Roses are red, violets are blue, you love your sweetheart, but you also want to protect your cat.
Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or any day, flowers can put a smile on a person’s face. However, some plants pose health and safety risks for cats.
The good news: roses are safe. The bad news: some other favorite flowers aren’t. To find out which flowers should be out of your cat’s reach, we called the Chief Medical Officer of the Veterinary Emergency Group (VEG), Lisette Lewis, DVM.
Are lilies dangerous to cats?
These flowers, which bloom in late spring, are especially popular around Easter. But they are extremely dangerous to cats. “If a cat eats a lily, it will cause kidney toxicity,” says Dr. Lewis, adding that even a small fraction of a portion of the plant can harm kitty. Sometimes florists label flowers as lilies that are not real lilies. “It has to be Hemerocallis or Lilium for it to be a real lily plant and cause the kidney problem,” says Dr. Lewis. Check the label or ask the florist what type of lily it is. When in doubt, opt for something else or plan to move it to a place where your cat cannot get it.
Watch for vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Unfortunately, there is more bad news: it can take one to five days for these symptoms to appear, and by then, Dr. Lewis that it might be too late. “If you think your cat has gotten into a lily, see a veterinarian,” she advises.
Are poinsettias dangerous for cats?
You may have heard that poinsettias are poisonous to animals. The reality is that they are not good for them, but the risks are a little overrated. “It’s not life threatening,” says Dr. Lewis. That said, if a cat ingests a poinsettia, it may have some not-so-funny symptoms like vomiting. “It’s irritating to the mouth and stomach,” says Dr. Lewis.
Are tulips dangerous for cats?
These spring flowering perennials look beautiful when mixed into bouquets, but you should keep them out of Kitty’s reach. “When a cat eats one, they will be sluggish and calm,” says Dr. Lewis. Diarrhea is often a side effect that usually occurs six to 12 hours after ingestion. The worst part of a tulip is the bulb. So if your cat is indoors, you can reduce this risk by cutting the stem off and placing it in a vase.
Are daisies dangerous to cats?
This classic flower is fun to put in your hair, a crown or a bouquet of flowers. But keep it out of your cat’s reach. “It can sometimes lead to incoordination,” says Dr. Lewis. Other symptoms include diarrhea, drooling, and vomiting. You’re going to want the vet on the phone for that one. If left untreated, daisy ingestion can be fatal.
Are Peonies Dangerous for Cats?
The holy grail of wedding flowers, peonies are poisonous to cats. Symptoms like vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea usually appear within six hours, says Dr. Lewis.
What to do if your cat eats a flower
While lilies and daisies are at the greatest risk, different cats may have different reactions after consuming plants. It’s best to call a vet. When the vet calls you, Dr. Lewis, “Bring any information you have about the flower,” including labels or tags on a bouquet explaining which plants are in it. There is usually no antidote, but the vet can usually treat your cat. “There’s nothing we can do to reverse the effects, but we can” make her vomit … and get three-fourths of the flower, “says Dr. Lewis.Your cat will be able to make a full recovery.
Prevention is the best mitigation. So try to keep plants out of your cat’s reach.
Featured image: Aksenovko / Getty Images
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