Plants that are poisonous to cats

Posted by Nurse Whiskers. October 4th 2013.

Cats can be very mysterious creatures so keeping them safe can be a tricky job. When it comes to cats being poisoned it can be difficult to find out what it is that they have had to eat or drink.

Luckily cats are fairly discerning eaters; however remember the rhyme curiosity killed the cat – meaning that they are still at risk of poisoning themselves. Cats are also keen groomers and can swallow poisons licked off their coats.

Knowing as much as you can about what is poisonous to your cat is important if you notice your cat starting to feel ill.

Cats like to roam around outside and if you live in a rural area they can be at risk of being poisoned by some kinds of plants.

Plant types that are poisonous to cats:

1.    Lily
2.    Foxglove
3.    Cyclamen
4.    Mistletoe
5.    Azalea

The above plants, and many others, if digested or absorbed in sufficient amounts, can cause organ failure and death in a cat, so it’s important that you are aware of this and keep your pet as protected as possible.

tabby cat

How to prevent poisoning in the house and in the garden

  • Keep house plants (especially lilies) and cut flowers out of reach.It is often the pollen they are sensitive to, so, if you have any in the house, consider removing pollen from the flowers. Cats will often sit on a windowsill next to bouquets and pollen can fall on their coat. They then groom the pollen off their coat, hence, swallowing it. Better still remove lilies from the bouquet or bunch.
  • Store all pesticides or garden chemicals in a safe place, out of reach of pets.Remember when using these products in the garden that your cat may walk over areas used and swallow when grooming.
  • Restrict access to areas of the garden where slug pellets or rodent baits/poisons have been used.
  • Do not leave buckets or watering cans around, which contain mixed chemicals.
  • Try to choose plants for the garden that are not poisonous to your pet.
  •  Ultimately making sure that you do not have these plants in your garden or in vases in your house is a sure way of reducing the risk of your cat becoming poisoned.

What to do if you think your cat has come into contact with a poisonous plant

  • Unfortunately we cannot protect our pets from everything, so if you think that your cat has been poisoned try to remember these helpful tips.
  • Try not to panic, few poisons act rapidly, and there are very few fatalities.
  • Remove the animal from the source of poison and prevent other animals gaining access.
  • If the pet’s fur is contaminated prevent them from grooming themselves. Wash the area thoroughly with water and a mild shampoo. Wear gloves if necessary. If the product is oil-based then apply the shampoo to dry hair before rinsing off with fresh water. Purchasing an Elizabethan collar from a good pet shop can prevent further licking until the coat is contaminant free.
  • If you have Argos Pet Insurance phone Argos vetfone, our Freephone 24hr hotline, for advice and be ready to provide essential information such as: when, where and how the poisoning occurred. What substance is involved?
  • Do not try to make your animal vomit, unless instructed to by a vet.
  • Veterinary  advice must be sought in all cases of suspected poisoning, especially if your cat’s condition has deteriorated.
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