Heads up, these common house plants may be toxic to your pets

Over the weekend, our artist went on a home decor shopping spree and stumbled onto some pretty houseplants. She was about to buy them when she wondered, “Are these poisonous to my cat?”

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but many popular houseplants are toxic to animals. We don’t blame you for not thinking about that, though. Since there’s a deluge of articles talking about the health benefits of plants to people, it’s easy to forget that this thing that’s good for us can be really bad for our furbabies, especially if you’re the type to buy plants willy-nilly. The same thing happened with tea tree oil. (Read: PSA: Your tea tree oil might be depressing your cats and dogs)

If you’re scared that your plant babies are poisoning your furbabies (what a Greek tragedy) as your furbabies are devouring them (ditto times a hundred), you can check out the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)’s extensive resource on plants that are toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. (Okay, maybe most of you won’t need the last one.) ASPCA also lists their toxic principle, and, if not all parts of the plant are toxic, which parts to avoid.

A word to the wise: if you’ve caught your pet nibbling on one of the plants mentioned and surviving unscathed, this doesn’t mean that your pet is miraculously immune or that you should disregard this list. The Gardenista Sourcebook has a good article on why that happens. In any case, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

Based on the ASPCA’s list, here are some toxic plants that might be living in your home:

1. Aloe vera

Yes, I’m sorry. Aloe vera is a very popular succulent, and it’s often people’s starter succulent or houseplant. However, ingesting the plant can cause vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea in cats and dogs. Chalk it up to the plant’s laxative qualities.

2. Lilies


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Be it the calla lily, amaryllis, azalea, or any other type, lilies are really pretty flowers. There’s something very emotive about them—if you’ve seen Imagine Me and You, you’d know that the tiger lily’s flower meaning is “I dare you to love me.” However, these pretty flowers are extremely toxic to cats. They can cause vomiting, depression, arrhythmia, and in some cases, death. Meanwhile, some varieties are also toxic to dogs, though not to the same extent as they are to cats.

3. Monstera deliciosa


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The monstera deliciosa has become an incredibly popular plant, all thanks to social media. (Read: Where to find a monstera deliciosa?) As instagrammable as this plant is, do take note: it can cause vomiting, difficulty swallowing, excessive drooling, and “intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, tongue.”

4. Snake plant


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Also called “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue” (someone’s got problems), the snake plant is a very sturdy plant known for being able to diffuse carbon dioxide into oxygen at night. It’s so sturdy that it can withstand being neglected for weeks at a time (like me) and it was even traditionally used to make bow strings. As great as that is, though, this plant can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in cats and dogs.

5. Holly


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Hollies are more Christmas plants for us. Most of the time, people only go out of their way to get a branch of holly during the holidays. What can ruin the Christmas spirit, though, is if your cat and dog chews into one, since it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. Thankfully, though, its leaves and berries are low in toxicity.


Featured photo courtesy of Unsplash

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