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5 Toxic holiday plants to avoid when you have cats

Cats and toxic holiday plants to avoid

Last updated February 24th, 2018

Holidays are upon us and with so much going on we may forget that sometimes the things we bring into our homes may be harmful to our pets. Decorative ornaments, tinsel, needles from live Christmas trees and of course the popular holiday plants.

This is a guest post from Pedro, Editor-in-Chief at We’re All About Cats

Holidays are here and you’re most likely decorating your home with plants to get your whole family in a festive mood. Cats are naturally curious pets and might want to sample new houseplants by eating, licking or rubbing against them. However, some of these holiday plants can be toxic to felines and it’s therefore important for pet owners to be aware of which plants are on the toxic list. The toxicity effects usually range from mild to severe, depending on the type of the plant and the amount of the plant consumed. To familiarize yourself with holiday plants that are harmful to cats, we list the most common ones to beware of, so that your curious feline friend will stay safe.

1. Poinsettia

Poinsettia is the most widely recognized holiday plant. However, this brightly colored traditional plant is toxic to cats. Poinsettia’s sap is mildly toxic and irritating to felines. Although ingestion of Poinsettias is not life-threatening to cats, it may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea when the cat licks or ingests the plant.

2. Mistletoe and Holly

If you wanted to decorate your doorway with Holly and Mistletoe during the holiday season, then you’re better off using the artificial plant. Holly and Mistletoe plants together with their berries are very toxic to cats. When cats consume small quantities of their berries or leaves, they may experience excessive drooling, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pains. Ingesting large quantities of these plants can lead to cardiovascular failure.

3. Lilies

There are many species of the lily plant i.e. Day Lily, Easter Lily, Tiger Lily, Lily of the Valley, Calla Lilly among others. Although all these species of lilies are beautiful decorative holiday plants, they are very harmful to our feline friends. In fact if a cat ingests as little as two leaves of lilies, it can die within hours if it doesn’t receive treatment immediately. Common effects of lilies in cats include loss of appetite, dehydration, increased urination, drooling and vomiting.

4. Amaryllis

Amaryllis, also known as Cape Belladonna, St. Joseph Lily or Naked Lady is one of the most loved and desirable holiday plants because of its bulb which usually grows into a tall, beautiful flower. However, the presence of Lycorine chemical in the plant makes it very toxic for cats. If a cat ingests the leaves of Amaryllis, Lycorine together with other toxic components can lead to excessive salivation, tremors, lethargy and Gastrointestinal abnormalities such as abdominal pains, decreased appetite, diarrhea and vomiting. The Amaryllis bulb is reputed to be the most poisonous part of the Amaryllis.

5. English Ivy

Also known as Sweetheart Ivy, English Ivy is a common holiday plant that is toxic to cats if eaten. The plant contains a chemical compound known as triterpenoid saponins which have foaming characteristic when ingested leading to mouth and gastrointestinal tract irritation. Ingestion of English Ivy plant by a cat can lead to excessive salivation, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pains.

If you have a cat in your home, it’s best to stick to the artificial versions of these plants that are just as beautiful as the natural ones. By avoiding these dangerous holiday plants, you will ensure that your cat also enjoys a happy and healthy holiday season.

Hop over to We’re All About Cats and show Pedro and his family some love! And be sure to like their Facebook Page!

Pedro from We're all about cats

Pedro, Editor-In-Chief at We’re All About Cats

About the author

Chirpy Cats

We are a clowder of cheeky chirpy felines sharing our space with two humans who adore us. We love to share tips on helping cats live enriched lives with their people and other fun cat stuff.


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