Friday, March 12, 2021

What Houseplants And Flowers Are Safe For Cats?


March is Pet Poison Prevention Month and a good time to revisit potential harmful substances that can affect our pets. Houseplants and flowers are beautiful but some can be dangerous to your kitty.

Here are a few flowers that are generally safe for cats: asters, freesia, orchid, roses, statice, sunflowers. Some cat-safe air-purifying houseplants are: bamboo, Boston fern, basil, dill, hens and chicks, old man cactus, painted lady plant, rosemary, shrimp cactus, and the spider plant.  

But others are not so safe. Gorgeous spring blooms, such as chrysanthemums, daffodils, hyacinths, lilies, and tulips are dangerous for cats. Some common houseplants that can be poisonous for cats are: aloe vera, coleus, English ivy, ficus, jade (or money plants), philodendrons, Sago palms and snake plants. 

Other possible hazards for your cat are drinking the water from vases or digging in houseplants. These may seem like harmless behaviors, but they could be dangerous for your kitty.
The water in vases can contain pollen from the flowers or chemical preservatives from “flower food”. Flowers, such as lilies, can be fatal for cats – even just a tiny amount of pollen can necessitate an emergency vet visit. “Flower food” packets that are added to cut flowers in vases usually contain citric acid, sugar and bleach – none of these sounds like things that your cat should be eating.

Cats like to dig in dirt and soil, it is instinctual for them to dig before going potty. Digging in houseplants is not only messy, it can also pose health risks for your cat. Soils may contain foods and fertilizers that can cause tummy upset, but may also cause a toxic reaction. The poison can transfer to the paws and fur and be ingested when your kitty is cleaning itself. The leaves, flowers and stems of certain houseplants may also be toxic to cats if ingested.

The best way to keep your cat safe is to keep dangerous plants out of the house and/or make your plants and flowers inaccessible. If you think your cat may have ingested contaminated water or part of a plant, call your emergency vet or the free ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

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