Bouquet Flowers that are Toxic for Cats
What do you think is wrong with the picture above? At first glance everything seems in order – it’s just a beautiful arrangement of flowers with a rather cute and curious cat in the back. The danger lies in that the white lilies are extremely poisonous to cats. In the days running up to Valentines Day, uncountable bouquets similar to this one will be sent to loved ones, some which who will have feline friends. This bouquet was recently sent to my housemate and I’m sure that her boyfriend had no idea that there were not only one but two types of flowers in the bunch that could harm Louis and Cheebies.
LILIES While there are many plants and flowers that can cause everything from rashes to upset tummies in cats, Lilies (of all varieties) are the most fatal. Though most adult cats will avoid chewing on dangerous leaves and flowers, the pollen can drift down from bouquets and settle on flat surfaces. A cheeky scamper across the dining room table and little furry toes can pick up pollen, which is then licked off when the kitty grooms itself. Lily pollen can kill your beloved feline since the smallest amount will cause acute kidney failure.
On the rare occasion that I’m given a bouquet filled with lilies I keep my felines safe by plucking out the pollen bearing parts of the flower and disposing of them. The scent of the flowers isn’t affected and I’m satisfied that the cats aren’t going to get sick from pollen exposure. If I had kittens or curious young cats that might nibble at the leaves or flowers I’d be more militant and keep lilies and all other toxic plants out of both house and garden. In fact, you’re probably safer doing that anyway because dead leaves and spent petals can also drift down and pose a threat.
Other bouquet flowers and foliage that can cause irritation or illness in cats are Bird of Paradise, Chrysanthemum, Columbine (Aquilegia), Cyclamen, Delphinium (Larkspur), Ferns, Foxgloves, Hyacinths, Ivy, Iris, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, Oleander, Peonies, Poppies, Sweet Peas, and Tulips. There are dozens more to consider and a more comprehensive list of dangerous plants can be found at this link on the International Cat Care website.
If your cat begins to act ill and you have a new plant or bouquet in the house, take a picture of it before whisking your pet to the vet. Identifying the cause of the toxicity is the first step in quick treatment and a photo will definitely speed things up. Symptoms can vary depending on the flower and can run the gamut from swelling around the mouth to drooling, diarrhea, irregular breathing or heartbeat, and vomiting. Here’s more information on the Pet MD’s website.
Bouquets are symbols of love, friendship and happiness and it would be a tragedy to give or receive one that ends up hurting a beloved pet. So when buying a bouquet for a friend who has cats please check to make sure that the flowers are animal friendly – if the florist doesn’t know, try looking through this list. If you have cats yourself, it could also help to let friends and family know that some types of flowers aren’t safe.