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12 Toxic Plants That Cat Owners Should Not Keep in Their Home

Ally Hirschlag is a producer/actor/writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY and buys way too many toys for her cats. She contributes to several publications, including Bustle, and The Nerve, and enjoys writing about all things woman. In her spar...

Those flowers you have on the counter are pretty, but could they poison your cat?

 

7. Sago palm

This long-leafed, tree-like plant is extremely poisonous to cats. It used to be mainly an outdoor plant, but now it’s often found on indoor window sills. While the seeds and pods are the most poisonous, any bite can cause bloody vomiting and diarrhea, bleeding disorders, liver failure and death. This is definitely worthy of an emergency vet trip.

8. Azaleas/rhododendrons

Even just a few leaves can result in oral irritation, vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, ingestion can cause a drop in blood pressure, coma and death, so you’ll want to at least give your vet a call if you notice symptoms.

9. Kalanchoe

Also known as the “mother-in-law plant,” this common indoor plant has a bunch of small, very dense flowers and is thus super-tempting to cats. However, if a cat eats any part of it, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea. In rare cases, heart arrhythmias can occur, so while not a dire emergency, a vet appointment should be made to assess the situation.

10. Marijuana

While you might think it would be funny to get a cat high, ingestion of cannabis can cause a whole host of problems. It will affect the nervous system and your pet’s coordination, then cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased heart rate, seizures and could even put it in a coma.

If you suspect he/she ate even one bud, get him/her to your vet pronto.

11. Aloe vera

It may cure your burns, but it’ll set your cat back significantly. Symptoms of ingestion include vomiting, depression, diarrhea, seizures, change in urine color and can even cause anorexia (for real). Again, not life-threatening, but the side effects if left untreated could severely affect your pet’s quality of life, so call your vet.

12. Ivy (all forms)

This is certainly relevant if you have an outdoor cat. Symptoms of ingestion include vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation and diarrhea. Not fatal but certainly distressing. Make sure your pet gets lots of fluids if it eats any of the ivy leaves especially, and keep an eye out for worsening symptoms.

What to expect from your vet

Obviously, a vet will want to know what your cat ate that made it sick. If you’re not sure, take pictures of the plants in your house and any nearby that are on this list to help your vet narrow it down. If your cat ingested a toxic plant but the symptoms are not life-threatening, she/he may suggest inducing vomit at home via charcoal tablets, so it’s a good idea to have some on hand for emergencies. However, even if you suspect a poisoning, don’t just go for the charcoal without contacting your vet first.

If your cat ingests something more toxic, like lilies, your vet will most likely put it on intravenous fluids for a few days to flush out the toxins. If you don’t have a vet on hand, call the ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency poison hotline number at 1-888-426-4435 for help.

More: What You Don't Know About Dog/Cat Obesity Could Kill Your Furry Friend

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