Garden dangers

19th June 2013

Here are ten of the common causes of garden poisonings in cats, as experienced by vets within the UK:

istock_000015291850xsmall_medium 1. Lilies

These are beautiful flowering plants that many of us like to grow. Lilies of the genera Lilium and Hemerocallis are particularly dangerous and can also pose a risk when displayed inside the house as houseplants or cut flowers. All parts of the plant are toxic and can cause life-threatening kidney damage, so these plants are best avoided when you own pets.

2. Cordyline

Species of Cordyline, the ever popular palm-like plants, can cause excessive salivation and in severe cases kidney and liver problems. It is best to keep your cats away from these plants.

3. Cyclamen

The pretty Cyclamen plants, with beautiful flowers, that like to grow in shady areas are also poisonous to cats. Although not as dangerous as some other poisons, they can still cause vomiting, diarrhoea and excess salivation.

4. Patio cleaners

Patio cleaners containing benzalkonium chlorides are dangerous to cats. These may also be used within detergents and disinfectants. Most of the problems seen with these are due to their irritant properties causing local soft tissue damage. They can cause skin ulcers and sores.

5. Weed-killers

Weed-killers (herbicides) containing glyphosate will cause multiple issues when ingested by cats. The most dangerous of these being problems caused with the respiratory system, meaning your cat may have breathing difficulties if they ingest these products by accident.

6. Snail and slug bait

Snail and slug baits (molluscicides) containing metaldehyde (which is also found in fuel packs for camping stoves) are highly toxic. They can cause your cat to fit or have trouble breathing, although the exact mechanism by which this is caused is not fully understood.istock_000012639150xsmall_medium

7. Insecticides

Insecticides, especially those which contain organophosphates and/or carbamates, are poisonous and can cause neurological signs and breathing difficulties in your cat. These products are used in household insecticides but often in even higher levels in agricultural products, so if you live near fields of crops that have recently been sprayed, it is worth keeping your cat away from them.

8. Rat poisons

Rodenticides, especially those containing alphacholralose, are notoriously dangerous. They usually cause neurological symptoms, such as twitching, tremors and fitting.

9. Toad venom

Two toads are native to Britain: the common toad and the rare natterjack toad. These toads have parotid glands that secrete venom (containing various toxins) when the toad is threatened. The toxicity of the venom varies between species, with most exposures occurring during the summer months when toads are spawning. Serious poisonings are rare in Britain; however, they could cause your cat to experience twitching and excess salivation.

10. Yucca Plants and Dragon Tree plants (Dracaena)

These are usually found as houseplants but some people put them outside in the summer. They are poisonous to cats, so take great care with them.


And finally… remember to seek veterinary advice immediately if your cat comes into contact with any of these substances.

Category: Blog