Sunday, December 06, 2009

Caution: Holiday Plants

The ASPCA lists many common plants that are considered highly toxic to pets, including many given as gifts during the Holiday Season.  My added text is in red.

Irritating sap, can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach, sometimes causing vomiting, but generally over-rated in toxicity.  
Keep any fallen leaves & petals picked up, and if your cat gnaws on the plant, put it into an out-of-reach place.  I've found that usually one taste of the milky sap is enough to keep cats from chewing on Pointsettias.

easter lily Pictures, Images and Photos

Members of the Lilium spp. are considered to be highly toxic to cats. While the poisonous component has not yet been identified, it is clear that with even ingestions of very small amounts of the plant, severe kidney damage could result.
Many types of oriental lilies are included in flower arrangements, and the Easter Lily shows up in the spring in grocery stores to tempt us with its bright white petals and fragrance.  However, this is one flower that should be kept well-away from cats because of the danger to feline kidneys.  Any lilies in fresh flower arrangements also can be dangerous to house pets!

Members of the Rhododenron spp. contain substances known as grayantoxins, which can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and depression of the central nervous system in animals. Severe azalea poisoning could ultimately lead to coma and death from cardiovascular collapse. 
Another popular flowering plant that shows up in grocery stores and florists year 'round, azaleas come in many colors and are very tempting to purchase as a quick gift.  Keep azaleas outside as a landscape plant.  They are deer-resisitant to deer for a reason!

Cyclamen Pictures, Images and Photos
Cylamen species contain cyclamine, but the highest concentration of this toxic component is typically located in the root portion of the plant. If consumed, Cylamen can produce significant gastrointestinal irritation, including intense vomiting. Fatalities have also been reported in some cases. 
Who can resist this flowering house plant in the grocery store?  Well, you should.  Not only is it toxic, but because almost all cyclamen plants are prone to mite infestations, the plants are drenched in insecticides by the florist industry - insecticides that are treated to remain on the leaves to keep the mites off - these insecticides can rub off the leaves and make humans and pets ill if ingested, making the plants a no-no in my book.

Kalanchoe Pictures, Images and Photos
This plant contains components that can produce gastrointestinal irritation, as well as those that are toxic to the heart, and can seriously affect cardiac rhythm and rate. 
Okay, this one I did not know about until I read it on the ASPCA website.  I grew up with cats and kalanchoes living in harmony, and no cat I ever had tried to chew the fleshy succulent leaves.  These plants are very popular in the mass-market florist trade because their long-blooming sturdy flowers can handle transportation and have a very long shelf-life.  Found year-round at almost every grocery store's florist nook, they're great houseplants, but keep them where cats cannot reach them.

amaryllis Pictures, Images and Photos
Common garden plants popular around the holidays, Amaryllis species contain toxins that can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia and tremors.  
My favorite blooming houseplant of all-time.  The flowers usually aren't attractive to cats to eat, and neither are the floppy, strappy leaves.  I have had both amaryllis and cats for years.  My advice - just keep the leaves up away from cats, and provide cat grass as a more tempting alternative to nibble upon.  If you don't feel like taking care of the bulb after it has bloomed, give it to a gardening friend who can cherish it.

These popular blooms are part of the Compositae family, which contain pyrethrins that may produce gastrointestinal upset, including drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, if eaten. In certain cases depression and loss of coordination may also develop if enough of any part of the plant is consumed. 
The common mum.  As cut flowers and seasonal potted plants, it is hard to get away from a mum.  Pyrethins are used as insecticides, so best to keep mums away from nibblers! 

Peace Lily Pictures, Images and Photos
Peace Lily (AKA Mauna Loa Peace Lily)
Spathiphyllum contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest.  Many years ago, Spooker chewed on some Peace Lily leaves and got blisters on her lips and gums, so I know first-hand that this common houseplant can be harmful.  If you have it in your home, be aware that it has the potential to be hazardous.

A video by the ASPCA of toxic plants can be viewed by clicking here.
Keep your pets safe and happy, all year, but especially during the holiday season!
~ Not The Mama

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Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the reminder. I know how quickly my cats can get at something which can be bad for them. Even the trimmings on our Christmas tree or food snacks left around. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to all and thank you for the reminder.

The Paw Relations said...

Thank you for this very imprtant information. we have Peace Lillies, but mum is now going to find a new home for them.

Furkidsmom said...

That's good information. We have a lot of fake poinsettias in our house. Mom would kill the real ones anyway.

Sniffie and the Florida Furkids

meemsnyc said...

Thank you for the list and information! So many plants! We'll be sure to not have them in our house!

cclark0412 said...

Thanks for the info! We're new to this site. Austin will be sharing his "house panther-ness" shortly! We've had a lot of Easter lillies in our house over the years, but no more thanks to your handy guide!

Austin (w/ Nico & JayJay) :)

ML said...

Wonderful post.
I had also heard that bamboo is not good. We had pretty bamboo stalks in water and Smokey kept carrying them off to chew on them.
Sol and BJ tried to eat tha ivy, that went too, although we never heard if that is poisonous.
We don't haf any plants indoors except kitty grass and cat nip.
Six kitties in enuff decorashun anyhow.
Love & Purrs,

loki said...

Thank you so much for the info.