There are many common houseplants that can be toxic to cats if chewed or ingested. Some cats eat houseplants because they are bored or curious, while others eat them because they are not getting enough plant matter or vegetables in their diets. It is important to check the toxicity of a plant before bringing it into a house with cats. Just placing the plant pots where you think they are out of reach does not guarantee that your cat won't get to them.
Chlorophytum comosum sp, also known as airplane plants, spider plants, spider ivy, and ribbon plants, are generally not toxic to cats. There are seven varieties of these "trailing" houseplants, with foliage that hangs down from the plant in 10- to 12-inch leaves and 24-inch vines. Leaves are thick and cats may play with them, scratch them or chew on them. These are flowering plants and some cats have been found to enjoy eating the flowers as they bloom.
While airplane plants are nontoxic for the most part, some cats may be allergic to them and have negative reactions if they ingest any part of them. Symptoms of such allergies may include salivation, retching, vomiting and loss of appetite. Removing the plant from the house as well as seeking treatment from a veterinarian should take care of these problems.
Spider lilies are sometimes mistaken for spider plants because of their similar names. But while spider plants are nontoxic, Spider lilies, and in fact most kinds of lilies, are highly poisonous to cats. Tiger, Easter, Japanese snow, Oriental, Stargazer and lily of the valley are all types of toxic lilies. Ingesting any parts of these plants can cause irreversible kidney damage in cats, leading to total kidney failure and even death within 36 to 72 hours.
If you think your cat has ingested a toxic plant, or if it is showing symptoms of a reaction after eating a plant thought to be nontoxic, take it to a veterinarian immediately. Some plants are toxic enough to kill cats within a few days, so they must undergo treatment right away to have any chance of survival.