do cats know not to eat poisonous plants

Cats have natural instincts and know when to stay away from toxic-smelling plants. These plants also do not taste good and require more than just a lick or a small bite to cause severe problems. Although this is the case, you should still discourage your cat from getting close to toxic plants.

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Absolutely not.

Lilies, which are very common houseplants, particularly in the spring when people are likely to bring them in for Easter, are one of the most toxic plants for cats, with minimal ingestion (i.e. licking a bit of pollen off their fur) required for lily poisoning, and a fatality rate of 50-100%. With the danger presented by lilies, if your premise was correct, cats would stay far away from them; however, one emergency veterinary practice reported in an article on their site that in the span of 2018-2021, they saw nearly 1,000 patients suffering lily poisoning, the vast majority of them cats.

If cats wont avoid one of the most deadly toxic plants they can come in contact with, it would be foolish to assume theyd avoid any other plant on the extensive list of common household plants that are toxic to them. While toxicity on the list ranges from “deadly” (lilies) to “gastrointestinal upset,” most if not all plants on the list should be avoided, particularly if they cant be kept away from the cats. Anecdotally, I used to have a beautiful oxalis (shamrock) in my house; while certainly not the most toxic plant on the list, it carries a risk of kidney failure. My cats became obsessed with the plant and constantly tried to eat it; the plant now lives at my office to keep them separated.

Finally, if any of your new houseplants are lilies of any kind, take them out of the house right away and make sure the area around them is completely cleaned to get rid of all pollen. Keep an eye out for any symptoms of lily poisoning in your cat, and if she exhibits any, get her to the vet right away.

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Is it true that dogs and cats have an innate knowledge of what foods to avoid that could harm or even kill them?

Dogs will also consume potentially dangerous foods like chocolate, poisonous mushrooms, and fertilizer—the latter of which smells like a lot of wonderful to them. Even though any of these behaviors may be dangerous or even fatal, many dogs nevertheless indulge in them.

Other animals avoid colors or combinations of colors. A toxin found in milkweed is consumed by monarch butterflies and is stored in their bodies. Although it doesn’t make it toxic, it does make it taste bad, which deters predators from consuming it.

Due to its sweet flavor, antifreeze is a beverage that both dogs and cats will consume. In almost all cases, this ends with the animal’s death.

New Pet Pal LogoMany animals, especially those in the wild, do have a combination of instinct, experience and training that keeps them from consuming things that are harmful to them.

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FAQ

Do cats know not to eat poison?

Cats can be a bit more discerning, but they still will eat mice and rats that have been poisoned, thus ingesting the poison themselves, or munch on Easter lilies, which also can be fatal. Both cats and dogs will drink antifreeze, drawn to it by its sweet taste. In almost all cases, this ends with the animal’s death.

Do animals know not to eat poisonous plants?

Under most circumstances animals can learn if a plant is safe or harmful because eating results in feedback from the gut to the brain. Feedback tells the body whether or not a food is safe.

Can cats tell when a plant is poisonous?

Your cat does not know if plants are safe to chew on. It is up to you to check plants out and keep your cat safe from poisonous plants. There are good lists of poisonous plants online. You can check all houseplants out and human foods to see if they are safe.

Do cats know when something is toxic?

Cats have a much better sense of smell than humans, so it’s important to know what smells can be toxic to cats. Many common household items, such as cleaning products, perfumes, and air fresheners, can cause health problems, stress, and even death in cats.