Which Tropical House Plant Is Poison for Cats?

Oh, the struggles of being both a plant and cat parent! Not only do you have to protect your plant from your cat, but there are also some plants from which you must protect your cat.

Nothing makes us more upset than a knocked-over planter or an ill kitty. You may think there are some plants you can’t keep in your home. Never fear. We’ll help you cat-proof your plants too!

Why Do Cats Eat Plants?

Cats are supposed to be hypercarnivorous, right? They can survive on meat alone. If that’s the case, why do they eat plants so often? 

There would be no problem if some plants weren’t lethally dangerous for them to consume. 

Lilies are especially dangerous tropical flowers. All parts of the lily are poisonous. So why would they try to chew on something when they don’t need to? We have a few ideas:


Cats might want to enjoy some plants to boost their diet with micronutrients like a supplement.


Cats might enjoy the texture of something different. Perhaps they want to feel the fiber in their mouth. 

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Cats are famously curious creatures. They will try everything at least once. 


Cats are impressive predators. Sitting at home all day and not using their instincts makes them bored, which can bring out strange behavior in cats. 

Why Some Tropical Plants Are Poison for Cats?

Plants do not have the luxury of moving away from a predator. Since plants must protect themselves without moving, they have adapted fascinating solutions. Some plants have thorns, while others are poisonous to ingest. 

Plants that are toxic to our cats have toxins in them. The toxins from the leaves, stem, pollen, stamen, or flower trigger the poison response from the cat. 

Do Toxic Plants Kill Your Cat?

Some incredibly poisonous plants can kill your precious kitty even if ingested in a small amount. Other plants cause diarrhea and vomiting normally when ingested.  The ASPCA has a complete plant list on its website to help you identify if a plant is toxic or not. It is advisable to use this free resource whenever getting a new plant.

For example, peace lilies have been known to cause significant damage to the kidneys. If left unchecked, they can cause kidney failure in eighteen hours. You must steer clear of the lethal plants. Otherwise, there are solutions for the rest, which cause a little gastral discomfort. 

How to Cat-Proof Toxic Plants

There are some plants you must have. We understand it would cause too much pain to deny yourself. If only there were a way you could have the best of both worlds. Create a safe environment for both your little jungle and your little cat. 

Look no further we are about to share how to cat-proof your plants with you! Here’s what you need to do:

Know the toxic part

If you purchase a plant, you should have done ample research on it anyway. However, now you can add the step of understanding the toxic substance it contains and where it lies. Is it a protein, amino acid, alkaloid, or glycoside? Is the chemical found in the leaves, flowers, pollen, or the whole plant? 

Knowing which specific part of the plant is toxic helps make sure that your cat isn’t exposed to that part of the plant. For example, when the pollen is toxic, the whole room is an anti-cat zone. That is because the pollen gets stuck to their fur and can bother the cat even if they only lick themselves clean. 

Cat Free Zone

Having every little cat-free zone in their house seems impossible for some people. Whether it’s a space or discipline issue, this is a tough solution. 

However, there are many benefits other than keeping your cat safe. The cat-free zone can house the good sofas you don’t want to turn into scratch posts. You can socialize with people allergic to cats in a room that’s never been exposed to cat dander or hair.

Cat-free zones should preferably be closed off easily from others by a door. If the area doesn’t have a door, you can install a barrier to keep them away, like a pet gate. 


If you cannot seal off an area to your cat, you can try having that plant inside a terrarium. A terrarium is a sealable glass vessel to hold your plant. You can place them on a shelf or hang them up. 

The perfect solution for nonflowering toxic plants since you do not need to worry about pollen or stamens. Just like a cat cannot get inside a sealed jar of kitty biscuits, it won’t be able to get inside your beautiful terrarium.

Not only is it the ultimate kitty-proofing solution, but it also looks stunning. Terrariums are great opportunities for how well you layer your soil mix. 

Hang It High

While you could get away with placing terrariums on the coffee table or a low shelf, the same cannot be said about normal planters. If you know how high your cat can reach, try hanging a pot higher than that. 

This is an excellent idea for creeping plants since their foliage can grow downwards and be admired from lower angles. If you think there is nowhere your cat cannot reach, do not despair.

You can use your floor lava skills to figure out how to reduce its reach. Maybe moving a table a little or a bookshelf might do the trick. 

Sacrificial Plant

To ensure your cats leave the vomit-inducing plants alone, you can place a sacrificial plant for them to chew on. A sacrificial plant would be considered completely safe for cats to consume. 

You could buy some cat grass from the pet store or you could plant some cat nip for your kitty to enjoy and leave the rest of your collection alone. 

Swap It Out

Some plants are just lethal. There is no way around it. They shouldn’t have a place in your home. However, who said you could not invite their good twins to the party? You can always place alternative plants in their stead for a similar aesthetic effect. 

For example, you can replace peace lilies with white orchids. We think they are prettier and super easy to care for.

What to do If Your Cat Eats Some Poisonous Plant?

You need to move fast if your cat ate some poisonous plant material. First, not the time of the ingestion and prevent them from eating more of the plant. Keep your eyes open for these signs so that you can inform your vet:

  • retching
  • runny stool
  • jerking
  • fits
  • breathing problems
  • collapse
  • extreme lethargy or coma
  • shock
  • excessive salivation

Take your kitty to the vet even if it seems fine. If it vomits, bring along a sample to help the vet. Never try to induce your cat into vomiting yourself. You will only cause your kitty pain.

List of Toxic Plants for Cats

Let’s go over a list of toxic houseplants for your cat. We shall also cover how to identify them so you do not accidentally purchase them. 


All lilies, including true lilies and daylilies, are extremely toxic to cats. Canna lilies are the only exception. However, unless you are an expert at identifying plants, stay away from lilies. The toxic factor of lilies that only affects cats remains unknown. It has no significant effect on dogs or humans. 

Lilies are lethal for cats. Each part of the flower is a hazard. The ingestion of lilies can cause permanent kidney damage or kidney failure. 

Take your cat to the vet immediately if you suspect they ate lilies because the sooner treatment starts, the better their prognosis. If left unchecked for eighteen hours, you can guarantee kidney failure. Here is a list of features to help you identify lilies:

  • Three petals
  • three sepals
  • six stamens
  • one pistol in the center with three merged parts

You can check this table for the most toxic lilies:

Asiatic lilyLilium asiaticum
DaylilyHemerocallis species
Easter lily  Lilium longiflorum
Stargazer lilyLilium ‘Stargazer’
Wood lily  Lilium tigrinum or lancifolium

Lily of the Valley

Desired for the sweet smell of their white pendant bell flowers, the lily of the valley is a really popular house plant. This plant is toxic to humans along with cats. All parts of the plant are toxic, including its red berries. 

There are over thirty cardiac glycosides in this plant that affect the rhythm of the heart. 


The beautiful, cheerfully yellow flower is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. Lycorine and other alkaloids are the toxins responsible for this. They exist in its bulb the most.  

Its symptoms include:

  • throwing up
  • salvation
  • runny stool
  • large ingestions cause seizures
  • low blood pressure
  • body tremors
  • heart arrhythmias. 


This beautiful flowering bulb is the perfect winter companion for those who will not be stroking their cats in front of the fire. Similar to Daffodils, it has the toxic alkaloid lycorine in it. 

The poison exists in the bulb primality, stem, and leaves. Here are some features to help you identify amaryllis blooms:

  • Two feet long strappy green leaves
  • one to ten flowers on leafless stalks. 
  • Large funnel-shaped flowers with six merged petals


The beautiful queen of fall flowers is toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. It contains toxic chemicals, including sesquiterpene, lactones, pyrethrins, and more.

To identify chrysanthemums, look closely at the leaves. They protrude from the stem in an alternating pattern, unlike the parallel pattern seen in most plants. They have both disk and ray flower heads. 

Symptoms of consumption include vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, incoordination, and dermatitis.


Following the pattern, most bulbous flowers are poisonous to cats, including tulips. They contain the toxins Tulipalin A and B. They have the highest concentration of toxins in any bulb. That means they are more toxic than amaryllis or daffodils. 

Tulips mean perfect love when gifted to someone. However, if someone gifts them to you, potted or as cut flowers, knowing you have a cat, their love probably isn’t perfect. 

Here are some features to help you identify tulips:

  • Two or Three thick bluish-green leaves at the base of the plant
  • Three petals
  • Three sepals
  • sic free stamens 
  • three-lobed stigma


Dumbcane, or the tropic snow, is a tropical flowering plant that is toxic to both dogs and cats. Its leaves contain insoluble calcium oxalates and proteolytic enzymes, which make your cat’s mouth burn along with other common poison symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • excessive drooling 
  • lethargy

Dumbcanes are usually planted for their identifiable foliage. It has lush yellow-white leaves edged in deep dark bluish-green. The mix of yellow and green foliage makes it an incredibly popular houseplant. Since the whole thing is covered in calcium oxalate crystals, keep it in your cat and kid-free zone. 

Moss rose

Moss rose is an adorable flowering plant with succulent leaves and stems. It contains soluble calcium oxalates, making it toxic for dogs, cats, and horses. 

This drought and the heat-resistant small colorful flowering plant are known to cause rare cases of kidney failure. It is a definite no in your home. Unless perhaps in a sealed terrarium that is 100% inaccessible to your cat. 

Wrapping up

Lilies, Tropical Plants, and bulbous flowers are toxic for your little kitty cats. Even though you can protect your cat from mildly toxic plants, plants like lilies, tulips, and dumbcanes can’t be in the house. Not in planters nor otherwise. 

If your cat ate something toxic, call the ASPCA poison control helpline en route to the vet hospital. Please do not attempt drastic physical therapies like inducing vomiting or stomach pumping on your own.

We hope this article helps you so your little wildcat can roam your little jungle safely. It takes a little compromise, but being a plant and cat parent together is not only possible but incredibly rewarding. 

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