Whether you’re a city dweller, a year-round Hamptonite, or a mountain devotee, cats are one of the favorite pets of New Yorkers. But you might not know that there are dangers to your cat in some surprising places. Plants that are deathly toxic to cats may be perfectly harmless to humans. These plants
Common New York plants that are toxic to cats
You may be surprised by these common plants that are toxic to cats. This list provides a sampling of the most dangerous plants that your cat might come across in New York, either outside in your yard, in your garden, or even in your home.
- Sago Palm
While all parts of this plant are dangerous for cats, the seeds contain the most toxin. Ingestion of even one or two seeds can cause serious symptoms ranging from depression to vomiting, seizures, and liver failure.
- All varieties of lily
All varieties of lily are toxic to cats, and most varieties can cause kidney damage and even death. Lilies should not be kept in or near your home if you have a cat, as even accidental ingestion of pollen can cause serious health problems.
All parts of the oleander plant contain toxic cardiac glycosides that can cause abnormal heart function, hypothermia, and death in cats.
- Skunk cabbage plant
Just a few bites of this plant can cause your cat’s mouth to burn and swell up and make it difficult for them to swallow. Ingestion of larger amounts can be fatal.
Ingestion of marijuana can cause seizures, vomiting, and coma in cats. Drooling and coordination problems are a sign of toxicity from ingestion of this plant.
The bulb of the tulip is extremely dangerous to cats and can cause severe GI distress, convulsions, and heart problems.
Yew contains a toxin called taxine that affects your cat’s central nervous system. It can cause difficulty with breathing and coordination and ultimately cardiac failure, as well as GI upset.
While many other plants can be toxic to cats, these plants are truly dangerous. Eating only a bite or two, or in some cases simply grooming themselves after getting pollen on their fur, can be life-threatening. This is not a comprehensive list. You should always check the safety of plants you buy or grow in or around your home, and keep an eye out for wild plants in places your cat spends time.
What you can do to avoid contact with toxic plants
Cat owners often don’t consider the impact that decorative flowers and plants have on their furry companions. There are several precautions you can take to protect your cats from contact with toxic items.
- Be aware around holidays.
Common holiday floral arrangements can include plants that range from mildly toxic to fatal for cats. Especially in the city or in houses that aren’t big on gardening, unsuspecting cat owners may receive these floral arrangements as a gift and not think twice about their potential toxicity. Keep a list handy around the holidays with pictures of common toxic plants so you can refer to it.
- Research household plants.
While plants can be a nice addition to your home, providing color and oxygenating the air, many household plants are toxic to cats. Common plants such as ferns and certain windowsill herbs should be kept in a room away from cats or kept out of the home altogether.
- Keep an eye on your cat.
Monitor your cat and don’t overlook symptoms of poisoning. Your cat may not be interested in ingesting plants or flowers. However, if their fur or paws come into contact with one of these plant items they may ingest it accidentally while grooming themselves.
Choose plants for your home and garden that are known to be safe for cats. Some of the most popular cat-friendly plants include the spider plant, African violet, and the Boston fern.
Signs and symptoms your cat has been in contact with toxic plants
If you spot one or several of these signs in your cat they may have come into contact with or ingested a toxic plant substance. Keep in mind that all cats may not react the same way. Symptoms may occur right away or may take up to three to four days to show up following contact with the poisonous plant.
- Twitching or seizures
- Drooling, foaming, or salivating
- Irritation of the skin or eyes
- Irregular heartbeat
- Appetite Loss
More severe cases of poisoning can result in pain, breathing failure, kidney failure, and even death.
When to call poison control
If you suspect your cat has come into contact with a poisonous substance or plant, call poison control immediately and then follow up with an online vet. If you know that your cat has ingested a toxic plant, do not delay seeking help until after the symptoms become severe. Ingestion or contact with certain toxic plants can be life-threatening to cats. Seek emergency care. Vetster is available 24/7 in New York for cat owners who need medical advice for their feline friends.