What Plants Are Toxic to Cats

There is an unfortunate tendency among cat owners to believe that all plants, or flowers for that matter, are safe for their feline friends.

Unfortunately, many common plants can be deadly to your cat. Some of the most common plants that cause health issues in cats include

  • tomato,
  • azalea,
  • rhododendron,
  • butterfly bush,
  • Japanese ornamental grasses,
  • and certain types of evergreen shrubs such as oak and hibiscus.

Many cat owners do not realize that a single leaf of some plants can be lethal to cats. Here is what you need to know about the ten most hazardous plants for your cat.

What Plants Are Toxic to Cats?


The first plant on the list is azalea, a popular ornamental grass in the U.S. This ornamental grass contains a toxic chemical called azaleasine that affects both birds and mammals.

Ingestion can cause death within minutes. Another plant on the list that is dangerous for cats to consume is the Japanese maple tree or “Maple” which contains a chemical called triclosan.


Next on the list is a plant called mothwood, a woody deciduous vine that grows in evergreen areas, like along roads, fence rows, etc. This plant also contains phytate, which can be deadly to cats.

Phytate can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Other common plants that contain phytate are onions, cabbage, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, leeks, and beans.


Additionally, plants called Stinging Nettles, a bulbous, aromatic shrub that is a member of the begonias family are toxic. When ingested, the chemical compound in the leaves of this plant can cause severe stomach irritation and vomiting.

Other plants which are dangerous to cats include the plant known as tobacco, cinchona, hydrangea, lomatium, meadow, and bishop’s button. Ingesting these plants can result in the death of cats.

There are other plants that are dangerous to both dogs and cats but the ones listed in this article are the most common.


Your cats must also stay away from Cloves. This plant contains a poisonous alkaloid known as carotene that is toxic to animals. Moreover, cats should not be given the frui

It should only be given to cats with a special diet. Cloves can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and can also be fatal if it is ingested.

In general, you must refrain from feeding your cat Ginger, Garlic, Turmeric, Cayenne Pepper, Cilantro, Onions, Peppers, Chili Peppers, and Hot Peppers.

Topsails and Barking Grasses

The next plants on the list are Topsails and Barking Grasses. These plants should be avoided by cats. Barking grasses contain oxalates, which are toxic for cats.

A cat’s digestive system cannot break down this plant. Topsail and barking grasses can be toxic if ingested. This is why you should take extra care with what plants are in your yard.

If by chance, your cat ingests a hazardous plant, seek veterinary help right away. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, seizures, ineffectiveness at rest, fatigue, inappetence, and changes in behavior. A plant may cause these symptoms in only a rare percentage of the cases.

However, you should never attempt to treat a cat for an illness unless you are a trained veterinarian.

Now if so many plants are toxic to cats, then as a cat owner what plants should you feed them with? There are several plants to choose from.

So make sure that you know what to look for when you are choosing a plant for your yard. If you take the time to learn about the toxicity of plants and choose wisely, your cat should live a long and healthy life.

Juniper, Tea Tree, Burdock, Grape Tree, Sweetgrass, Parsley, and Rosemary are all safe for cats to eat. Lemon balm, lemon verbena, sweet marjoram, and camphor are not toxic.

However, you should avoid ever trying to use any of these plants for treatment. Each one has a different way of producing chemicals that are toxic to cats. Some plants may not even produce any noticeable effect.

Ashwagandha is a herb that many people believe is completely harmless. However, some studies have shown that this plant can cause the same symptoms as certain prescription medications.

Therefore, this plant should be avoided by cats that are on prescription medication. Thyme, although not toxic, can cause the same allergic reactions as what Ashwagandha does.


In conclusion, there is no single answer for what plants are toxic to cats. Every cat owner has to do his or her homework in order to make sure that their cats are not going to be negatively affected by a plant. Regardless, remember to take precautions around potentially poisonous plants as well.

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