Holiday Alert: Watch Out For Plants Poisonous to Your Cat

Rags by Christmas Tree Copyright

With the ever-present excitement of the upcoming holidays, it’s easy to forget that this time of the year can be dangerous for cats. This is because some of the plants used for holiday decorations are poisonous to felines. This is why we need to be particularly careful in selecting flowers and the like.

What follows is a list of plants you should not keep around your house if you own cats:

  • Holly (and Rosemary) – These plants can cause extreme gastrointestinal upset, drooling, lip smacking, and continuous head shaking (which can lead to further injury due to the spines of these plants). Allergic to both cats and dogs.
  • Lilies – Gorgeous flowers, but if your kitty were to take a couple of bites, he may experience acute kidney failure, which can result in death.
  • Mistletoe – Can cause gastrointestinal upset if a small amount is consumed and ataxia, seizures, hypotension, and death in higher doses.
  • Poinsettias – May lead to vomiting, drooling, and sometimes diarrhea. Poinsettias are actually less toxic to cats than most people assume.
  • Not a plant, but preservatives added to Christmas tree water. Some people use chemicals to keep their Christmas trees looking more vivid for longer. If you go this route, make sure you purchase a solution that is not toxic to animals.

Another one to watch out for is the dangers of snowglobes for cats.

No matter the cause, if your pet has been poisoned, you can call the Animal Poison Control Center at 800-213-6680 24 hours a day or visit the Pet Poison Helpline website for information on how to treat your pet.

Most of us can identify Easter lilies just by looking at them. They’re the beautiful, trumpet-shaped white ornamental flowers that are very popular this time of year. But while they may be beautiful decorations, the dangers they pose to cats make them unsuitable in homes where felines can be found. Because Easter lilies will do more than make your cat sick, they’ve been listed as part of the Top 20 Pet Toxins by the Animal Poison Control Center.

Easter lilies are, in their entirety, very poisonous to cats – the stamen, stem, petals, leaves, and pollen; all of them are very toxic to cats. And it also doesn’t matter if the plants are fresh or dried, as both forms pose a significant danger to cats. Even placing them up high or in areas that the cat “can’t reach” is ineffective because, as we all know, cats can jump, climb, and walk to just about anywhere they want to go.

Of course, cat owners can’t keep an eye on their pets at all times, so it’s important to know what danger signs to look for just in case you were unaware of the poison the plant contained. Within the first 24 hours, you might see vomiting and lethargy on the part of the cat, and they most likely won’t have an appetite.

After 24 hours, an insatiable thirst and increased urination are the most common symptoms. After this time, however, urination may stop altogether as the kidneys may start to fail.

The only answer to keeping cats safe from these plants is not allowing them in your home. However, many other plants and flowers will keep your home beautiful during the spring, and that will keep your cat healthy and happy.

Read this Ragdoll of the Week story where the owner learned a hard lesson about cats and lilies.

Read more about things that poison cats:

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Dementia Boy says:

    Thanks, Jenny. I’ve seen so many cats suffer horrible deaths from lily poisoning. Your first definitive clue is often a low temperature <100.

  2. Thecatwhisperer says:

    I had a cat 2 years ago who died from eating baby’s breath.

  3. Thecatwhisperer says:

    I had a cat 2 years ago who died from eating baby’s breath

    1. So sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing that to help others.

  4. Thanks for the great reminder, Jenny! I truly appreciate this information! 🙂 <3

  5. i found this i have a friend that grows lots of herbs and i was glad to see that none of them were on the list as toxic to cats. if i have plants, i hang them from the ceiling but that isn’t always the way either.. i had a cat that would swing from the planters and came home to 2 of them on the floor with dirt everywhere. neither were toxic though. and cats see dirt and they want to dig in it. just like with a toddler, i feel you have to keep an eye on them and make sure that anything that is dangerous to them is out of reach.

    1. ha ha about the cat that would swing from the planters!!

    2. Dementia Boy says:

      One of the great loves of my life, Puck, was a planter swinger and sitter =) I think the rubbery feel of flowering succulents felt good against his bottom.

  6. Ragdoll Mommy says:

    Actually I don’t think Rosemary is bad for cats. I have given it to my Ragdolls/cats, they are all fine. It actually can help with getting rid of fleas!

    But I’d ask your vet first. As always!

  7. Ragdoll Mommy says:

    Thanks for the heads-up there, Jenny!

    Is that Rags in the picture?

      1. Ragdoll Mommy says:

        I thought it was Caymus, but I just remembered that Caymas has a white chin, and Rags did not.

          1. Ragdoll Mommy says:

            But for the longest time, I thought Charlie was Trigg and Trigg was Charlie. Lol.

            I also thought that Rags was your first Ragdoll, but it was Skittles.

            You’re so lucky to have so many wonderful Ragdolls in your life!

            They are all handsome and I am sure some might be beautiful?

            ( I use the word “handsome” for male Ragdolls, and “beautiful” for female Ragdolls)


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