Are any of these 10 plants or flowers in your home? The holidays bring joy and often beautiful plants and flowers, but many of them are poisonous to our cats. To help you know if your cats are at risk we made this video going over a list of 10 different holiday plants that are toxic to cats and to offer some safe options.
This video is part of the Pet Voices PRESENTS series. CLICK HERE to see all the series videos.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 0:01
The holidays come with decorative plants and flowers, but many of them can be dangerous to your cat.
So, we’re going to cover 10 of the most common holiday season plants and flowers that you should be aware of when bringing them into your home or gifting them to someone who also has cats.
And just in case, we will say, it’s always a good idea to keep Poison Control’s number close by (800-222-1222) or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center number (888-426-4435)
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 0:19
So, let’s start with some common holiday plants.
Poinsettias are a very common flowering indoor plant this time of year. And though they generally come in red, you can get them in white, yellow, salmon, purple, or even multi-color. There are actually over 100 varieties.
Are poinsettias poisonous to cats? If your cat were to ingest part of a Poinsettia plant, it would be irritating to their mouth and their stomach and could cause vomiting. So, you definitely want to keep those plants up anyway.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 0:43
And also, there are Amaryllis. They come in many different colors as well. The most common are red and white. But there are some pink, salmon, burgundy, apricot, bi-color, green, and purple. They come in a lot of different colors. So, you have to watch to know whether it’s an Amaryllis.
But you don’t want your cat getting into that because that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, hyper-salivation, and even depression. Just a lot of results that your cat will not be happy with, and neither would you.
3. CHRISTMAS ROSE (HELLEBORE)
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 1:10
And another one is the Christmas Rose, also known as Hellebore. The fun fact about this is that even though it’s called a rose is that it’s actually not. It’s in the Buttercup family, not the Rose family.
And the foliage of this plant is dark green, but the flowers can vary. They’re usually white or pink, but you can get them in purple, a pale yellow, black, or even a spotted flower. And if your cat were to eat this plant, they could experience excessive drooling, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and even depression.
4. PEACE LILY
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 1:40
There’s also the Peace Lily. And in general, they’re white, but they can be green, pink, or red. So, we’re used to the white Peace Lily, but be careful of the other colors too.
Are peace lilies toxic to cats? Getting into these flowers, regardless of their color, will cause oral irritation, intense burning, and irritation of the mouth, tongue, lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. None of which you want.
5. CHRISTMAS TREE (PINE, FIR, SPRUCE)
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 2:01
And then, of course, there’s your Christmas Tree or maybe your Hanukkah Bush. And that could be a fir, spruce, or pine tree – a wide variety of different trees.
And while they are all beautiful, their oils, if ingested, could actually cause irritation to your cat’s mouth or an upset stomach. And that can also lead to excessive drooling and even vomiting.
But another thing to factor in with your Christmas Tree, or maybe your Hanukkah Bush, are the needles themselves. They can actually be pointy and can cause a lot of harm if ingested through the digestive tract. So, just keep that in mind. If you know that your cat is going to be tempted by your tree, you may want to choose a pet-friendly Christmas tree by sticking with something artificial.
And if you have a live tree that you have to water regularly and have a bowl attached at the bottom, be sure to cover that so that your cat can’t get into it and take a drink. Because you don’t know what that tree is going to be putting into that water. And that could cause some harm, especially some stomach aches or potential poisoning that you don’t have control over.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 2:52
And these next couple are flowers and plants that you might find independently, but you might also find in wreathes or in different things.
So, Holly, for instance, which has a lot of different variations. English Holly, European Holly, Oregon Holly, Pink Berry, Winter Berry, American Holly. There are lots of different variations of Holly. But you will find it by itself sometimes and other times maybe in a wreath you have or some other sort of centerpiece you have on your table.
Be careful with that, because vomiting, diarrhea, these seem to be common things. Vomiting, diarrhea, depression. And the leaves in the berries, they are low toxicity but they are still harmful. So, you want to be careful.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 3:28
And another common plant this time of year, that can also cause vomiting and diarrhea, is Mistletoe. And in severe cases, it can also cause low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and even a low heart rate. So, it’s definitely something you don’t want your cat getting into.
Though most commonly, it is green leaves with a white or pink berry. It can also have a red berry that can resemble the Holly that Chloe just mentioned.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 3:50
And then there’s just flowers. So, bouquets of flowers are pretty common during the holidays.
Lilies are a common thing in bouquets and they’re quite poisonous. They can actually lead to kidney failure.
And while we see Lilies as white a lot, they still come in yellow, pink, orange, red, blue, and purple. So, Lilies in general have a very strong scent and kidney failure is a result for cats. So, be careful of your Lilies.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 4:14
And Hydrangeas are another flower that we wanted to call out because they do come in a beautiful white, but they also come in blue, which you may find in special Hanukkah bouquets or arrangements. They can also be pink, purple, yellow, orange, or green, so they come in a wide variety.
But they are toxic to cats. They can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and there is also a possibility of cyanide intoxication. So, they’re definitely a flower you don’t want your cats munching on during the holiday season.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 4:45
And that brings us to Larkspur, which is a very beautiful flower. It is in a lot of bouquets. And the toxicity of the plant may vary depending on the season and different conditions in which it was grown, but it is a toxic plant.
Larkspurs have alkaloids in them and that causes neuromuscular paralysis. It can have clinical side effects, including constipation, colic, increased elevation, muscle tremors, stiffness, weakness, recumbency, and convulsions. Even cardiac failure can occur and even death from respiratory paralysis. So, these are pretty severe symptoms and results from a cat possibly getting into Larkspur.
You’ll see them in a lot of bouquets in a beautiful blue. You’ll see them in white, but they do also come in pink, purple, yellow, and other colors. So, watch for that Larkspur.
CAT SAFE FLOWER & PLANT ALTERNATIVES
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 5:33
So those are the 10 plants that are toxic to cats, festive plants that we think you should watch out for this holiday season. But we do have some alternatives so that you can still decorate with plants and flowers, but you’re keeping your cats healthy and safe.
I would say that no list of holiday plants that are safe for cats would be complete without mentioning artificial plants. So, you can easily get a fake Poinsettia that is just as beautiful as the real one.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 5:56
And then there’s also things like a Christmas Cactus. Is Christmas cactus poisonous to cats? The good news is that it’s not! They come in a few different colors. But it’s not a cactus like you would think. It looks like a beautiful plant and those are safe. Christmas Cacti are something you could have out there and it’s not going to harm your cat.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 6:11
And another plant that does have some thorns but is safe to be around your cats are Roses. And again, these are different from the Christmas Rose that we mentioned earlier. It’s your traditional Rose that comes in a wide variety of colors, red, white, yellow, the colors of the rainbow. It’s a beautiful option for the holidays.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 6:28
And also, another really pretty plant/flower because it looks like both, is an Orchid. And the great thing about Orchids is they do come in many colors. So, you can complement whatever you like with the whites, the blues, the purples, and the pinks.
And I like mine because it fits into the fake category, but it’s really nice. It’s easier to take care of. You just have to dust it.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 6:50
And another option for christmas plants safe for cats, that’s actually related to the Orchid, is the Bromeliad. And that’s another great option, whether you want it artificial or real. But it’s something that adds a bit of color and is safe for your cats to be around.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 7:02
And if you’re just looking for a little extra green, a Boston Fern is a really great option. It adds a little foliage. It’s beautiful, but it’s safe.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 7:10
But if you do want that pop of color, African Violets are a great flowering plant to look towards. They come in a wide variety of colors. They have your reds and pinks, but also your purples and your blues. So, depending on what holiday you’re celebrating, you can find a color that’s appropriate for that.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 7:25
If you do choose plants that are toxic to cats, because we’re not saying don’t buy them at all. We’re just saying be careful and make sure it is out of reach of your cats, which we know is very difficult. So, you have to put it in a place that’s up, that they can’t get to, or at least that they don’t normally go. So, maybe they won’t be interested. Just consider that if you do. And we think fake is a good option.
If you suspect that your cat has ingested a toxic plant, a trip to see the veterinarian may be in order! Better safe than sorry.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 7:46
Yes, it’s easier to take care of for sure.
So, we hope you enjoyed this. And let us know what you use to decorate around the holidays. Do you use artificial plants? Do you use real beautiful plants? Leave us a comment and let us know how you decorate, but also keep your cat safe this holiday season.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 8:03
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What’s your favorite holiday plant? Is it a cat-safe option?