Collapse 

21. Lilies (Lilium spp.)

Identifying features: Leaves growing all the way around a central stem with flowers sprouting from the top; trumpet-shaped flowers with six petals and stamens protruding from the center

Poisonous characteristics: All parts of the plant contain toxins that can cause kidney failure, even if your cat only nibbles a tiny amount or gets into the water from the vase. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in behavior
  • Diarrhea that may contain blood
  • Vomiting that may contain blood

22. Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)

Identifying features: Spear-shaped leaves growing in a cluster; tny white, bell-shaped flowers drooping from stems among the leaves

Poisonous characteristics: All parts of the plant contain cardiac glycosides, which affect the heart and the gastrointestinal system 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal heart rate 
  • Disorientation 
  • Seizures

23. Oleander (Nerium oleander)

Identifying features: Large, mounding shrubs with clusters of small, delicate flowers in pink, white, peach, yellow, or burgundy 

Poisonous characteristics: All parts of the plant contain cardiac glycoside toxins, which interfere with the heart muscle and often cause gastrointestinal upset. In severe cases, ingestion can cause death. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant: 

  • Drooling
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting 
  • Abnormal heart rate 
  • Seizures 

24. Peace lily (Spathiphyllum spp.)

Identifying features: Large, waxy, dark green leaves and stalks with a single flower each; flowers are creamy white with a cylindrical seed pod in the center 

Poisonous characteristics: All parts of the plant contain sharp insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which will pierce the tissue of the mouth and gastrointestinal tract. In severe cases, the upper airway may swell and make breathing difficult. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Burning or irritation in the mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Rarely: Difficulty breathing 

25. Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

Identifying features: Soft, velvety dark green leaves and large, bright red flowers

Poisonous characteristics: The milky sap of poinsettia plants is mildly toxic and may cause irritation. The popular misconception of poinsettias as highly poisonous and dangerous is wrong. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Oral irritation
  • Skin irritation
  • Drooling 
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 

26. Sago palm (Cycas revoluta)

Identifying features: Stiff, waxy fronds; spiky trunk; seed pods growing in the center can be tall and cone-like (male plants) or squat and round (female plants) 

Poisonous characteristics: All parts of the sago palm contain cycasin, a dangerous toxin that affects the liver, nervous system, and gastrointestinal system. The poison is most highly concentrated in the seeds. Ingesting sago palm can lead to death if your cat doesn’t receive medical attention quickly. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Excessive thirst 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling 
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy
  • Black, tarry stool 

27. Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Identifying features: Long, upright leaves that resemble kelp 

Poisonous characteristics: All parts of the plant contain saponins, which affect the gastrointestinal system and sometimes the respiratory system and neurological pathways. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Drooling 

28. Spanish thyme (Coleus amboinicus)

Identifying features: Small, roundish, light green leaves with serrated edges and sometimes with light yellow variegation

Poisonous characteristics: All parts of the plant contain essential oils that will upset your cat’s stomach if ingested or cause skin irritation on contact. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant: 

  • Vomiting (sometimes bloody)
  • Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression 

29. Tomato plant (Lycopersicon spp.)

Identifying features: Feathery green leaves; tomato fruits 

Poisonous characteristics: The green parts of the plant, not the ripe tomato fruit itself, contain solanine, which affects the gastrointestinal tract when consumed in large quantities. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant: 

  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Dilated pupils
  • Slow heart rate 
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea

30. Tulips (Tulipa spp.)

Identifying features: Plump, rounded, cup-shaped bulbs in varying colors, including pink, red, yellow, purple, orange, white, or multicolor 

Poisonous characteristics: All parts of the plant contain allergenic lactones or similar alkaloids, which cause irritation in the mouth and digestive tract in small amounts or more severe internal issues in large amounts. The bulbs contain a higher concentration of toxins than the leaves or stems. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant: 

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • When consumed in large amounts: Increased heart rate
  • When consumed in large amounts: Difficulty breathing 

31. Wisteria (Wisteria spp.)

Identifying features: Drooping lavender flowers that resemble clumps of grapes 

Poisonous characteristics: The plant, especially the seeds and pods, contain lectin and wisterin glycoside, which can upset the gastrointestinal system. 

Signs your cat has eaten this plant: 

  • Vomiting (sometimes bloody)
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression

32. Yew (Taxus spp.)

Identifying features: Spiky, needle-like foliage; red berries

Poisonous characteristics: All parts of the plant are extremely poisonous. They contain taxines, which affect the cardiovascular system and can cause acute heart failure. Consumption may lead to death if your cat doesn’t receive immediate medical attention.

Signs your cat has eaten this plant:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures 
  • Weakness
  • Drops in heart rate 
  • Dilated pupils 

Where to search for more toxic plants 

This list is by no means extensive. Many more plants are poisonous to cats, and you should avoid them. Before you add any new plant to your home or landscape, search for it in one of these toxic plant databases to make sure it’s safe: 

In case you don’t know the name of a plant, there are apps that can help you identify it. Some examples of free options are PlantSnap and PlantNet.

Any plant, poisonous or not, can upset your cat’s stomach if they eat too much of it. So, do your best not to let your cat nibble on plants constantly. If your cat loves nibbling and needs an outlet, you can purchase tummy-safe pet grass at most pet stores.  

What to do if your cat eats a toxic plant

If you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms in your cat, or you catch them snacking on something toxic, take action immediately. The faster you act, the better chance you have of saving your kitty from a severe reaction. 

Follow these steps if you suspect your cat has eaten a poisonous plant:

  1. Take away any plant matter (leaves, petals, seeds, roots — any part of the plant) still in your cat’s mouth or stuck to their fur or paws. 
  2. Monitor your cat for symptoms. Keep them confined somewhere you can watch them, and don’t let them run away and hide.
  3. Call an animal poison control helpline. You can reach the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control at 1-888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661. Both hotlines are available 24/7/365. You’ll have to pay a fee to consult these services, but the cost is much lower than a visit to a vet’s office or animal hospital. 
  4. Follow the advice you get from the expert you speak to on the phone. They may give you at-home tips to help your cat recover or tell you to go to an animal hospital right away, depending on the situation. 
  5. Keep in mind, you may be on hold for a long time waiting to speak to a representative from these hotlines. If your cat’s condition worsens during this time, don’t wait. Take them to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital immediately. 

With immediate medical attention, your kitty can survive after eating many of the poisonous plants on this list. However, some of them are extremely dangerous and fast-acting. The best way to protect your furbaby is not to keep any poisonous plants around in the first place. 

FAQ about toxic plants

1. Will cats eat poisonous plants?

Sometimes, yes. You might think your cat’s natural instincts would kick in and prevent them from eating something poisonous, but that’s not always the case. Some curious cats, and especially young kittens, will try to take a bite out of anything — and you know what they say about curiosity and cats. 

2. How do I keep my cats from eating poisonous plants?

Short answer: Don’t have poisonous plants in your home or landscape at all. Sure, you could try placing toxic plants on a high shelf or other hard-to-reach spots, but that just looks like a challenge to most cats. These inquisitive, acrobatic climbers can reach just about anything they set their minds to. It’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid poisonous plants altogether. 

3. What plants can I have in my house with a cat?

These popular houseplants are purrfectly safe for your kitty:

African violets (Saintpaulia spp.)
Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens)
Blue echeveria (Echeveria glauca)
Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
Gloxinia (Sinningia speciosa)
Phalaenopsis orchids (Phalaenopsis spp.)
Polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)
Prayer plant (Calathea insignis)
Purple waffle plant (Hemigraphis exotica)
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

4. What landscape plants are safe for cats?

If your feline friend is more of an outdoor girl or boy, here are some beautiful and cat-safe plants you can include in your landscaping:

Bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea)
Camellia (Camellia japonica)
Common snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
Coral bells (Heuchera sanguinea)
Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
Honeysuckle fuchsia (Fuchsia triphylla)
Petunias (Petunia spp.)
Roses (Rosa spp.)
Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius)
Zinnias (Zinnia spp.) 

More cat-friendly landscaping advice

You’ve cleared your home and landscape of poisonous plants, so now what? There are still the issues of keeping your cat happy and, most importantly, out of trouble.

For tips on how to turn your backyard into a feline fantasy, see our Landscaping Ideas for Cat Lovers. On the flipside, if you want to keep your kitty (and others around the neighborhood) from pillaging your prized plants, learn How to Keep Cats Out of Your Yard and Garden.  

While you’re thinking about your landscape, how’s the lawn looking? Lawn Love’s local lawn care pros can keep your yard in tip-top shape with lawn mowing, weeding, fertilization, yard cleanups, and more…the only thing they can’t do is make your cat actually listen to you. 

Main Photo Credit: miezekieze | Pixabay

Jordan Ardoin

Jordan Ardoin is a writer and indoor plant enthusiast hailing from Florida. In her spare time, she enjoys chasing her two cats around the house and trying to keep her houseplants alive.