What types of plants & flowers are toxic to cats?

Plants and flowers are natural wonders that can add exceptional beauty to homes and gardens.

Green-fingered pet parents should be aware though that despite their charming, innocent-looking appearance, a wide variety of species actually pose a very significant health risk to our felines. 

Just one nibble can leave them in a world of pain, and in desperate need of immediate medical attention. 

We know your cat’s health comes first, which is why we have put together this guide listing the most common toxic plants and flowers, and what you need to do if your cat ingests one. 


15 types of plants & flowers verified as toxic to cats 


  1. Lilies. They may be beautiful to look at, but lilies are highly poisonous to cats. In fact, the entire lily plant is toxic – the stem, leaves, flowers, and pollen. Symptoms of lily toxicity include vomiting and excessive salivation.
  2. Daffodils. Daffodils are one of the most popular flowers in the UK; an unmistakable sign that spring has arrived. However, all parts of the daffodil contain a toxic chemical called lycorine, which can trigger vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain in our cats.
  3. Tulips. Another popular spring bloomer, tulips are a colourful flower that will brighten up any room. Unfortunately, they’re also dangerous to our cats, with the flowers, stem and bulb all toxic.
  4. Foxgloves. The foxglove plant produces trumpet-shaped pinkish purple flowers commonly found in woodland and gardens. All parts of the foxglove are poisonous, so if you do have an outdoor cat try to make sure they’re kept away from areas where these may be found.
  5. Irises. An iris blooming indoors will bring colour and light to any room, but it should always be kept out of reach of cats. Iris toxicity is considered mild to moderate, and if ingested can cause real discomfort.
  6. Ivy. This evergreen plant, that can thrive in cold and low light situations, is extremely toxic to felines. If eaten, it can result in vomiting, abdominal pain, excessive salivation, and diarrhoea.
  7. Cyclamen. Cyclamen is an attractive family of flowers that bring reds, pinks, purples, and whites to gardens. Sadly, where our cats are concerned, it contains terpenoid saponins, which can cause salivation, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
  8. Hyacinth. The bulbs of the hyacinth contain allantoin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in cats. The flowers and leaves are also toxic, and may cause oral irritation and abdominal problems if eaten.
  9. Amaryllis. A traditional festive floral gift, amaryllis contains lycorine, along with other noxious substances, that can trigger increased salivation, gastrointestinal issues, vomiting, and diarrhoea in felines.
  10.  Chrysanthemums. Chrysanthemums contain pyrethrins, which while only mildly toxic to cats, can still cause distress and discomfort if ingested in large quantities.
  11. Crocuses. Both the spring crocus and the autumn crocus are classed as dangerous to cats. The spring crocus is likely to cause gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhoea when ingested. The fall crocus though may cause more severe symptoms like excessive vomiting and diarrhoea, or liver and kidney damage.
  12. Aloe vera. While aloe juice and pulp can be used to treat a variety of conditions in humans, it is actually highly toxic to cats. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, and tremors.
  13. Poppies. All parts of the poppy plant are toxic to cats – the plant, seeds, and leaves. Signs of poppy poisoning include lack of appetite, crying, and dilated pupils.
  14. Marigolds. Mildly toxic to felines, marigolds may cause oral irritation, stomach upset, and excessive drooling. You also need to be wary of your cat coming into contact with the plant’s sap as this can cause skin irritation.
  15.  Dracaena. Often found in offices and homes, dracaena contains saponin, a chemical compound that is toxic to cats. Once ingested, it can cause drooling, vomiting, weakness, incoordination, and dilated pupils.


What should I do if my cat has eaten a potentially poisonous flower?

No matter how hard you might try, it can be nigh on impossible stopping your cat from taking a bite out of a potentially poisonous flower or plant at some point during their life. 

Knowing what to do in this situation is therefore vital. 

First and foremost, know the symptoms. Itchiness, scratching, watery eyes, vomiting,

diarrhoea, excessive drooling; if your cat is suffering from any of these, then there’s a chance they’re battling a nasty toxin. 

You will need to get them to a vet as soon as possible.

If this is going to take longer than you’d like, take the following steps.

Gently remove any parts of the plant from your feline’s mouth, paws, and/or fur. Move them somewhere safe, away from the plant, and make them comfortable.

Try your best to identify the plant, and if you can, bring a sample with you to the vets. 

This will help them find a treatment or antidote to the poison.


Should I keep potentially poisonous flowers or plants in the house?

Cats love a climbing challenge.

Combine this with their innate curiosity, and keeping houseplants out of their reach is often a thankless task.

While moving toxic flowers and plants to a room where your felines never venture is one option, we believe the safest course of action is removing them from your home completely. 

If you found this guide useful, you may also enjoy:

Share this article