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Cats and plants don't always mix

Where’s Waldo? Right where a kitty belongs — away from harmful plants.

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Where’s Waldo? Right where a kitty belongs — away from harmful plants.

Dear Fisher,

I'm an inside cat, but sometimes I get to go out on the patio with my people. They say I have to be supervised. I love all the flowers and plants out there, but they fuss at me whenever I try to nab a bite. They say some plants are poisonous, but how do I know which are good and which are bad? Maybe they should get rid of the poisonous plants?


Keep in mind that your humans buy plants because they are beautiful on the patio or in the yard, and they supervise you so you won't get into trouble. Sometimes severe weather can cause humans to bring outside plants inside. They might be forgetting about the seriousness of exposing you to dangerous plants.

Several sites on the internet provide lists of poisonous plants. There are a few variations, but when in doubt, just stay away. Some common plants on the do-not-eat list include castor bean, daffodil, English ivy, foxglove, hyacinth, lily of the valley, oleander, philodendron, rhododendron and tulip. See for an extensive list of dangerous plants.

Some of the common symptoms of poisoning are loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, pale tongue or gums, swollen tongue, abdominal pain, or worse yet, convulsions. When in doubt, your people should call your veterinarian with as many details and suspicions as possible. They must remain calm, lest the vet will suspect they have also chewed on a few plants.

As a backup, the Animal Poison Control Center is an emergency hotline providing 24-7 telephone assistance to veterinarians and animal owners. There is a $50 consultation fee paid by the animal owner, veterinarian or product manufacturer. Stick this number on your refrigerator door: (888) 426-4435.

But the safest plan would be to confine your dining to substances poured lovingly into your very own food bowl.

— Fisher lives in Tampa Bay with her humans and loves to give advice. Send questions and a photo to or visit

Cats and plants don't always mix 04/24/08 [Last modified: Friday, October 28, 2011 1:25pm]
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