Garden Plants Toxic to Cats

  • 01 of 10

    Photos of Outdoor Plants Toxic to Cats

    Spring flower display surrounding cat on table
    Linda Burgess / Getty Images

    It should be said that most cats will not eat plants outdoors, as long as grass is available. However, occasionally, out of boredom or curiosity, a cat may nibble a leaf or stem. From personal experience, I have shared my home at one time or another with over 40 cats, and I have yet to lose one from ingesting harmful plants.

    Still, if you're of the "safe rather than sorry" frame of mind, as I usually am, you need to know which plants are potentially harmful, and by what degree.

    Pictures shown on the following pages depict some of the more popular plants toxic to cats. This is not an exhaustive list - for that, see the ASPCA's Toxic Plants List. Let's take a walk through this lovely but potentially lethal garden for cats.

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  • 02 of 10

    Azaleas - Moderately Toxic to Cats

    Close-Up Of Black Cat In Garden
    Claire Legrand / EyeEm / Getty Images
    Azaleas are a member of the Rhododendron family, and all plants in this family are moderately toxic to cats, including all parts of the plants. According to The Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine is that "Pets may nibble or taste the leaves out of curiosity or boredom, and this is not advised, but seldom leads to clinical toxicosis."

    The ASPCA Poison Center is more guarded: Clinical Signs: include "vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, weakness, coma, hypotension, CNS depression, cardiovascular collapse and death."

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  • 03 of 10

    Chrysanthemums' Toxicity to Cats

    'Autumn Days' Chrysanthemums
    © Patrick Johns/Corbis/VCG / Getty Images
    Chrysanthemums are popular perennials for fall color. The leaves and stem are the toxic part. lists these clinical symptoms: "Ingestion results in vomiting, diarrhea, depression, drooling and lack of appetite." In my opinion, the scent alone would be enough to keep most cats away.
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  • 04 of 10

    Daffodils' Toxicity to Cats

    Cat checking daffodils
    claudia cadoni / Getty Images
    Daffodils, also known as Narcissus, are the traditional harbinger of Spring, but can cause upset tummies, vomiting, and/or diarrhea or worse, if your Puss eats the foliage, flowers, or pods.
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  • 05 of 10

    Hydrangeas' Toxicity to Cats

    Hydrangeas and white picket fence
    Preappy / Getty Images
    Hydrangeas are making a gardening comeback due to their immense popularity as dried flowers in arrangements. Their toxicity level is low and may result in stomach pains, vomiting, and weakness if the flower heads are ingested.
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  • 06 of 10

    Iris Toxicity to Cats

    Close-Up Of Purple Irises Blooming Outdoors
    Sungmoon Han / EyeEm / Getty Images
    Iris are favorite flowers in old-fashioned gardens, where they were once known as "Flags." They are fairly safe to use in gardening, once planted, as the bulbs are the suspect part for toxicity, causing typical gastrointestinal symptoms.
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  • 07 of 10

    Ivy's Toxicity to Cats

    White cat lounging on a window sill
    Andrei Spirache / Getty Images
    Ivy is commonly used both as ground cover, and for shade, as in covering gazebos or trellises. Many species of ivy are considered moderately toxic, and can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, along with breathing difficulty, coma, or even death, if a sufficient amount of leaves is ingested.
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  • 08 of 10

    Lily Toxicity to Cats

    White Lily Flowers In Park
    Suparat Malipoom / EyeEm / Getty Images
    Lilies are legion; they come in many varieties almost year-round. Sad to say, they are on the "least wanted" list of plants in a garden for cats, as ingestion of any part of the plant can ultimately lead to death. Hardly worth it, I'd say.
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  • 09 of 10

    Marigold's Toxicity to Cats

    High Angle View Of Cat On Marigold Field
    Chih-Hsuan Wu / EyeEm / Getty Images
    Marigolds are sturdy, perky little annuals, colorful and exceptionally easy to grow. Their pungeant aroma helps keeps insects at bay, and they are commonly planted near roses to deter aphids. However, if your cat eats marigold leaves or stems, she will suffer mild mouth irritation, possible drooling, tummy pain and diarrhea.
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  • 10 of 10

    Wisteria Toxicity to Cats

    Japanese wisteria alongside garden path and bench
    Werner & Kerstin Layer / Getty Images
    Wisteria is naturally a vine, but has been trained to grow as trees by some horticulturists. The seeds and pods are the toxic part, and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and collapse, if ingested.