Common Health Hazards


Many people know lilies are poisonous to cats, but did you know the beautiful chrysanthemums you left around the house can also cause toxic reactions to your cat? There are many normal household products that may first seem innocuous to the human eye, but pose severe health risks to your cat.

  • Lilies – cause renal damage
  • Chrysanthemums – affect the nervous system
  • Rhododendrons and azaleas – affect the nervous system
  • Aloe plants – affect the gastrointestinal tract and nervous systems
  • Tulip and daffodil bulbs – affect the gastrointestinal tract, nervous system and ??
  • Oleander – affect the gastrointestinal tract and cardiac systems
  • Sago palm – damages the liver
  • Mistletoe – affect gastrointestinal and cardiovascular


The following food consumed by humans are actually harmful for your cat.

  • Chocolate, coffee, tea – Contains substances such as theobromine and caffeine which affect the nervous system.
  • Grapes, raisins – May cause kidney damage in cats
  • Garlic, onions, chives – Can cause damage to red blood cells and anaemia
  • Alcohol – Affects the brain cell activity


Common human medications such as Panadol and Ibuprofen can cause serious damage to your cats and can even prove fatal! Even certain pet medications can be toxic if provided in an overdose, so please make sure you read the prescription carefully and follow administering instructions.

  • Panadol – Can be fatal to cats! Its site of toxic action is the liver and red blood cells
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. ibuprofen) – can cause gastric ulcers and affect the kidneys, liver and platelets
  • Antidepressants – May affect the gastrointestinal tract or cause “Serotonin syndrome” which may lead to seizures and death


The old adage “Prevention is the best solution” is still pertinent. Good prevention can be achieved with the following key points:

  • Familiarise yourself with common household poisons to your cat.
  • Keep such poisons in closed cabinets or drawers, where your cat cannot reach.
  • Always follow instructions on pet medications.
  • Never use anti-flea treatments formulated for dogs on your cat.
  • Do not buy plants poisonous to cats for your home.

Remember, whilst you may want to share that yummy human treat with your cat, sometimes you may be inadvertently poisoning them!


Information provided by 

Dr Jean Ai Heng
BVSc (Hons) (Melbourne)
Veterinary Surgeon
Vets for Pets