Many Plants Are Toxic To Cats

September 14, 2017


According to the ASPCA’s official database, there are close to 400 plants that are toxic to cats. For pet lovers, that’s a lot of plants to avoid. And what’s especially troublesome is that the list isn’t comprehensive; it’s a compilation of the most common toxic plants. There are more unsafe plants that didn’t make the list. On the flip side, the database names well over 500 plants that are cat-safe.


With an internet connection and some awareness, it’s easy to plan a safe garden for your feline friend. In areas like ours gardeners wisely use many drought resistant plants in their yards, including a big offender – sago palms. This plant peppers the landscape of most Southern California homes.


If you have cats that go outside, it’s a good idea to take a critical look at your landscape. If you have questionable plants in your yard or if you intend to plant something new, consult the ASPCA list of toxic and non-toxic plants to make cat-safe choices. (It’s also a good idea to consult the list before bringing home any houseplant).  

Here is a partial list of cat-safe flowering annuals:

Bachelor buttons (Centaurea)
Begonia (Begonia sp.)
Butterfly flower (Schianthus sp.)
Calendula (Callendula sp.)
Coleus (Coleus sp.)
Cosmos (Cosmos sp.)
Impatiens (Impatiens sp.)
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum sp.)
New Guinea Impatiens (Balsaminaceae)
Petunia (Petunia sp.)
Primrose (Primula sp.)
Snapdragons (Antirrhinum sp.)
Spider flower (Cleome sp.)
Violet (Viola sp.)
Zinnia (Zinnia sp.)

Here is a partial list of cat-safe flowering perennials:

Astilbe (Astilbe sp.)
Bee Balm (Monarda sp.)
Bugbane (Cimifuga racemosa)
Canna Lilly (Cannaceae)
Catmint/catnip (Nepeta sp.)
Columbine (Aquilegia sp.)
Coneflowers (Echinacea purpura)
Coral Bells (Heuchera sp.)
Goat’s Beard (Aruncus dioicus)
Phlox (Phlox sp.)
Queen of the Meadow (Filipendula ulmaria)
Roses (Rose sp.)
Turf Lilly (Liriope sp.)
Yellow Corydalis (Corydalis lutea)


Gardening is a wonderful hobby. In addition to beautifying your yard, it provides a nice opportunity to spend quality time with your four-legged friends, soaking up the fresh air and sunshine. Choosing non-toxic plants is a good first step in creating a safe haven in your back yard, but there’s more to it than that. Be aware of other possible outdoor dangers.

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