The following information was kindly researched, compiled and provided by Laverne Hyman.
NB: Please note that while this is important information, we are not veterinarians and the information below serves as a guideline only to inform and assist, but if you ever suspect toxicity please consult your veterinarian urgently.
Toxicity is the degree to which a substance can damage the animal, and can either affect the entire animal, and / or an organ of the animal. Toxic effects are dose-dependent, and dependent on the substance. For example even a harmless substance like water can lead to water intoxication when taken in too high a dose; whereas a highly toxic substance like snake venom has toxicity at low doses, yet for this same venom there is a dose below which there is no detectable toxic effect. Toxicity is species-specific, so whilst many substances are toxic to both dogs and cats, there are those that are only toxic to one or the other species. Cats especially are not able to metabolize toxins in their kidneys and liver in the same way that humans do, which makes them more vulnerable to toxic substances, and at greater risk when exposed to certain substances which may be safe for humans.
Household animal companions are much more vulnerable than people to toxin exposure in and around the home, since they are smaller and in contact with or closer to floors, carpets, garage floors, gardens, lawns and restricted areas that may contain chemicals, pesticides and other poisons. Their natural curiosity, coupled with a lack of awareness about toxic hazards, makes them more likely to encounter substances harmful to their health. Animals also have faster metabolisms and smaller lungs than we do, so toxins affect them more quickly and more harshly. Also their bodies have to work harder to try and eliminate these toxins. Cats and dogs may not have to eat the substance directly, but they may walk or lie on them and subsequently ingest them when grooming or licking themselves. Free-roaming cats and even dogs may pick up seeds and plant parts in their fur, and ingest these when grooming.
MOST COMMON POTENTIAL TOXINS FOR DOGS AND CATS FOUND IN AND AROUND THE HOME
- Human food
- Human medication
- Veterinary pain relievers in over-dose
- Household cleaning products and chemicals
- Insecticides, parasiticides and rodenticides
- Aromatherapy essential oils and potpourri oils
- Glow-sticks and glow-jewellery
- Coins and zinc
- Garden chemicals and fertilizers
- Plants, flowers and herbs
SOME VISIBLE SYMPTOMS FOLLOWING INGESTION OR CONTACT WITH TOXIC SUBSTANCES
- Urinating, diarrhea
- Profuse salivation, difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting, excessive drinking
- Tongue swelling and suffocation, breathing distress, coughing
- Fast, slow, or irregular heart beat
- Twitching, shivering, tremors, convulsions
- Dizziness, stupor, staggering, weakness, drowsiness, muscle paralysis, collapse, coma
- Pupil dilation, vision impairment or blindness
- Skin inflammation, burns, blisters
- Excitement, confusion, depression
If you suspect your animal companion has come into contact with or ingested any toxic items, call your nearest 24 hour emergency vet immediately.
Other useful numbers to keep on hand:
Griffon Poison Information Centre (Dr Gerhard Verdoom 082 446 8946)
Tygerberg Poison Information Centre 021 808 9111
SA Poison Information Centre 021 689 5227
Pet Poison Helpline www.petpoisonhelpline.com
The sooner you get your animal companion help, the better the likelihood for recovery. Remember to have the ingested substance with you, if possible, to give information over the phone, or to give to the veterinary team in person. Getting to the veterinarian should be your priority.
EN-ROUTE TO THE VET
If the trip to the veterinarian will take some time, they may suggest inducing vomiting in certain circumstances only. Follow the veterinarian's instructions strictly. If advised by the veterinarian you can also give activated charcoal capsules (crushed and mixed with water and syringed for cats). This can be purchased at a pharmacy and binds to toxins while still in the stomach, preventing absorption into the blood stream. Never attempt any home remedy without contacting your veterinarian first, and always take the animal to the veterinarian anyway.
This remains the number one toxic human food animals ingest, and can cause kidney failure and even fatality. The chemical causing toxicity in chocolate is theobromine (a relative to caffeine). The darker, more bitter, and more concentrated the chocolate is, the more dangerous it is. People are often unaware of this human food being toxic to their animals, or think that because their animal ingests it without visible symptoms that there is no problem. Remember this is dose dependent and will affect individuals differently, but is not worth the risk to give even small amounts as you will not know when the dose becomes toxic until symptoms of toxicity are prevalent. Also do not assume there is no damage when no visible symptoms are observed. Cumulative kidney damage may be occurring without you realizing it, and once symptoms show it is too late to reverse.
Chives, onions and garlic (raw, cooked or powdered)
The sulfoxides and disulfides in garlic and onions are poisonous for cats and dogs, but especially for cats. These substances may cause anaemia by damaging red blood cells, which may lead to internal organ damage, organ failure or even fatality. Onions have larger quantities of sulfoxides and disulfides than garlic so are more toxic, but both should be avoided to be safe.
Grapes and raisins
Eating grapes or raisins could cause the sudden onset of kidney failure in some small animals, especially in dogs, but also in cats and other small animals. This is controversial because not every dog or cat that eats grapes or raisins will show signs of toxicity or kidney failure. Therefore to err on the side of caution, don't offer grapes or raisins as treats, or foods containing them, and keep them away from your animal.
Apricots, cherry, peach kernels
While these fruits are not toxic, the kernels contain cyanide. This is toxic to cats. Cyanide inhibits the enzyme in cats that allows their cells to transport oxygen through their body efficiently.
Alcohol in beverages, cakes, desserts and yeast dough
Alcoholic beverages or foods like cake or dessert containing alcohol should never be given to animals. Their liver does not process alcohol as effectively as ours and the toxic effects are more dramatic. If your cat or dog eats yeast, then the alcohol from the yeast is absorbed into their bloodstream from their stomach, possibly rapidly causing the effects of alcohol poisoning.
Found primarily in coffee, coffee grounds, tea, carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, body-building or 'fat-burning' supplements, and diet pills. Dogs and cats appear to be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than people. While 1 or 2 laps of coffee, tea or carbonated soft drink will not contain sufficient caffeine to cause poisoning in most small animals, moderate amounts of coffee, tea bags or even 1 or 2 diet or supplement pills could easily be fatal in small dogs or cats.
Many sugar-free sweets, gums and sweeteners contain xylitol, and when cats and dogs ingest this, it can result in a life-threatening drop in blood sugar or even liver failure. Even some toothpaste now contain xylitol, so it is best to keep those out of reach of curious dogs.
If your cat or dog eats too much salt, it can lead to dehydration and sodium ion poisoning. With animals that eat dry foods, the dehydration element is more pronounced, so salty gravies should be avoided to prevent strain on the kidneys.
Over 50% of poisonings to cats and dogs are from human medication. The most common scenario is where an animal guardian drops a pill on the floor and the dog eats it before you can pick it up. Or people purposely give their pets human medication in an effort to medicate them. Many medicines that are safe for humans could be fatal to your animal companion. Even seemingly safe human medication such as Disprin given to small animals, in what we may think is a safe dose, can potentially have fatal results. Also dogs are curious about packaging and small items and may easily eat medicines left on counters, bedside pedestals or inside handbags. Always keep your medication out of your animals reach and stored away from their medicine so as not to mix them up inadvertently.
The most common human medicines to cause more severe toxicity in cats and dogs:
Antidepressants e.g. Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro
Of all prescription medications, antidepressants account for the highest number of animal poisonings. They cause neurological problems like sedation, incoordination, agitation, tremors and seizures in cats and dogs. Some of these antidepressant drugs are occasionally used for cats and dogs in appropriate doses, however overdoses can lead to serious neurological problems such as sedation, incoordination, tremors and seizures. Some antidepressants also have a stimulant effect leading to a dangerously elevated heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Household animal companions, especially cats, seem to enjoy the taste of Effexor and often eat the entire pill, and that is sufficient to cause serious poisoning.
Aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid, and salicylate e.g. Disprin, Aspirin, Pepto-Bismol
Aspirin toxicity is much more severe in cats than in dogs as they are unable to metabolize and excrete aspirin quickly enough. The toxic effects include bone marrow suppression, bleeding, inflammation of the liver, stomach ulceration, kidney disease and even kidney failure.
Acetaminophen e.g. Tylenol, Paracetamol, Panado
Even though this drug is very safe for humans and even for children, this is not so for dogs and especially cats. One tablet of acetaminophen is enough to cause damage to a cat's red blood cells, compromising their ability to carry oxygen. Just two extra-strength tablets can be fatal to your cat. In dogs, acetaminophen toxicity could lead to liver failure and even red blood cell damage in larger doses.
NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) e.g. Advil, Neurofen, Ibuprofen, Aleve
These can cause serious harm including stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as kidney failure. These should never be given to animals without consulting a veterinarian.
ADD/ADHD medications e.g. Concerta, Adderall, Ritalin, Daytrana
Medications used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder contain powerful stimulants such as amphetamines and methylphenidate. Even small doses by cats and dogs can cause life-threatening tremors, seizures, elevated body temperatures and heart problems.
Benzodiazepines and sleep aids e.g. Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta
These medications reduce anxiety and help humans sleep better. But in dogs and cats they may have the opposite effect. Many dogs and cats that have ingested sleep aids become agitated as opposed to sedated. Also they may cause severe lethargy, incoordination and retarded breathing in dogs and cats. Some forms of benzodiazepines can cause liver failure in cats.
Beta-blockers e.g. Tenormin, Toprol, Coreg
Beta-blockers are also used to treat high blood pressure and heart conditions and even in small doses could cause serious poisoning in cats and dogs. Overdoses can result in life-threatening decreases in blood pressure and a very slow heart rate.
VETERINARY PAIN RELIEVERS
Specifically COX-2 inhibitors like Rimadyl (Carprofen), Dermaxx and Pervicox. These are veterinary specific, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs commonly used for osteoarthritis, inflammation and pain control in dogs. People can be tempted to increase the dosage in an attempt to relieve pain even more, or the dog finds the medication and ingests more than it should. If ingested in large amounts it can result in severe gastric ulceration and acute kidney failure.
HOUSEHOLD CLEANING PRODUCTS AND CHEMICALS
Domestic animals may have a keen sense of smell which alerts them to danger, but they have no defense against the hidden dangers of chemicals in your home. Because your animal companions are touching the floor and ground inside and out, they come into direct contact with the residue of cleaning and polishing agents. They then lick themselves and ingest quantities of the toxic substances. They are also smaller and breathe faster than humans, making them even more vulnerable than children to toxic exposure. Even when toxic cleaners are put away and closed, the vapors left behind can continue to harm both us and our animal companions. As an animal guardian, you will need to identify the presence of these hazards and take preventive measures to ensure your animal companion's long term good health.
Sprays, detergents and polishes
Cleaning products with ingredients such as bleach, ammonia, chlorine, glycol ethers or formaldehyde can put animals at risk for cancer, anaemia, liver and kidney damage.
Strong acidic or alkaline cleaners pose significant risk due to their corrosive nature, and include toilet bowl cleaners, rust removers, drain cleaners, lye and calcium/lime removers.
Ammonia, found in oven cleaners and window cleaning formulations, is an irritant to the mucous membranes. Chlorine is a toxic respiratory irritant that can damage animals skin, eyes or other membranes. It can be found in all-purpose cleaners, automatic dishwashing detergents, tile scrubs, disinfecting wipes, toilet-bowl cleaners, laundry detergents and mildew removers. Chlorine is heavier than air and hangs in low-lying areas where animals live.
Laundry detergent residue left behind on clothes and animal blankets can be harmful to your animal, especially those that chew on their bedding. Toilet bowl cleaners may be ingested by animals who have the habit of drinking from the toilet bowl. Even "natural" cleaning agents can be harmful e.g. citrus based detergents. Cats cannot metabolize citrus oils adequately and this can cause severe toxicity. We may clean floors, baths or surfaces which the cat walks on, or they may even lick residual water from showers, basins and baths where these detergents have been used.
There are several brands on the market now which are earth-friendly and toxin-free.
Most antifreeze formulations in use today contain ethylene glycol as the principal ingredient. The sweet smell of ethylene glycol attracts animals, but it is deadly if ingested even in small amounts. As little as half a teaspoon of spilled antifreeze can kill an average-sized cat. Unless you catch it early, the damage to the animal's kidneys can be irreversible. Spilled or leaked antifreeze also washes into rivers and lakes, harming fish and other wildlife. Animal guardians should be aware of the potential danger of antifreeze, and keep an eye out for any small green puddles in the garage or the pavement where cars are parked.
Use "Low Tox" antifreeze made of propylene glycol. This is just as effective as ethylene glycol, but it is a little more expensive. The added cost is hidden - the mix ratio for ethylene glycol is 50:50 (antifreeze/water), while the propylene glycol mix is 60:40. But considering how little antifreeze car owners need to buy, the added cost is a small price to pay for safety to animals and the environment.
Formaldehyde is present in many new home furnishings, household cleaners and some construction materials. It is considered toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Formaldehyde has been shown to cause cancer in animals. Animals can inhale formaldehyde from new fabrics, furniture, carpets, curtains, wood-veneer furniture, laminated flooring, wood paneling and doors made of particleboard, plywood, and medium density fiberboard. These pressed woods are bonded with resins containing formaldehyde. Formaldehyde emissions are highest from new pressed wood furniture, drapery and unwashed new fabrics such as upholstery fabrics, and will gradually subside over time. New furnishings which contain formaldehyde should be set outdoors for a few days to "out-gas" before bringing them into the home. Rooms which contain new furniture or draperies should be well ventilated. Wash new clothing and bedding before use to remove formaldehyde-containing fabric finishes. Consider buying solid wood or used furniture. Air purifiers are ineffective at removing gaseous pollutants and should not be used to mitigate formaldehyde off-gassing. Ventilation is the preferred option.
Hydrocarbons (paint, fuel, oil, varnish)
- Dog kennels should be made of solid wood. Plywood and pressed wood products should be avoided, but if they are used they should be painted on both sides
- New dog and cat cushions and blankets should be washed or left outdoors to off-gas for several days before letting the animal come into contact with them
- Dogs and cats kept in apartments or small homes during the day should have access to fresh air. Keep a screened window open if possible, especially when new furniture, furnishings, carpets or floors have been installed
These should be kept out of reach and locked away as these are highly toxic to cats and dogs.
INSECTICIDES, PARASITICIDES AND RODENTICIDES
Avoid using insecticide sprays on surfaces where the animal will come into contact with it. Even small amounts can have toxic effects on small animals. Keep bait stations out of reach from curious dogs. To control ants near your animal's feeding station, use sprinkled cinnamon powder at the source of the ant entrance, but in such a manner that the animal does not walk over it. Placing at the crack, skirting board or against the wall is best. This is extremely effective and will deter ants immediately. You can also create a moat around the food through which the ants will not swim, by placing the food bowl in a larger bowl with soapy water. They manage to get across plain water so just add a little soap.
Mothballs are impregnated with either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, both toxic substances. They work by releasing toxic vapors which build up within airtight spaces and kill any moths or moth larvae. These vapors escape cupboards and unsealed areas causing headaches, respiratory distress, eye irritation and many other symptoms. Ingestion causes toxic poisoning leading to liver damage, respiratory failure, seizures, heart arrhythmia, and the possibility of death. The ingestion of just one mothball can produce significant illness. Repeated inhalation of fumes or ingestion of a few mothballs can be fatal to cats and dogs.
Flea control is a challenge for most animal guardians, but it is worth knowing that these chemical poisons are designed to poison the tick or flea, and so they should only be used when absolutely necessary and strictly according to dosage instructions. These products come in the form of powders, collars, spot applications, flea bombs, dips, sprays, oral medication, shampoo. Remember that small children coming into contact with these toxins via the animals are also at risk. Always read the package insert, and you may be surprised at the information. Also Google "MSDS"(material safety data sheets) and the name of the product to get the facts before using these poisonous substances.
It is important to note that flea repellent products labelled as 'natural' may still be toxic to your animal e.g. d'limonene, derived from citrus peels and found in many natural anti-flea products, can be highly toxic to cats. Flea sprays and dips which contain "all natural pyrethrin" and pyrethroids (a derivative of the chrysanthemum flower) are highly toxic to cats. Borax (borate powder), although 'natural' and safer than the chemical flea poisins, is still highly toxic. Dog flea and tick products are toxic to cats.
- Electric flea traps, also called 'plug-in' flea traps, are effective for controlling flea populations and are safe for indoor use around pets. These traps are inexpensive and easy to use
- Diatomaceous earth is a nontoxic substance which will control flea populations in the home, and will also kill other insect pests. Add to food and also sprinkle carefully on pet beds and in nooks and cranies. Research thoroughly before use and avoid contact with and near the eyes
- For homes with persistent flea control challenges, it is recommended to use electric flea traps to reduce the active flea population, followed by the application of diatomaceous earth to control emerging populations over time.
De-worming definitely has its place but always follow manufacturers instructions so as not to over-dose with this toxic substance.
Mouse and rat poisons are all toxic to cats and dogs, and depending on which type is ingested, can result in internal bleeding, brain swelling, kidney failure, severe vomiting and bloat. There is also potential for relay toxicity which means that any animal that eats a poisoned rodent will also be affected by the poison.
AROMATHERAPY ESSENTIAL OILS AND POTPOURRI OILS
Essential oils are highly concentrated volatile organic compounds of plants. Essential oils have become popular for their use in aromatherapy and alternative medicine, and although relatively safe for human use these can be extremely dangerous to animals. They are used in cleaning products, herbal remedies, perfumes, personal care products, and liquid potpourris. There have been cat fatalities reported after a single use of tea-tree "pet shampoo". Rather avoid these ingredients, especially for cats. If you bath with essential oils, clean and rinse the bath thoroughly as some cats just love to lie in a bath thus getting the oils on their fur, or they may lick the water remaining after someone has drained the bath. Cats lack the liver enzymes necessary to effectively metabolize these chemicals, therefore avoid contact altogether. Due to their concentration and the fact that they penetrate skin and are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, amounts as small as a drop or two may be toxic and even fatal. While there may not be an initial adverse reaction, the effects of essential oils or potpourri oils can be cumulative and manifest themselves later.
Many liquid potpourri products and essential oils, including oil of cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree, wintergreen, and ylang ylang, are poisonous to animals. Both ingestion and skin exposure can be toxic. Oils such as lavender or tea tree commonly used "neat" on human skin should never be used in "neat" form directly on an animal's skin as it penetrates and enters the bloodstream, may be licked and ingested, or may even burn their delicate skin.
Keep these products out of reach of your animals. Check that bottles are always kept closed, and that they do not leak or leave residue on surfaces where animals may come into contact with these highly concentrated and potentially toxic substances.
GLOW-STICKS AND GLOW-JEWELLERY
Glow sticks contain an oily liquid called dibutyl phthalate, an ingredient often used in manufacturing vinyl. Called DBP, the liquid may be clear or coloured and has a bitter taste. That bitter taste will be the first thing your animal notices after biting or breaking open a glow-stick. Although not fatal, this substance is toxic. Symptoms may include vomiting, blood in the stool, excessive drooling, agitation or aggression, gagging or heaving, skin irritation, eye irritation, dehydration, loss of appetite, hyperactivity or foaming at the mouth.
The biggest reaction from an animal eating a glow stick usually comes from the awful taste that can remain in their mouth. Use a soaked towel to wash the tongue and rinse the mouth (do not use soap). You can also offer water or milk to help dissipate the taste. Wash the body to remove any additional liquid that may have made its way onto your animal's coat. If you are not sure if any residue is left on your animal, take them into a dark room to check for any residual glow.
COINS AND METAL
Zinc poisoning can occur in dogs and cats if coins and metal pieces are ingested (e.g. nuts, bolts, hardware and other galvanized metals). Certain topical ointments such as nappy rash creams may also contain zinc-based ingredients. While some coins can be safely ingested and passed out in the stool a few days later, some types of coins contain large amounts of zinc, resulting in zinc poisoning. Some copper coins are only copper coated, and if ingested can produce zinc poisoning. When the zinc-containing coin enters the acid environment of the stomach, the zinc breaks down, causing an upset stomach and absorption into the blood stream. Zinc poisoning can lead to destruction of red blood cells, liver damage, kidney failure and heart failure. Signs of zinc poisoning include weakness, pale or yellow gums, vomiting, increased breathing, increased heart rate, discoloured urine, lack of appetite, and even collapse. Removal of the coin is important, or there could be severe damage to the red blood cells, which could then result in severe anaemia. Without treatment, ingestion of zinc can be fatal. If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested a metal piece or coin an x-ray should be done immediately.
GARDEN CHEMICALS, HERBICIDES AND FERTILIZERS
Lawn and plant fertilizers
Lawn fertilizers are often combined with herbicides and pesticides, and are dangerous to animals and children. These have been linked with liver and kidney damage, neurotoxicity, cancer and even death. Even if you do not use chemical-based lawn fertilizers, your neighbours may. Animals are more vulnerable than humans to lawn care chemicals since their bare feet are in direct contact, and they often roll on, sniff and eat the grass. Not only do many lawn fertilizers burn the animals paws on contact, but the toxic effects of them being ingested results in internal toxicity and damage. Ensure that the alleged "pet-safe" lawn fertilizer has no herbicides or pesticides. Watch out for carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, chloroethane, highly toxic 2,4-D (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) and disulfoton.
Corn gluten is a natural, nontoxic alternative to commercial 'weed 'n feed' products. Corn gluten is an organic fertilizer and a pre-emergent weed killer which has become popular for use in residential lawns as well as school fields and golf courses. Exposure to corn gluten is safe for animals.
An excellent source on how to assess a product: www.liquidfertilizerorganic.com.
Be aware. Know where your animal goes when outside the home, especially during seasons when lawn fertilizers are applied. Wipe or wash your dog's paws after running on lawns which may have been recently treated with fertilizers.
Bone meal, blood meal, feather meal and iron-based products
These may be especially tasty, but are dangerous. Large amounts can cause pancreatitis, or even form a concretion in the stomach, obstructing the gastro-intestinal tract.
Garden herbicides and insecticides
Herbicides, insecticide baits, sprays and granules are often used in gardens without consideration of the effects these chemicals may have on pets. Slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde are toxic, and can be lethal if ingested. Metaldehyde toxicity causes rapid onset of neurological symptoms that can be fatal if untreated. Signs of poisoning begin within one to four hours of exposure. Repeated seizures due to metaldehyde poisoning can elevate body temperature, which can lead to complications similar to those observed in pets suffering from heatstroke. Affected animals usually require hospitalization for 24 to 72 hours after metaldehyde ingestion. The alternative snail bait with iron phosphate is in fact toxic to animals when ingested, contrary to most claims that it is "pet safe". The Animal Poison Control Centre lists the symptoms of iron phosphate toxicity (lethargy, vomiting with blood, severe dehydration and collapse).
Fly bait and garden insecticides often contain methomyl or carbofuran, which can cause seizures and respiratory arrest in dogs and cats. Organophosphate (e.g. disulfoton, often found in rose-care products) can be life threatening. Other organophosphate insecticides commonly used include coumaphos, cyothioate, diazinon, fampfhur, fention, phosmet, and tetrachlorvinphos. These insecticides inhibit cholinesterases and acetylcholinesterase, essential enzymes which break down acetylcholine, causing seizures and shaking due to continuous nervous transmission to nervous tissue, organs and muscles.
- The Flies Be Gone fly trap uses nontoxic sterilized food materials as bait, and is very effective for outdoor fly control
- Holey Moley non-toxic mole control uses the natural ingredients Castor Oil and Fuller's Earth to repel moles. These ingredients are safe for pets, children and the environment
- Use natural Slug Control e.g. Salt, Seaweed, copper strips, diatomaceous earth, electronic slug fences, overturned grapefruit halves, beer, lava rock, coffee, garlic etc. For more ideas: www.eartheasy.com
- Use Nontoxic Garden Pest Control for nontoxic solutions to most common outdoor insect pest problems
- If pesticides are used, always store them in inaccessible areas, and read the manufacturer's label carefully for proper usage and storage
For additional information: www.beyondpesticides.org
Some of the more common plants that are toxic to cats:
- Lilies, from the Liliaceae family are exceptionally dangerous; ingesting even a small amount of plant matter can cause kidney failure and death. Liliaceae lilies include Easter lilies, Asian lilies and red lilies. Remove these from flower arrangements if you have cats
- Azaleas and rhododendrons
- English yew
- The bulbs of tulips and daffodils can cause convulsions, heart damage and death
- Sago palms, castor bean plants and cyclamens are all poisonous, but sago palm seeds, castor beans and cyclamen roots are the most deadly parts of these plants
- Ingesting cannabis sativa can cause seizures and coma and can also result in death
- Mistletoe can cause cardiovascular collapse in cats
- Many poisonous plants do not cause permanent damage, but may induce short-term vomiting or diarrhea until the toxin is out of the cat's system
- Begonia, eucalyptus and chrysanthemum plants can all cause gastrointestinal upset and excessive salivation
- Schefflera and pothos are common houseplants that cause vomiting
- Aloe Vera gel is safe for cats, but the outer portions of the leaves can cause tremors and stomach upset
- English ivy's toxins cause vomiting and stomach pain
- Poinsettia is only mildly toxic, affecting some cats with a temporary bout of vomiting
- Kalanchoe plants may cause gastrointestinal upset as well as cardiac rhythm abnormalities
- Foxglove is extremely dangerous for cats causing cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac failure and death
- Comfrey can cause liver damage when given to cats
- Indian borage (Spanish thyme) can cause bloody vomiting or diarrhea
- Garlic can cause vomiting, hemolytic anemia and an increased heart rate
- Evening primrose may cause mild vomiting
- Pregnant cats should not be exposed to barberry, goldenseal, black cohosh or blue cohosh