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The 7 Popular Houseplants Poisonous to Cats—and Alternatives

A collection of potted houseplants in a line on the floor.

Houseplants add beauty and a touch of nature to your home. They’re great for collecting as a hobby or for anyone looking to enhance their home decor.

For cat owners, however, it’s crucial to be mindful of the plants you choose. Adding the wrong plants to your home can put your beloved pet in danger.

There are many common houseplants poisonous to cats. Some pose a serious risk to their health if ingested. Houseplants toxic to cats are best avoided entirely to protect your fuzzy friends.

Peace Lily

A potted peace lily plant on a small table.

Despite how their name sounds, the Peace Lily isn’t actually a lily plant. It’s its own lovely and well-loved houseplant variety. Unfortunately, they’re high on the list of houseplants toxic to cats. If ingested, the Peace Lily can cause serious digestive issues for your cat.

A great alternative to these types of toxic houseplants to cats is the Cast Iron plant. Not only is this a very low-maintenance plant, but it’s entirely safe for homes with pets. You won’t need to worry about your cat scratching, rubbing, or biting at your Cast Iron plant.

American Plant Exchange Live Cast Iron Plant

A cast iron plant will freshen up your space without posing a risk to your cat.

Pothos Plant

A lime Golden Pothos plant on wooden table.

The pothos plant is a favorite among plant enthusiasts. It’s an easy, vining plant that thrives on neglect but also doesn’t mind being tended to. It’s really too bad that it’s on the list of toxic houseplants to cats.

Pothos plants are mildly toxic, but toxic all the same. It’s unsafe to ingest and can cause vomiting and other irritation. If you want a safe alternative, consider the Spider plant. These flexible houseplants thrive in a variety of soil conditions, light levels, and watering routines.

JM BAMBOO Reverse Variegated Spider Plant

Despite their creepy name, spider plants are adorable and easy additions to your home.

Lily Plants

White lily blossoms growing outdoors.
Mariia Romanyk/Shutterstock.com

Many lily species, including Easter lilies and daylilies, are highly toxic houseplants to cats. They can cause kidney failure within a few days if ingested.

If you want a flowering alternative, consider an African violet plan. African violets are non-toxic and come in a variety of colors, making them both safe and colorful alternatives. Make sure to fertilize your plant regularly with fertilizer specific to their species.

Miniature African Violet

If you want a blossoming houseplant that won't harm your pets, snag an African Violet.

Aloe Vera

A close up of an aloe vera plant.
Subbotina Anna/Shutterstock.com

While aloe vera plants have plenty of health benefits for humans, it’s one of those houseplants toxic to cats. Its spiky leaves can be an incredible temptation for cats to play with, leading to potential injuries and serious health issues if ingested.

A fitting alternative to the aloe vera is a Haworthia succulent plant. This plant does well indoors and–when you understand its needs–will quickly thrive. You may want to keep your cat away from it just because it’s a small houseplant, but you won’t need to worry about toxicity.

Costa Farms, Succulents Haworthia Plant

Adorable and miniature, the Haworthia plant will satisfy your spikey plant needs.

ZZ Plant

A potted ZZ plant sitting on a table.
Nazaruk Nazar/Shutterstock.com

ZZ plants are wonderful choices if you need a plant that thrives in low light. They’re easy to care for and have an elegant appearance…but they are toxic to cats, dogs, and humans if ingested. If you’re worried about that, skip them altogether and go with something easier.

The Parlor palms are non-toxic and share a similar structural aesthetic with ZZ plants. They do well in indirect light and offer elegant fronds that add a touch of tropical charm to your space.

American Plant Exchange Live Chamaedorea Elegans Plant, Parlor Palm Tree

No plant collection is complete without a non-toxic palm tree.

Monstera Deliciosa

Monstera deliciosa or Swiss cheese plant in a white flower pot.
Sozina Kseniia/Shutterstock.com

Hopefully, this one doesn’t break your cat owner and plant lover’s heart. Monstera deliciosa plants are incredible, stunning plants that are incredibly trendy right now. Sometimes lovingly called a “Swiss cheese plant,” they are very low maintenance and also highly toxic to cats.

The Prayer plant is a wonderful, unique alternative that will add charm to your home. It’s another tropical plant with stunning foliage. While it doesn’t grow as large as the monstera, it may quickly become one of your favorite plants.

California Tropicals Lemon Lime Prayer Plant

You'll fall in love with this plant's remarkable foliage.

Snake Plant

A potted snake plant on window sill at home.
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Snake plants are known for being nearly indestructible plants. They’re perfect for beginner plant owners or anyone who enjoys a sophisticated, clean, low-maintenance plant. It may devastate you to hear that snake plants are toxic to cats if ingested.

Consider an air plant as an alternative. Air plants are non-toxic and require minimal care. They can be displayed in various creative ways, including in glass terrariums or mounted on decorative pieces. Simply soak them in a bowl of water once a week and they’ll thrive.

5 Pack of Classic Air Plants Variety

Air plants are unique and fun additions to any plant collection.

While many of today’s most popular houseplants are toxic to your furry friends, there are plenty of safe safe alternatives to satisfy your green thumb. With the right choices, you can create a pet-friendly and aesthetically pleasing environment for both you and your cats to enjoy.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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