9 Popular Houseplants That Are Toxic to Cats

Brown striped cat sitting in front of a houseplant and cushion

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

Houseplants are common in nearly every home. They brighten your living space, help purify indoor air, and have been shown to help reduce anxiety and depression—plus many people find caring for plants therapeutic. Unfortunately, if you have cats there are houseplants you should not bring into your home due to their toxic properties—especially since cats are notoriously mischievous and prone to chewing on things. Here are some popular houseplants that you should avoid if you have cats.

  • 01 of 09

    Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

    closeup of a peace lily

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack 

    Peace lilies are one of the most common flowering houseplants. Their dark leaves, white flowers, and low maintenance requirements make them a very popular choice. However, peace lilies contain calcium oxalates which are toxic to cats. They are only dangerous when ingested and are completely safe to touch.

    • Toxic Properties: Insoluble calcium oxalates
  • 02 of 09

    Aloe Vera

    aloe vera plant

    The Spruce / Michael Marquand

    Aloe vera plants are a staple in many homes thanks to how easy they are to care for. Aloe vera is characterized by thick, succulent-like leaves with jagged edges that grow upwards from a rosette-like base. While Aloe may have therapeutic properties for humans, it is toxic to cats if ingested.

    • Toxic Properties: Saponins, anthraquinones
  • 03 of 09

    Cutleaf Philodendron (Monstera Deliciosa)

    A Monstera Deliciosa sits in a white pot in front of a white wall.

     Mykeyruna / Getty Images

    Monstera deliciosa is one of the most trendy tropical houseplants featured extensively on social media and in home decor thanks to its stunning tropical foliage. Also referred to as "Swiss cheese plants" or "Split-leaf philodendrons," Monsteras are relatively low maintenance, making them an attractive addition to any home. Unfortunately, Monstera deliciosa contains insoluble calcium oxalates making them highly toxic to cats.

    • Toxic Properties: Insoluble calcium oxalates
  • 04 of 09

    Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

    hanging pothos plant

    The Spruce / Candace Madonna

    Due to its low maintenance nature, pothos is an attractive houseplant for both amateur and experienced plant owners alike. The attractive drape and ease of care make it a tempting addition to your home, particularly when you’re trying to spruce up your home decor on a budget. Though pothos is completely safe to touch, it is toxic to cats.

    • Toxic Properties: Insoluble calcium oxalates
    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Jade Plants (Crassula)

    closeup of a jade plant

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Jade plants, also known as "money plants" or "dollar plants," are a type of succulent that is easy to grow and thought to bring good luck and fortune to their owners. They are characterized by dark green fleshy leaves and thick, wood-like stems. There are several different varieties of jade plants, all belonging to the family Crassula. Unfortunately, jade plants are highly toxic to cats, dogs, and horses.

    • Toxic Properties: Unknown cause of toxicity but all parts of the plant can cause reactions in cats
  • 06 of 09

    Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)

    closeup of a snake plant

    The Spruce / Alonda Baird

    Snake plant is well-known as one of the best plants for low light conditions, and for improving air quality—making it an extremely common houseplant. While snake plants are non-toxic for humans, the ASPCA reports they are toxic for both cats and dogs if ingested.

    • Toxic Properties: Saponins
  • 07 of 09

    Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)

    A sago palm sits on a wooden shelf in front of a framed photo.

     belchonok / Getty Images

    Sago palms add a touch of the tropics to your home and can do wonders for indoor air quality. Their unique structure makes them a great talking point and a lovely accent piece. However, these plants have an ancient defense mechanism: they are highly toxic to our furry friends. These plants should be avoided at all costs if you have cats at home.

    • Toxic Properties: Cycasin
  • 08 of 09

    English Ivy (Hedera helix)

    A pot of English Ivy sits on a wooden console table.

    Image Source / Getty Images

    English ivy has small, pointed leaves and makes for a delicate display. It is popular as a houseplant grown in hanging planters thanks to its gorgeous drapery. This same feature can make it appear like an attractive snack to curious felines, which can be extremely dangerous when ingested.

    • Toxic Properties: Triterpenoid saponins
    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia amoena)

    dumb cane plant

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle 

    Dumb cane, or Dieffenbachia, is a popular houseplant thanks to its stunning tropical foliage and low-maintenance needs. There are many different varieties of dumb canes, which vary in size from three feet high to over ten feet tall when grown in the right conditions. Unfortunately, dumb canes are highly toxic to cats when ingested.

    • Toxic Properties: Insoluble calcium oxalates, proteolytic enzyme

Research is necessary before bringing new plants into a home with cats. Though this can be remedied by putting the toxic plants out of reach, it is better to find plants that are safe for cats to help ensure the good health of your feline friends.

Article Sources
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  1. Lee, Min-Sun et al. Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults: a randomized crossover study. Journal of physiological anthropology, vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 21, 2015. doi:10.1186/s40101-015-0060-8

  2. Peace Lily. ASPCA Animal Poison Control.

  3. Aloe. ASPCA Animal Poison Control.

  4. Cutleaf Philodendron. ASPCA Animal Poison Control.

  5. Golden Pothos. ASPCA Animal Poison Control.

  6. Jade Plant. ASPCA Animal Poison Control.

  7. Reduce Indoor Air Pollution with Houseplants Part 2: Golden Pothos and Snake Plant. Santa Fe Extension Master Gardeners.

  8. Sago Palm. ASPCA Animal Poison Control.

  9. English Ivy. ASPCA Animal Poison Control.

  10. Magill, Alan J. et al. Poisonous Plants and Aquatic Animals, Hunter's Tropical Medicine and Emerging Infectious Disease (Ninth Edition), pp. 923-937, W.B. Saunders, 2013. doi:10.1016/B978-1-4160-4390-4.00211-3