Cats and Plants

Cats and plants

Cats, in their natural undomesticated environment, live among and interact constantly with plants. Whether for shelter, camouflage, safe retreat, amusement or self medication, cats and plants are constant companions.

But what of the domestic cat, in particular the indoor cat?   With far fewer opportunities to mess about with plants, what can you expect when house-cat meets house-plant?

Cats love to play, and they also love to eat.  Expect a cat to first of all have a little nibble, that possibly begin an enthusiastic chomping, and later on play with the plants - running through them (where possible) sleeping in them/on top of them, and in general, being fairly destructive  (from our limited human perspective).

Dangerous plants

One of the most vital things to know about cats and plants is that some common plants are toxic, even lethal, to your cat.   Some plants can KILL your cat.   There are many sites on the web that detail the plants known to be poisonous.   This one at the Cat Fanciers Association of America is especially good, and also includes links to other home hazards for cats.   It's well worth your time checking through this list - better safe than sorry when it comes to the health (and life) of your pet!

To briefly summarise the list, the following are some of the extremely, often lethally, dangerous plants  cats might easily come in contact with:

  • Lilies (many types)  (articles here, here and here give more information)

  • Yew trees (all types)

  • Many bulbs (i.e. daffodils)

  • Ivy (many types)

The above list is not in any way definitive...

If unsure about a particular plant, always check with your vet.   And if you suspect your cat has eaten something it shouldn't have from the list, or exhibits odd or unusual behaviour (or is in any sort of distress),  take your cat to your vet immediately.    It really could be a matter of life or death.

Useful links:
     ASPCA        Animal Poison Control Centre
     CFA Inc.      10 tips for a poison-safe household
     Cat World     Plants and other chemicals toxic to cats

Safe and fun plants

It's not all bad news - there are many plants safe for cats. Once again, the internet is a great source of information. Once again, the Cat Fanciers Association of America has an excellent page listing many plants safe for your cat.

And of course, there are those well known feline favourites: catnip, cat mint, and cat grass...I

Cat Mint

Catmint Nepetalactone - for chemically minded types... Cat Mint Leaf

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