Flowers That Are Toxic for Cats

Flowers That Are Toxic for CatsMy eight-month-old kitten, Whiskers, was obsessed with a small, potted pine tree I’ve had in my home for the last ten years.  He was digging in the pot, chewing on the branches, and pulling pieces off to chew on.  I bought him a cat grass plant to try to deter him, but he continued his obsession with the tree.

I’ve never had a cat who chewed on plants before.  So now that spring is coming, I thought I’d better get online to see if any of the spring flowers I’m ready to decorate my home with are safe for him…what if he’s obsessed with those too?

I was very disappointed to find that not only are almost ALL of my favorite spring flowers dangerous for cats, but the pine tree as well!  Yesterday I gave away the tree, and I’ll be limited on what flowers I can have in the house from now on.  With spring and Easter approaching, I wanted to share this information about flowers that are toxic to cats to inform other cat owners.

Flowers That are Toxic to Cats

You should know that just chewing on some plants can be enough to cause toxicity in cats.  They don’t necessarily have to eat or ingest the plant to be poisoned.  Refer to the ASPCA’s complete list of plants that are poisonous for cats.  But here are some common flowers that are poisonous for cats:

  • True lilies and daylilies
  • Daffodils
  • Hyacinths
  • Kalanchoe
  • Azalea
  • Hydrangeas
  • Tulips
  • Oleander
  • Lily of the valley
  • Chrysanthemums (aka mums)
  • Poinsettia
  • Daisies

Symptoms of Flower Poisoning in Cats

Depending on the amount ingested and the type of flower, symptoms can range from mild to fatal.  Some symptoms include excessive salivation, mouth irritation, vomiting and diarrhea.  Some plants can cause liver or kidney damage along with other serious health issues, including death.  The symptoms are not always immediately obvious, and sadly may not become noticeable until the damage is untreatable and permanent.

I suggest watching this video from cat expert, Jackson Galaxy for more help on this topic:

Flowers That are SAFE for Cats

Know that your cat can get an upset stomach or diarrhea if they ingest even non-toxic flowers.  But the following flowers are generally considered safe for cats:

  • Lilacs
  • Roses
  • Sunflowers
  • Petunias
  • Camellias
  • Snapdragons
  • Most orchids

I’m glad lilacs are ok because at least that’s one spring flower I can have in the house!  And apparently lilacs have a bitter taste, so hopefully Whiskers won’t be interested in those.

flowers toxic to catsFor More Detailed Information

If you’re in doubt about any plant, or if you suspect your cat may have been exposed to or ingested a toxic plant, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center (888-426-4435).

Information resources for this post include GreatPetCare.com and PetMd.com.  The PetMd article includes pictures – that helps!

Disclaimer:  I am not a veterinarian or an expert on this topic.  Refer to the links I’m providing for accurate and up-to-date information.

When in Doubt, Don’t!

I found it interesting that while researching for this post I found that some flowers were listed by some sources as toxic to cats, and by other sources as not toxic to cats.  Catnip and daisies are two examples.  I guess expert opinions can vary on this topic, but my advice, if you love your cat as much as I love mine, is don’t risk it.  If you’re not sure, err on the side of caution and don’t have that flower or plant in your house.

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