10 Plants, Shrubs and Trees Toxic To Cats

Cats that love to eat and be a little mischievous at times, may find it challenging living with a plant-obsessed human. Although there are many plants that cats can happily munch on, there are also some that can be toxic to them. Sometimes these plants can give us a clue and tend to have fairly obvious visual warnings, such as being brightly coloured and having an inedible appearance. However, there are also some slightly more subtle indicators to watch out for when determining whether or not a plant is safe for your cat.

Cats generally have lithe and agile bodies. Their senses of sight, hearing, and smell are also much sharper than ours. Given this, we must realise that they would make excellent climbers… scrambling up trees and other unanticipated surfaces. This makes them extremely susceptible to any toxic plants they might find hidden in the greenery of their home or garden!

Cat sitting next to a broken plant pot

A List of 10 Common Toxic Plants, Shrubs and Trees That Are Harmful To Cats

1. Azalea

The toxic part of Azaleas is called Grayantoxin. This toxin affects their body’s sodium channels which in turn will then affect the muscle tissue of the heart and skeletal muscles.
All parts of the plant are poisonous and even small volumes can cause symptoms to develop. Your Cat only needs to ingest 0.2% of their body weight to become ill.

2. Philodendron

The philodendron is a family, which includes Swiss cheese plant, heartleaf and fiddle-leaf philodendron. These beautiful plants are toxic to both Cats and Dogs alike.

3. Golden Chain

(Laburnum) Golden Chain, also known as Laburnum, is not a plant but a flowering tree that is primarily found in the UK. Although this does not fall into the realms of houseplant its popularity in the UK makes it worth a mention.

The tree can grow up to ten metres and produces golden flowers in the summertime. It’s toxic for cats because it contains two chemicals called laburnine and cytisine which cause vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and breathing difficulties.

4. Oleander

Oleander is a lush evergreen shrub that many people grow in their gardens. It’s exceptionally poisonous to cats, with just one leaf being enough to kill them. The leaves are green or pink but can also be variegated with white. In case you don’t know, oleander is the plant responsible for killing poor Cleo in the movie ‘The Little Rascals’!

5. Easter Lily

The Easter lily is a prime example of a toxic plant. These plants are often mistaken as being safe to eat by cats because they’re often used in homes and gardens. However, the Easter lily is actually highly poisonous to felines. This can be an especially fatal mistake if your cat decides to make the plant their new chew toy! The Easter lily contains oxalic acid which can be highly toxic for cats. 

6. Dumb Cane

The Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia) is a houseplant that has been known to cause swelling of the tongue and throat in cats. The cat will usually cough, drool, and refuse to eat or drink.

7. Sumac

One of the most dangerous plants to cats is the sumac. The bark of a sumac tree might seem like a good place for your cat to scratch and sharpen their claws, but it’s actually toxic to them. The leaves of the sumac are bright red, making it easy to spot from a distance. When the leaves are dry, they can release a toxin that is harmful to your cat if ingested. It’s best to avoid this plant entirely if you have a cat and live in an area where it grows wild.

8. Rhubarb

Rhubarb contains oxalic acid that is irritant to the mouth and stomach. For a cat, this can cause oral irritation and gastrointestinal upset. If a cat consumes rhubarb, he or she may have difficulty swallowing or experience drooling.

9. Aloe Vera

Although we have long considered Aloe Vera a friendly medicinal plant for humans, aloe vera is very toxic to Cats, causing anything from Vomiting, diarrhoea to anorexia, tremors and a change in urine colour. 

10. Foxglove

Finally we come to Foxglove this stunning plant with its trumpet-like blossoms, are incredibly poisonous to cats. Foxglove contains naturally-occurring poisons that affect the heart. So make sure you keep them away from our treasured kitty companions.

Final Thoughts on Toxic Plants For Cats..


Although this list has hopefully given you an insight into which plants, shrubs and even trees your Cat should avoid, please remember that this is still only the tip of a very toxic iceberg and that further research is highly recommended before you begin decorating, planting around your home.

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