Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Gift Plant Reminder

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 and 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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Sparkle the Designer Cat said...

Thanks for this post! We (uh, meaning mostly me) chew on every green thing that comes in the house, so my human really can't have any plants or flowers here.

orbit said...

Great post. I know of at least one of us who got into something and got so sick she had to be put to sleep. Very helpful info. for those who may not know.

Tillie and Georgia said...

Very timely advice Mo!!!
Mom usually keeps any plants well away from us if she ever gets them in the first place ;) heehee
Purrs Tillie & Georgia,
Tiger,Treasure and JJ

Laura and Taffeta Rose said...

Thanks for the post, Mo. It never hurts to remind folks of these dangers.

We have been lucky; our cats have never been plant nibblers. Usually just the rub of a cheek to mark the leaf is enough. And 99% of the plants are non-toxic. We haven't had a poinsettia or lily in many years.

Laura and Taffy

Cat Chat With Caren And Cody said...

super important post and what i like most about it is that you also included the photos.

Many people will post a list but often without the photos we don't know some of the plants.


I never knew about all of these plants, thank you for the wonderful post!!!!!!!!

Everycat said...

Thanks for posting this, we knew lilies were lethal but we had no idea that Crysanthimums were too! We don't usually eat plants in the house or garden, but this last summer Oliver suddenly decided that his mission in life was to eat the day lilies in the garden, so the apes had to dig them up. Took them a whole day too! hehe

Luff Gerry

Roy said...

And here's my thanks for the day's post Mo! We have only artificial flowers, but only in cat proof places. Our 4 boys will even chew on the plastic and silk flowers. We lost one little girl kit years back because of Lilies in the house.