Poisonous Plants for Cats – What to Avoid

Flowers and plants are often used to bring added life into homes. As all cat owners know, cats love to climb, explore and chew on plants – but did you know some plants are toxic to cats? If you want to keep plants in your home, it’s important to know which are poisonous to your furry family member.

According to Pet MD, some common plants toxic to cats are:

  • Amaryllis
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Azaleas and Rhododendrons
  • Castor Bean
  • Crysanthemum
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodils, Narcissus
  • Dieffenbachia
  • English Ivy
  • Hyacinth
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lily
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Oleander
  • Peace Lily
  • Pothos, Devil’s Ivy
  • Sago Palm
  • Spanish Thyme
  • Tulip
  • Yew

Toxic doses vary greatly from plant to plant. Depending on the case, ingesting a small amount of a poisonous plants can have tragic results, while others may need to be exposed to large amounts before symptoms develop.

Many toxic plants result in inflammations or irritation. Because of this, the most common symptoms of poisonous plant ingestion are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing/drooling
  • Irregular heart beat

The best way to protect your cat from poisonous plants is by keeping them indoors, removing such plants from your home or by closely supervising your cat when exploring the great outdoors.

If you suspect your cat has ingested a poisonous plant call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661 or Animal Poison Control at 1-888-426-4435.


Antifreeze ingredient is behind new pet food recall.

Another good reason to shop at the Barkery: None of our treats or foods contain propylene glycol. 


Recently a brand of commercially available cat treats from Blue Buffalo found to contain low levels of propylene glycol was recalled by the manufacturer.

You may have heard of propylene glycol, but many people don’t really know what it is. It’s normally associated with this and this.  According to the Pet Poison Helpline:

“Propylene glycol is one of the least toxic glycols. It is a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water and is used by the chemical, food, and pharmaceutical industries for a wide variety of reasons.

Like ethylene glycol, propylene glycol may be used as an antifreeze and can be found in high concentrations in RV and ‘pet safe’ antifreezes.

Since it has a wider margin of safety as compared to its chemical cousin, ethylene glycol, it is commonly used to absorb extra water and maintain moisture in certain medicines, cosmetics, or dog and human food products and is categorized by the FDA as a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) substance for this use.

It is also used as a solvent for food colors, flavors and pharmaceuticals (i.e. injectable diazepam). Cats are particularly sensitive to PG and its use is not allowed in cat foods.

Historically, some semi-moist cat foods contained up to 5 to 10% PG and cats were harmed by this (Heinz body formation).

If cats or dogs ingest large amounts of propylene glycol, poisoning can occur. This is most commonly seen when pets ingest liquid propylene glycol products.”

I’ve mentioned propylene glycol in several articles as being one of the ingredients to avoid in your dog’s or cat’s commercial pet food. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned its use in cat food.

Unfortunately, it is still found in many processed dog foods, and is high on the ingredient list in some products, including all formulations of Nestlé Purina’s popular Beneful brand.

Why Propylene Glycol Is so Dangerous for Cats

Cats, with their unique physiology, are extremely sensitive to many substances other animals are not. In the case of propylene glycol, just a small amount can cause Heinz body hemolytic anemia, a condition in which red blood cells are destroyed.

Symptoms of the condition include:

Discolored urine (reddish-brown)
Sudden weakness
Pale mucus membranes
Loss of appetite
Skin discoloration
Heinz body hemolytic anemia can also be caused by ingestion of other substances toxic to cats, including onions, garlic, kale, turnips, zinc, acetaminophen, vitamin K, and benzocaine.

The condition can also be the result of an inherited disorder, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism.

Treatment of Heinz body hemolytic anemia involves addressing the underlying cause. If a kitty has very serious anemia, she will need to be hospitalized to receive life-saving care.