5 Toxic holiday plants to avoid when you have cats
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.
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.
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.
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.
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14 CommentsLeave a comment
Thanks for this important reminder.
The Island Cats recently posted…5 Things to Donate to Your Animal Shelter this Holiday Season
It is always important to share plants that are toxic to cats throughout the year and I am happy that you did so at the holidays! Shared!
Yes so important to know! There’s always that one person who’s cat’s life will be saved for having read it.
My sister’s kitty died ‘mysteriously’ and when I probed further I found out that her husband always bought her Easter lilies because she liked them. It was very very sad. My sister didn’t know at the time of its lethal toxins.
Great reminder ! That’s such important information ! Purrs
Very important info for cat parents to know!
Three Chatty Cats recently posted…Our Trip to the Vet #sundayswithsophie
Yes, those things are bad news and thanks for reminding everyone to pay attention!
Brian Frum recently posted…Tabby Tuesday: Tippy Tree Topping Is Pretty Fun
Excellent post, very important information especially at this time of year.
Ellen Pilch recently posted…#ChewyInfluencer
They should really give advice on how to care for animals and warning of what’s dangerous when selling an animal or giving away for adoption. They just hand you the cat/dog, and that’s it.
When I first bought my cats, I didn’t know you’re supposed to change their food gradually. This isn’t a problem with the feral cats I’ve got now, but is with more pure bred cats. They don’t tell you about fleas, about having their teeth cleaned, and they don’t tell you what foods/plants are poisonous or toxic.
Felines are superior recently posted…Is your cat a Russian spy
A very good reminder. All lovely plants, but we avoid them in our house.
Yes, that’s the safest thing to do
Great reminders. Dogs have issues too. We have holly bushes out front that were here when we moved here and we’ve decorated with holly in the front yard, but the dogs don’t play out there much so they’ve been safe from them.
So true most plants that are toxic to cats are toxic to dogs, bot all but most. Like Caren said above, we cannot share this info enough with all pet parents out there!
Excellent information to remember, especially for those situations where a plant is gifted to you. Years ago, as I left a party, a poinsettia was forcibly thrust upon me. I didn’t even try to explain that I had cats at home. I just dumped the thing in the trash on my way into my apartment.
There are other beautiful alternatives to the traditional plants, but they don’t sell them in the stores at this time of year. So yes, it’s best to just avoid them or get artificial ones.https://www.chirpycats.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-form