Which plants are safe for cats?

Ever wonder which plants should you stay away from and which can you have as a cat owner? We will answer that question here.

Written by AI, edited by Carol Hogan

4/10/202410 min read

Which Plants Are Safe for Your Cat?

When it comes to sharing our homes and hearts with our feline friends, ensuring their safety is paramount. This extends beyond securing windows and removing hazardous items to something as seemingly benign as houseplants. Many common plants can pose serious risks to our curious companions, leading pet owners to ask: "Which plants are safe for my cat?" This article aims to answer that question, providing cat owners with the knowledge they need to create a green, vibrant, and, most importantly, safe environment for their pets.

The Importance of Cat-Safe Plants

Cats are natural explorers. They love to sniff, nibble, and occasionally gnaw on plants. This curiosity, while adorable, can lead to serious health issues if the plant in question is toxic. Symptoms of plant toxicity in cats can range from mild (such as drooling and diarrhea) to severe (such as kidney failure or even death). Hence, knowing which plants are safe for your cat is not just a matter of keeping your greenery intact—it's about keeping your furry friend healthy and happy.

How to Identify Cat-Safe Plants

Signs of Toxicity in Plants

Identifying cat-safe plants starts with understanding which plants are toxic. Common signs that a plant may be harmful to cats include alkaloids, glycosides, or essential oils that can cause a variety of symptoms, from gastrointestinal upset to neurological issues.

Factors to Consider

Size and Accessibility: Smaller, ground-level plants are more accessible and therefore pose a greater risk. Plant Properties: Some plants are only toxic in certain parts, such as the bulbs or seeds. Toxicity Levels: The level of toxicity can vary widely; some plants may cause mild irritation, while others can be lethal.

List of Cat-Safe Plants

When it comes to cat-safe plants, variety is still very much on the table. Here are some non-toxic options:

Flowers: Roses, orchids, and sunflowers are beautiful and safe choices for a cat-friendly home. Herbs: Basil, cilantro, and thyme can spice up your kitchen without posing a risk to your cat. Houseplants: Spider plants, Boston ferns, and African violets offer lush greenery and are perfectly safe for curious cats.

Tips for Growing Cat-Safe Plants

Creating a cat-safe garden or home isn't just about choosing the right plants. Here are some tips for ensuring your green thumb doesn't turn into a thorny issue for your cat.

Choosing the Right Environment: Ensure that your plants have the right light, temperature, and humidity levels, not just for their health but to prevent your cat from ingesting fallen leaves or soil. Preventing Chewing and Ingestion: Sometimes, keeping plants out of reach or using plant stands can deter curious cats. Maintenance and Care: Using non-toxic fertilizers and being vigilant about pests and diseases can keep both your plants and your pets healthy.

What to Do If Your Cat Eats a Non-Safe Plant

Despite our best efforts, cats might ingest part of a non-safe plant. If this happens, remove any plant material from your cat's mouth, observe for symptoms, and contact your vet immediately if you notice any adverse reactions.


Creating a safe environment for our feline friends means more than just providing them with food, water, and love. It also means ensuring that the plants they live with are safe.

Creating a cat-friendly garden or indoor plant space involves careful selection, especially when it comes to herbs. Here's a list of twenty herbs that are known to be safe for cats, allowing you to spice up your cooking without worrying about your feline friend's well-being.

Cat-Safe Herbs:

  1. Basil: A versatile culinary herb that's safe for cats and can be used in a variety of dishes.

  2. Cilantro (Coriander): Safe for cats, cilantro can add a fresh taste to your meals.

  3. Dill: A fragrant herb that's safe for cats and can enhance the flavor of your dishes.

  4. Thyme: This herb is not only safe for cats but also a culinary staple in many kitchens.

  5. Rosemary: Safe for feline companions, rosemary can be used to season dishes.

  6. Sage: A cat-safe herb that's perfect for seasoning meats and other dishes.

  7. Parsley: While safe in small amounts, it's wise to use parsley sparingly due to its high vitamin C content.

  8. Mint: Includes varieties like spearmint and peppermint. While generally safe, it can cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some cats.

  9. Lemon Balm: Known for its calming properties and safe for cats in moderation.

  10. Catnip: Beloved by many cats, catnip is perfectly safe and can provide entertainment for your pet.

  11. Valerian: While known for its sedative properties in humans, valerian can stimulate cats and is safe for them.

  12. Cat Grass (Wheatgrass): Often grown specifically for cats to nibble on, wheatgrass is completely safe.

  13. Fennel: Safe for cats, fennel can be used in a variety of dishes for its anise-like flavor.

  14. Tarragon: A safe herb for cats, tarragon can add a unique flavor to your recipes.

  15. Oregano: In small amounts, oregano is safe for cats, but it should be used cautiously due to its potency.

  16. Marjoram: Similar to oregano, marjoram is safe for cats in moderation.

  17. Echinacea: Known for its immune-boosting properties, Echinacea is safe for cats.

  18. Lavender: While not an herb used in cooking, lavender is non-toxic to cats and can add a lovely fragrance to your home.

  19. Chamomile: Safe for cats, chamomile can have a calming effect, but it should be used in moderation.

  20. Lemongrass: While lemongrass is often debated, small amounts can be safe for cats. However, its essential oil should be avoided.

Important Considerations:

While these herbs are generally safe for cats, individual reactions can vary. It's always best to introduce any new plant to your cat's environment gradually and watch for any signs of gastrointestinal upset or allergic reactions. Additionally, some herbs, especially in essential oil form, can be more potent and potentially harmful, so it's crucial to use them cautiously and always consult with a veterinarian if you're unsure.

Creating a cat-friendly herb garden not only enriches your cooking but also ensures a safe and stimulating environment for your feline friend. Enjoy the culinary and aromatic benefits of these herbs while keeping your cat's well-being in mind.

Cat-Safe Houseplants:

  1. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum): Known for its air-purifying qualities and easy care, spider plants are safe for cats and can tolerate various lighting conditions.

  2. Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides): With its vibrant leaves, coleus is safe for cats when kept indoors and away from direct sunlight.

  3. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata): This lush, green fern is non-toxic to cats and thrives in humid conditions, making it perfect for bathrooms.

  4. African Violet (Saintpaulia): A pet-friendly plant that blooms with beautiful violet flowers, preferring indirect light and well-draining soil.

  5. Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii): Safe for cats, this palm adds a tropical feel to any room and prefers indirect light.

  6. Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens): Another cat-safe palm that's excellent for purifying the air and adds a lush, tropical look.

  7. Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans): A small, easy-to-care-for palm that's safe for cats and perfect for indoor environments.

  8. Haworthia: This succulent is safe for cats and has a unique appearance with its thick, green leaves.

  9. Calathea (Calathea spp.): Known for its striking leaf patterns, Calathea is non-toxic to cats and prefers low-light conditions.

  10. Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior): As its name suggests, this plant is tough, can thrive in low light, and is safe for cats.

  11. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii): A holiday favorite that's safe for cats and blooms with vibrant flowers around Christmas.

  12. Rattlesnake Plant (Calathea lancifola): With striking leaf patterns and non-toxic to cats, this plant adds visual interest to any space.

  13. Peperomia: With over 1000 species, Peperomia plants are generally safe for cats and offer a variety of leaf shapes and textures.

  14. Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya): Known for its spotted leaves, this plant is safe for cats and adds a pop of color.

  15. Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus verticillatus): This easy-to-grow plant is safe for cats and thrives in bright, indirect light.

  16. Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura): Recognizable by its folding leaves and striking patterns, it's safe for cats and prefers low light.

  17. Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa): With its waxy leaves and fragrant flowers, the Hoya plant is non-toxic to cats.

  18. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata): Despite its name, it's actually a succulent and is safe for cats, requiring minimal water.

  19. Money Tree (Pachira aquatica): Believed to bring good luck and financial prosperity, this plant is also safe for cats.

  20. Bird's Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus): This epiphytic fern is safe for cats and adds a lush, green touch with its ripple-edged fronds.

When introducing new plants into your home, it's always best to ensure they are out of reach of curious cats, as even non-toxic plants can cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested in large amounts. Additionally, some cats may have individual sensitivities, so it's wise to observe your cat for any adverse reactions when introducing new plants to your environment.

Introducing flowers into your home adds beauty, color, and life to your living space. For cat owners, it's crucial to choose flowers that won't pose a risk to their curious feline friends. Here's a list of twenty kinds of flowers known to be safe for cats, ensuring peace of mind for pet owners who also love a bit of floral flair.

Cat-Safe Flowers:

  1. Roses: While the petals are safe, watch out for thorns that can be harmful.

  2. Gerbera Daisies: Bright and cheerful, these flowers are safe for cats and can add a pop of color to any room.

  3. Snapdragons: With their unique blossoms, snapdragons are a safe and intriguing flower for homes with cats.

  4. Orchids: Known for their exotic appearance and variety, orchids are safe for cats.

  5. Sunflowers: These sunny, large flowers are safe for cats and perfect for brightening up a space.

  6. Violets: Small but vibrant, violets are safe for cats and can even be grown indoors.

  7. Zinnias: Offering a wide range of colors, zinnias are a safe choice for adding vibrancy to your cat-friendly home.

  8. Marigolds: While some varieties can be irritating, true marigolds (Calendula officinalis) are generally safe for cats.

  9. Asters: With their daisy-like appearance, asters are safe for cats and great for adding late summer color.

  10. Carnations (Dianthus): The petals of certain dianthus varieties are safe for cats, but it's best to double-check specific types.

  11. Camellias: These beautiful, dense flowers are safe for cats and thrive in many gardens.

  12. Bachelor's Buttons (Cornflower): Known for their striking blue color, these flowers are safe for feline friends.

  13. Lisianthus: With delicate, rose-like blooms, lisianthus flowers are safe for cats.

  14. African Violet: Not only are these petite flowers safe for cats, but they're also easy to care for indoors.

  15. Nasturtiums: Edible for humans and safe for cats, nasturtiums offer both beauty and utility.

  16. Pansies: With their distinct markings, pansies are safe for cats and can brighten up any garden or home.

  17. Petunias: These popular, colorful flowers are safe for cats and perfect for hanging baskets.

  18. Hibiscus: Tropical and vibrant, hibiscus flowers are safe for cats and can bring an exotic touch.

  19. Impatiens: Known for their shade tolerance, impatiens are safe for cats and ideal for indoor pots or shady garden spots.

  20. Freesia: Fragrant and colorful, freesia is safe for cats and adds a delightful scent to your home.

When choosing flowers for your home, always ensure they are specifically safe for cats, as individual plants within the same family can have varying effects. It's also wise to monitor your cat for any interest in nibbling on the flowers, as ingesting even non-toxic plant material can lead to gastrointestinal upset in some pets. With this list of cat-safe flowers, you can enjoy the beauty of nature indoors without compromising the safety of your furry family member.

For cat owners, it's crucial to be aware of plants that pose potential risks to their furry companions. Cats are naturally curious creatures, and ingesting even a small amount of certain plants can lead to serious health issues. Below is a list of fifty plants that cat owners should consider avoiding to ensure the safety and well-being of their pets.

Plants Cat Owners Should Avoid:

  1. Lilies (Lilium spp.): Highly toxic, causing kidney failure even in small amounts.

  2. Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta): All parts are toxic, with the seeds being the most dangerous.

  3. Tulips (Tulipa spp.): The bulbs are particularly toxic, causing oral irritation, drooling, and more severe symptoms.

  4. Azaleas (Rhododendron spp.): Even a few leaves can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive drooling.

  5. Oleander (Nerium oleander): Extremely toxic, leading to severe symptoms including heart problems.

  6. Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane): Causes oral irritation, swelling, and difficulty breathing.

  7. Cyclamen (Cyclamen spp.): The roots contain the most toxins, leading to gastrointestinal upset and heart abnormalities.

  8. Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.): Can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia, and tremors.

  9. Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale): Highly toxic, causing severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage, and respiratory failure.

  10. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum spp.): Can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

  11. Caladium (Caladium spp.): Similar to Dieffenbachia, causes intense oral irritation and swelling.

  12. Philodendron spp.: Contains calcium oxalate crystals, causing oral irritation, swelling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

  13. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum): Causes oral irritation, swelling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and intense burning of the mouth.

  14. Asparagus Fern (Asparagus setaceus): Can cause gastrointestinal upset and skin irritation.

  15. Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica): Can cause oral irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea.

  16. Daffodil (Narcissus spp.): The bulbs are toxic, causing vomiting, salivation, and diarrhea; can be fatal in large amounts.

  17. Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis): The bulbs can cause intense stomach upset, depression of the central nervous system, and tremors.

  18. English Ivy (Hedera helix): Contains saponins, which can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, and diarrhea.

  19. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata): Can cause vomiting, lethargy, and depression.

  20. Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe spp.): Contains cardiac glycosides, leading to gastrointestinal upset and heart abnormalities.

  21. Yew (Taxus spp.): Contains toxic alkaloids, leading to central nervous system effects, difficulty breathing, and potentially death.

  22. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea): Contains digitoxin, causing heart problems and even death.

  23. Begonia: Mostly the tubers are toxic, causing oral irritation, excessive drooling, and vomiting.

  24. Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum): The leaves are toxic, leading to kidney damage and potentially death.

  25. Tomato Plant (Solanum lycopersicum): The stem and leaves are toxic, causing gastrointestinal upset.

  26. Potato Plant (Solanum tuberosum): Green parts are toxic, causing gastrointestinal distress.

  27. Chrysanthemum: Contains pyrethrins, leading to gastrointestinal upset, drooling, and diarrhea.

  28. Castor Bean (Ricinus communis): Contains ricin, a highly toxic protein causing severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially death.

  29. Gladiola: The bulbs are toxic, causing vomiting, drooling, and lethargy.

  30. Mistletoe (Viscum album): Berries and leaves are toxic, causing gastrointestinal disorders and cardiovascular collapse.

  31. Oxalis (Oxalis spp.): Causes kidney failure, vomiting, and diarrhea.

  32. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata): Can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

  33. Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae): Toxic parts can cause mild nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness.

  34. Elephant Ear (Alocasia spp.): Similar to Caladium, causes intense oral irritation and swelling.

  35. Alocasia (Alocasia spp.): Causes oral irritation, pain, swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and breathing.

  36. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia): Contains calcium oxalate crystals, causing skin and mouth irritation and stomachache.

  37. Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima): Mildly toxic, causing nausea, vomiting, and skin irritation.

  38. Dracaena spp.: Can cause vomiting, salivation, and lack of appetite.

  39. Primrose (Primula spp.): Can cause mild gastrointestinal signs and dermatitis.

  40. Monkshood (Aconitum spp.): Highly toxic, leading to gastrointestinal upset, heart palpitations, and potentially death.

  41. Lupine (Lupinus spp.): Can cause lethargy, vomiting, and breathing difficulties.

  42. Morning Glory (Ipomoea spp.): Seeds are especially toxic, causing hallucinations, vomiting, and diarrhea.

  43. Sweet Pea (Lathyrus spp.): Seeds are toxic, leading to muscle tremors, seizures, and lethargy.

  44. Wisteria: Seeds and pods can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and depression.

  45. Lantana: Ingesting can lead to liver damage, vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness.

  46. Hydrangea: Contains cyanogenic glycoside, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

  47. Iris: The rhizomes are toxic, leading to gastrointestinal upset, lethargy, and skin irritation.

  48. Narcissus: Bulbs cause intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, convulsions, and cardiac abnormalities.

  49. Vinca (Periwinkle): Contains toxic alkaloids, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.

  50. Oregano: In large amounts, can cause gastrointestinal upset, skin irritation, and depression.

This list highlights the importance of researching and ensuring the safety of plants before introducing them into a home shared with cats. If you suspect your cat has ingested any part of these plants, contact your veterinarian immediately.