Great News:

Christmas Plants That are Toxic to Cats

So many plants are toxic to cats and you may be very careful about keeping them out of your cat’s reach or even out of the house altogether, but the holidays can cause some of us to be a bit forgetful. Here’s a quick reminder about some common holiday plant dangers:

Christmas Tree

Aside from all the dangers of the ornaments, ornament hooks, lights and tinsel, there is a real danger to your cat from ingesting tree needles.

The water in the reservoir is also a danger for cats. Sap from the tree that settles in the reservoir is toxic, as are any tree preservatives used to extend the life of the cut tree. Some people put aspirin in the water to preserve the tree’s life and that’s highly toxic to cats and can be fatal. Cover the water reservoir with netting so you can still water the tree but the cat can’t gain access to the liquid.

Even if you have an artificial tree you’re not out of the woods in terms of toxicity if your cat likes to munch on the tree limbs. Ingestion of the article needles can cause stomach problems and can lead to intestinal blockage.

Spray tree limbs with a bitter anti-chew product made for plants. Wear a disposable mask when spraying the tree so you don’t breathe in the very unpleasant spray.


Once believed to be deadly for cats, it’s now known that the poinsettia is mildly toxic. Ingestion can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach. Spray the plant with a bitter anti-chew spray if your cat shows an interest in your holiday poinsettia plants.

Holly and Mistletoe

Both are extremely toxic and can cause breathing difficulty.

Lillies, Amaryllis, Daffodils

It’s popular to give these bulbs as gifts but they’re highly poisonous.

Need More Information?

For a list of toxic and non-toxic plants, visit the ASPCA website.

If you suspect your cat has ingested a toxic plant, contact your veterinarian or veterinary emergency clinic immediately. Minutes matter when it comes to potential poisoning.

The ASPCA also has a National Animal Poison Control Center that can be reached at

(888) 426-4435 (a $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card)

For more information on cat training, cat behavior problems or cat health, refer to the book Think Like a Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett.

Christmas gift ideas