Top 5 Common Household Things Harmful to Your Cat

If you are a cat owner (or if a cat owns you), you know they will do what they want and get into what they want. With that in mind, it’s important to keep harmful household products and items put away so that your pet stays safe. There are a few things around the house though, that you might not even know are very dangerous to cats.


It is important to know what plants may be harmful to your cat. Even unassuming plants like poinsettias, aloe, tulips, and lilies, contain chemicals that can cause varying degrees of stomach upset, dizziness, organ damage, and even death. Some parts of plants may be more toxic than others (e.g., seeds and bulbs vs petals) so restrict all exposure. Here is a partial list of other known lovely, yet toxic plants.

  • English Ivy
  • Daffodils
  • Hyacinth
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Azeleas
  • Peony

It is important to seek veterinarian advice immediately if you think that your cat might have ingested a dangerous plant and bring a sample of the plant to help the doctor identify the toxin.


Cats are curious creatures and will often be nosy and peek at the foods and drinks you may be preparing in the kitchen. There are a few ingredients that you should keep your cat from eating. Some of the known toxic foods on this list are the same foods that are harmful to dogs as well. You might not think that a cat would even eat these foods, but we know cats that want to eat marshmallows and caramel popcorn, so you never know.

Onions and garlic contain a compound called thiosulphate that can cause anemia in cats when eaten in large amounts or concentrated. This anemia is the result of the compound damaging the red blood cells.

Dairy may be a surprise to most cat owners. For years in children’s storybooks and on tv, cats have been depicted lapping up warm milk in a dish put out by their owners. The truth is that cats are lactose intolerant. Their bodies don’t produce enough lactase, which breaks down the lactose, which can result in stomach upset and diarrhea.

Raw meat and raw chicken are on this list because cats can get foodborne illnesses just like humans do. If you plan to give your cat meat, it’s a good idea to cook it first.

Alcohol is an important ingredient to keep away from your cat (and other pets). While your cat isn’t likely to pour himself a glass of wine and lounge by the warm fireplace, he might snoop around your glass and decide to give it a try. Keep an eye on your alcohol when pets are around to avoid stomach issues and more serious illnesses if more than a few licks worth is consumed.


Topical pest control products (e.g., flea and tick repellents) can be highly toxic to cats if used improperly because cats are constantly licking to clean themselves and they, in turn, would ingest the chemicals.

Sidewalk ice melt or melting salt can cause irritation to a cat’s paw skin. There are pet friendly products that contain other ingredients that don’t typically cause irritation, so look for that message on product packaging.

Vehicle antifreeze is dangerous to cats because the active ingredient is deadly in even small amounts and it has a sweet smell which attracts them. Be sure to wipe up any spills and tighten container caps in case it gets knocked over.

Bleach and other household cleaners are toxic to everything, so use the products and keep the containers sealed. Keep pets out of the areas you are cleaning until the surfaces are dry and the fumes have dissipated.


There are too many hazards to list here individually. All medicines should always be kept sealed and out of reach as a rule, but also be quick to pick up any dropped pills or liquid medicines that may have been spilled to avoid accidental ingestion.

As always, if you think that your cat has ingested something they shouldn’t have, give your vet a call or visit a provider that offers emergency services. Time is often a huge factor in the recovery chances of the animal, so don’t delay. With these hazards in mind, you can take steps to make your home safer for your feline friend.

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