If you have pets at home, it’s important to be aware of which plants can cause problems if they eat them. We are going to talk about some of the most common houseplants that are toxic to your cats and which ones they are most attracted to eat.
There are plants that appeal to cats more than others because of their leaf shape (usually soft long pointy leaves that are easy to chew) and I will point those out as I list them.
It’s probably easier to do a non-toxic plant list, as most of houseplants are toxic – some less than others, but still toxic.
All plants listed here are considered to be toxic by the ASPCA and can cause oral irritation and vomiting along with other symptoms.
Cats & plants
There are different cats.. some may not be at all interested in plants, some may like to play with them, some may want to eat them, some only like to play with dirt etc.
If your cat likes plants and it’s often around them – research which of the plants you have in your home are toxic. If you notice they like a certain plant, be sure to place the plant out of their reach.
I have two cats and they reaaaly like to eat fresh grass (they’re really obsessed with it, it’s like a treat for them) and I noticed that when they want to nibble on some plants, they are actually craving grass. So, I go outside and pick a handful of grass from my garden. They eat it like crazy!
When I have grass indoors, they only eat the grass, but when the grass is gone they start searching for other “green stuff” to eat. That’s why it’s good to have grass growing in your home, especially if you have a cat that doesn’t go outside. Dogs eat grass outside when they need it, but when it comes to indoor cats – we need to “bring grass indoors”. You can read more about this in How I stopped my cats from eating houseplants.
Now, lets jump to the list of toxic plants that are most commonly found in our homes.
most common TOXIC houseplants
I want to start off with Dracena because that’s the one my cats especially like. One of the most common varieties we have at home are Dracena Marginata, Dracena Massangeana and Dracena Janet Lind. Plants from the Dracena family are toxic to pets.
While my pets don’t pay particular attention to my Dracena Janet Lind (they just occasionally play with it by tapping its leaves), they like the Dracena Marginata. Oh boy, do they like it.
Fortunately, I haven’t noticed any discomfort in my pets because of eating a few leaf tips, so it probably takes more to cause an intestinal problem. But either way, knowing that its toxic I moved it around until I found a spot where they can’t reach the leaves.
2. Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)
Peace Lily is a beautiful flowering indoor plant known to clean the air in our homes.
Turns out, Peace Lilies also have appealing leaves. I saw one of my cat nibbling on its leaves. So, since they’re also one of the toxic plants, I have placed them out of reach.
One of the most common houseplant is definitively the Monstera Deliciosa. While Monstera Deliciosa’s leaves are not at all appealing to my pets, do you know what they like? Those young, not yet unfurled leaves. So if you have a Monstera Deliciosa within close reach to your pet, watch out for that baby leaves.
Next to Monstera Deliciosa, one other Monstera that’s getting more and more popular is the Monstera Adansonii. Here’s the same story – I noticed my cat tried to eat its unfurled leaves so I placed it out of reach immediately.
When it comes to the Ficus family, the most common representatives are the F. Benjamin, F. Lyrata (aka Fiddle leaf fig) and F. Elastica (aka Rubber tree). All these plants are poisonous. I found that my cats are not interested in the Rubber tree and Fiddle leaf fig. They just don’t have appealing leaves to eat, apparently.
On the other hand, I found that the Ficus Benjamin has appealing branches. Your cat may not want to chew it, but it is one of the plants I like to keep an eye on.
Philodendron comes in all shapes and sizes – with small, medium and big leaves, with a bushy look or long vines, and all are toxic.
The snake plant is also on our list of poisonous houseplants. Fortunately, my cats don’t seem to be attracted to any type of snake plant. But as with any other houseplant, if you notice that your cat would want to chew it – place it out of their reach.
7. ZZ plant
The ZZ plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia) is also really poisonous. Somehow I got the impression that the ZZ plant is so toxic that, even though my pets don’t seem interested in it at all, I placed it out of their reach so I don’t ever need to worry about it.
I had it on the floor for some time, and they would just pass by the plant, but for some reason I just want to be sure they could never ever eat any part of the plant.
Syngonium is also toxic to pets.
Since my Syngonium has been laying down on a shelf since I got it, my pets actually never encountered it.
Schefflera is also one of the toxic ones. All parts of the plant are poisonous.
Its sap can cause irritation to your skin. So, along with your pet, you too should be careful while handling a Schefflera. Because of that it’s advisable that you wear gloves while pruning it or taking cuttings.
Lastly, one of the most common plants that has only one downside to it – it’s also toxic for your pets if they ingest it. All types of Epipremnum are toxic, and all types of Scindapsus also. Since it can get really long vines, it could become a playful plant, right? So it’s good to keep an eye on it.
Additional poisonous plants I NEED to point out
There are two more plants I really want to point out. They may not be that common to have indoors, but they may find a way into your house. I’m talking about Lilies and Sago palm, and both are extremely toxic to cats.
Most palms that are commonly grown indoors are not toxic to cats, like the Areca palm and Ponytail palm, but the Sago palm is really toxic, it can even cause death. I don’t have it in my house and even if my cats wouldn’t be attracted to it, I still wouldn’t have it!
Lilies are also really toxic to cats. They may not be commonly grown indoors, but they are a really common cut flower that you can easily receive as a gift. So, just be aware of its toxicity if you have a cat at home.