Who doesn’t enjoy colorful garden flowers or lovely indoor house plants? Until you’ve got a cat that’s drooling, vomiting, or just very sick from batting, licking, or even eating them…and you realize you’ve got a garden full of plants that are poisonous to cats.

And as it turns out, it’s not just our gardens that are potential danger zones for our cats. If you’ve got a free-range outdoor cat at home, potentially any plant or flora they run into outdoors could end up with them sick, poisoned, or worse just from coming in contact with them!

So as the weather gets nicer and your feline buddy heads outdoors more often (with or without you), here’s how to identify what plants are poisonous to cats – and how to mark out any spots in your cat’s territory as danger zones to avoid. (As well as warn other pet parents about.) Let’s get started.

Plants that are poisonous to cats? When’s that ever been a problem?

For a while, actually! In fact, each year, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center receives thousands of calls when cats eat poisonous plants. Plus, according to PetSure insurance claims data from 2019, the average cost to treat a cat that had eaten lilies ranged from $431-$3,046!1

So as it turns out, ridding your garden or yard of plants that are poisonous to cats isn’t just vital to your feline buddy’s health and well-being. It’s also key to preventing you from burning a hole in your wallet from unexpected vet bills. (And a set of curtains or carpet now covered in cat vomit.)

A cat sniffing a fake monstera plant

But mine’s an indoor cat – where are they likely to run into poisonous plants?

Which is precisely why it’s so important to do a bit of a plant-audit – both for your indoor and outdoor plants.

Cats live up to their proverbial reputation by sniffing, licking, batting, and investigating every part of their environment, whether that’s inside or outside your house. Meaning, they’re likely to chew or rub up against plants just to see what they are – no matter where those plants are!

The toxins in plants that are poisonous to cats can cause a wide range of problems, from mild to severe.

  • Your cat may simply vomit out any bits they’ve swallowed – and be fine after with a bit of water and rest.
  • In more serious cases, your cat could experience far more serious outcomes including seizures or coma, depending on the type and amount of poisonous plant consumed.
A cat sniffing a plant while a woman checks her phone in the background

So it makes sense to:

  • Check your indoor and outdoor plants for bite marks or other evidence of your buddy gnawing on the leaves or blossoms.
  • Keep an eye out for symptoms of plant poisoning in cats, like drooling, vomiting, or even diarrhea. We cover a few of these in detail a bit further below.
  • Take a picture of the plant to show your vet. Get in touch with them right away if you suspect your cat hasn’t been themselves lately – and nibbling on one of your plants might be one of the reasons.

Well, shoot…mine’s an outdoor cat.

Outdoor cats tend to have sizeable territories to patrol, hunt in, and show other cats (and animals) who’s boss. They’re also more likely to run into plants that are poisonous to cats – given the time they spend outdoors, interacting with their environment.

Now while you could make sure to keep your indoor and outdoor space free of toxic plants, you can’t really do so for:

  • Your neighbor’s backyards
  • Any woodland areas nearby that your cat likes to chase down mice in
  • The pesticide-riddled community park down the street

All of which can potentially threaten your cat’s health – and even life, in some serious cases.

An outdoor cat exploring their territory

💡So imagine the relief and peace of mind from being able to figure out your outdoor cat’s territory?

It’s why cat parents around the world – just like you – are strapping GPS trackers to their buddies’ collars.

An outdoor cat wearing a Tractive GPS tracker in a lawn

Because with just a glance at your phone, you can now track your cat:

  • In real-time,
  • Over an unlimited range,
  • While on vacation (or at least 175 countries on a Premium subscription),
  • Over their own territory – marked in yellow below on your Tractive mobile app:
cat territory as shown in the tractive gps app
Tractive Trustpilot review

Discover Tractive GPS

So once you’ve taken these precautions to keep your cat safe while outdoors, let’s start with…

What plants are poisonous to cats? (And which parts?)

The toxicity of plants can vary greatly, depending on the poisonous substances within the plant. In some cases, all parts of the plant are toxic, including the leaves, stem, petals, seeds, pollen, and the bulb. In other plants, only certain parts are dangerous for your cat to consume.

But in general, here are some plants that are poisonous to cats – and which you should avoid having both indoors and outdoors. Get your cat to a vet immediately if you suspect they’ve consumed any part of these plants.

Lilies (all varieties)

All lilies including Easter lilies, tiger lilies, and daylilies are extremely toxic to cats, causing kidney failure or death if just a tiny amount of the plant is ingested. As a responsible cat parent, do your best to avoid keeping lilies in your home or garden. These also include other flowers in the lily family, including tulips, hyacinth, autumn crocus (Colchium autumnale), garlic, and even onions!

  • Even if your cat does not eat the flowers, stems, or leaves, rubbing against the flowers can cause pollen to stick to your cat’s fur. 
  • If your cat licks the pollen from their fur, they can become dangerously ill.
  • Drinking water from a vase that contains cut lilies can also be lethal to cats.

Read more: Cat Pollen Allergy? Here’s How To Deal With It

A bunch of orange lilies growing in a garden

💡Besides monitoring your indoor and outdoor plants, we’d also recommend you never let your cat into your kitchen unsupervised. (Especially if you’ve got any foods lying around that are off-limits to cats.)


Native to warm climates, oleander, also known as nerium oleander, is a popular shrub with attractive flowers. All parts of the oleander plant are toxic to cats – even the water in the vase that holds cut oleander flowers can cause harm if swallowed! If a cat eats oleander, they can experience drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and fatal heart abnormalities.

A shrub of pink oleander flowers


These lovely flowers are often given as gifts around the December holidays. All parts of the amaryllis are a threat to cats and dogs, too. Cats that ingest amaryllis may experience vomiting, abdominal pain, tremors, or excessive drooling.

Red amaryllis flowers blooming outdoors

💡Got a neighbor with amaryllis blossoms in their backyard – and a cat that loves hanging out in the very same spot? Mark it as a “no go” zone on your Tractive app.

So the minute your cat tries sneaking into it, you get an escape alert on your phone warning you to intervene and get them back to safety.

Set Up A No Go Zone


These springtime favorites are common in most northern and midwestern gardens. Daffodils and their relatives in the narcissus family contain toxins in all parts of the plant. The bulb is the most toxic part.  

The toxin in these plants is called lycorine and it can cause drooling, vomiting, and abdominal pain in cats. In extreme cases, the toxin can induce heart problems, a drop in blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and convulsions. 

Daffodils in a garden

Azaleas & Rhododendrons

There are more than 1,000 species of flowering shrubs and trees that belong to the azalea and rhododendron family. Some are more toxic than others, but all parts of the plants contain some toxins.

If these plants are in your yard, don’t allow your outdoor cat to come into contact with them, and do not bring cuttings into the house. The toxins in these plants can cause tremors, seizures, coma, or even death.

Azaleas growing in pots

Sago palm

Native to tropical climates, many types of palms are commonly kept as house plants, and the sago palm (Cycas revoluta) is a popular one. All parts of the sago palm are toxic to cats, with the seeds containing high amounts of cycasin, which can cause severe liver damage. If you believe your cat has eaten part of a sago palm, get them to the vet immediately.

A woman holding a sago plant in a pot

💡Peeked around your neighbors’ backyards and found it clean – but still want to know where your cat likes to spend most of their time? Check out their Heat Map and Location History via your Tractive mobile app.

Which, with just a glance at your phone, helps you figure out if your cat likes to spend most of their time somewhere they might pick up something infectious, poisonous, or worse.

Tractive Trustpilot review

Discover Location History


Jade plants are another risk for your furry friend. Even tiny amounts of jade plant eaten by your cat can cause life-threatening symptoms. It’s best to keep jade plants out of your home. (And preferably at your office or elsewhere your cat isn’t likely to venture in.)

Jade plants growing on a tree branch


Popular during the holidays, poinsettias pose a serious hazard if your cat eats them. If you receive a poinsettia as a holiday gift, place it in a spot where the cat cannot get to it. Even better, take it to work and bring some cheer to the office. 

A woman holding a bouquet of red poinsettia flowers

Aloe vera

Known for its healing properties such as alleviating sunburn pain and soothing wounds, aloe vera is not healthy for your cat. Keep this toxic house plant out of your home.

An aloe vera plant in a pot

Other common house plants that are poisonous to cats

  • Peace lilies are dangerous for cats because they contain insoluble calcium oxalates. These substances can cause kidney failure in cats if eaten. 
  • Devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum), also known as pothos, contains insoluble calcium oxalates that irritate the mouth, cause excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
  • Dumb cane, also called diffenbachia, is another common yet toxic house plant. 
  • Snake plant (Sansevaria) is popular because it’s almost impossible to kill. However, it can be toxic to your cat if ingested, causing nausea and vomiting.
  • English ivy (Hedera helix) is a very common outdoor garden ground cover in temperate climates. The foliage is more toxic than the berries. Your cat may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea if English ivy is eaten or chewed on.
A cat sleeping against an indoor plant

Can floral bouquets contain poisonous plants?

Everyone, including your cat, gets excited by a surprise delivery of fresh-cut flowers. But before you place the bouquet in a vase:

  • Try to identify the flowers. Many arrangements contain lilies, which are toxic to cats.
  • If you aren’t sure what types of flowers are in the bouquet, contact the florist who delivered them.
  • Jot down the names of the flowers and check them against the ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List for Cats.
  • To be safe, keep the bouquet where your cat can’t reach it.
A cat sniffing at a bouquet of flowers in a vase

The packets that come with fresh-cut flowers contain sugar, citric acid, and a small amount of bleach to reduce bacterial growth in the water.

  • If your kitty drinks some of the treated water from a vase, they might get a tummy ache, but that’s all.
  • If you’re worried about your cat drinking this treated water, just use plain water and change it often to keep your flowers fresh.
  • If you do notice your cat behaving weirdly or even vomiting or drooling, get in touch with your vet immediately.

How can I avoid plants that are poisonous to cats?

As a responsible cat parent, you want to do all you can to protect your furry friend. That’s why it’s important to ensure that no poisonous plants enter your home or grow in your garden.

  • The best way to do this is to know what type of plants you have. Scientific names are helpful, because they are used consistently by everyone, as opposed to common names, which can vary by region.
  • Once you have the scientific name of the plant, check it against the ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List for Cats to make sure it’s safe and not poisonous.

Do an indoor plant audit

Make sure you know what types of houseplants are in your home. If any of them are even the tiniest bit poisonous to cats, remove them from your home right away.

If you don’t know what type of plant you have, check the care tag that may be tucked into the soil. Look for the common name and the scientific name on the tag. These are the key to understanding what type of plant you have.

A woman checking her indoor houseplants next to a cat

💡If there’s no ID tag in the pot, try using an app that identifies plants. Snap a photo of the plant’s leaves, stems, and flowers and the app will suggest an ID for the plant. Cross check the suggested ID with a list of plants poisonous to cats.

Read more: 6 Easy Indoor Plants That Are Safe For Cats

Watch out for the signs of plant poisoning in cats

If you suspect that your cat ingested a poisonous plant, take immediate action. Call your veterinarian (or your local emergency veterinary clinic if it happens after hours).

  • Try to identify the plant that was eaten, or bring a sample of it with you to the veterinarian’s office.
  • Keep these emergency hotlines saved:
CountryAnimal poisoning emergency hotline
UK01202 509000
Australia1300 869 738
New Zealand0800 869 738 

But most importantly, watch out for these symptoms:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Tremors 
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

Noticed one or more of these? First, check your houseplants to see if they have been chewed on. If you find evidence that a plant has been chewed on, note the type of plant and contact your veterinarian immediately.

A cat sniffing an indoor plant

Plant-proof your home

If having indoor plants is important to you, choose plants that are safe and non-toxic to your pets. Check the ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List for Cats to make sure you choose pet-safe plants.

Besides, here are a couple of more tips to plant-proof your home:

  • Place your plants where your cat cannot reach them. Cats can reach counter tops and window ledges, so these locations are not ideal.
  • Hanging planters are a good option for indoor plants, because they can be hung high enough that your cat cannot reach them.
  • If you can’t find a safe spot for house plants, try artificial plants. Some look very life-like and of course they require no care, except for occasional dusting.
Potted plants hanging from the ceiling

Keep your cat safe in the garden

Protecting your cat outdoors is more challenging than indoors, because outdoor cats often roam onto neighboring properties. So in your own garden:

  • Avoid all plants known to be toxic to cats, such as day lilies, Asiatic lilies, and tiger lilies.
  • In your vegetable garden, be aware that some plants like tomato plants, like all members of the nightshade family, contain solanine which can cause severe gastronomic upset and a slowed heart rate.
  • If you have tomato plants and your cat roams outdoors, consider fencing that section of your garden.

A catio might be a good option for your indoor/outdoor cat. Catios are like mini screened-in porches that provide access to the outdoors but keep your cat safe from toxic or poisonous plants, and other hazards.

A woman gardening with her cat

Don’t freak out if your cat eats a bit of grass (on occasion)

Most cats eat grass occasionally – and it’s perfectly safe.

  • Cats are meat-eaters, but grass can act as a laxative or induce vomiting, which may help rid the body of indigestible material.
  • Grass contains folic acid, a vitamin that aids in the production of hemoglobin in the blood.

⚠️ Just make sure to avoid allowing your cat to eat lawn grass that has just been treated with chemicals.

Read more: Why Do Cats Eat Grass And How Does It Affect Them?

beige cat eating grass from dish

Keep an eye out for danger zones outdoors

Your outdoor cat might be venturing further out past your garden and backyard – so why not keep an eye out for any danger zones they might run into?

These might include areas containing:

  • Toxic plants besides the ones we’ve mentioned, like mushrooms (which can also be toxic to dogs)
  • Wild animals
  • Poison bait
  • Animal traps
  • …and, of course, plants that are poisonous to cats.
Two outdoor cats exploring a forest

💡Even better, you can mark out these danger zones via your Tractive mobile app – and broadcast them to pet parents in your vicnity too.

Helping you both keep your cat safe – and do your part as a responsible cat parent.

Mark Out A Danger Zone

Keep your plants bite-free & your cat healthy for a lifetime

Who wouldn’t love a green indoor space to feel calmer in? But if you’ve also got a cat at home, you’re best off avoiding these plants that are poisonous to cats:

  • Lilies, including flowers in the lily family (like tulips, hyacinths, onions, and garlic)
  • Oleander
  • Amaryllis
  • Daffodils
  • Azaleas
  • Rhododendrons
  • Sago palms
  • Poinsettias
  • Jade
  • Aloe vera
  • Ivies, including Devil’s Ivy and English Ivy
  • Dumb cane
  • Snake plants
A woman petting a cat in a house filled with indoor plants

In most cases, doing an indoor houseplant audit is enough to figure out which to keep and which to donate to a friend or a neighbor instead.

But you should also:

  • Stay informed by double-checking with the ASPCA toxic and non-toxic plant list.
  • Watch out for signs of plant poisoning in cats, like drooling, vomiting, and dizziness.
  • Plant-proof your indoors by hanging your plants out of your cat’s reach – or using fake plants instead.
  • Fence off any bits of your garden that might contain tomatoes or other toxic plants.

And most importantly…

Ensure your cat isn’t coming in contact with any toxic plants outdoors – by:

  • Tracking their every step in real-time,
  • Setting up “no go zones” around any areas you do find poisonous plants in
  • Mapping out your cat’s territory – and figuring out their favorite hangout spots
  • Marking out any danger zones you run into – and warning other pet parents right away.
A cat wearing a Tractive GPS tracker

💡All of which you get on one device – built with love for cats and for your peace of mind as a cat parent.

Tractive Trustpilot review

Know everywhere your cat goes

See where they are in real-time, no matter how far they go. Get alerts if they roam too far home. Find out where they’ve been and discover their favorite spots. Let others track with you.

Discover Tractive GPS

And if you’ve liked this post, share it with a friend or a loved one – and let’s help build a safer, kinder world for our furry friends together.