Cats and Flowers Guide: Are Orchids Poisonous to Cats?

Spring is in bloom and fresh flowers are everywhere! The sad news is that not all cats and flowers mix. In fact, quite a few are toxic.

Your cat’s comfort and safety is important to us. Not only will we answer the question, “Are orchids poisonous to cats?”, we’ll also provide a list of common flowers and plants that are toxic to your feline friend, as well as a list of non-toxic plants for cats.

Cats and Orchids

Are orchids poisonous to cats?

These blooms make a gorgeous addition to your home – and there are well over 20,000 orchid species and more than 100,000 orchid hybrids to choose from. But, are orchids poisonous to cats?

We have some great news for orchid enthusiasts: While eating orchids might give your curious kitty a tummy ache and perhaps cause vomiting similar to what happens when grass is ingested, the ASPCA assures us that orchids are not toxic to cats. And this goes for all varieties of orchids. Many pet parents wonder if Mystique orchids are poisonous to cards, or if the Phalaenopsis Orchid, commonly known as the moth orchid is toxic, but the answer is all orchids are non-toxic for cats.

Keep in mind that pesticides and fertilizers might be harmful to your cat, and only use those that you know are safe.

Orchids

Plants toxic to cats

Even though orchids aren’t poisonous to cats, many other popular plants are toxic, and are best avoided altogether. So, when it comes to cats and flowers, which plants should be avoided?

Here is a list of several popular plants toxic to cats:

  • Ago Palms
  • Amaryllis
  • Autumn crocus
  • Azalea
  • Caladium
  • Calla lily
  • Cape jasmine
  • Carnation
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodil
  • Daisy
  • Day lilies
  • Devil’s ivy
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Easter lily
  • English Ivy
  • Foxglove
  • Hosta
  • Wandering Jew
  • Hyacinth
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lily
  • Lily of the valley
  • Marijuana
  • Mum
  • Narcissus
  • Oleander
  • Peace lily
  • Poinsettia
  • Pothos
  • Rhododendron
  • Rhubarb
  • Sago palm
  • Spanish thyme
  • Stargazer lily
  • Tulip
  • Yew

These are only a handful of plants toxic to cats. The ASPCA maintains a complete list of poisonous plants cats should avoid – it’s worth checking into if you’re a gardening or flower enthusiast.

If your cat has nibbled on a poisonous plant or flower, Dr. Sam Kovac, a Chartered Member of the Australian Veterinary Association, and Founder of Southern Cross Vet, gives the following advice:

“Even if they’ve only chewed on one of the above plants and not actually eaten it, head straight to your vet for a blood test to make sure their little bodies and delicate organs aren’t starting to get toxified from the chemicals contained in all parts of the plant.”

Depending on toxicity, you may be advised to watch for signs of poisoning, or you might need to bring your feline friend into the clinic, stat.

Non-toxic plants toxic to cats

Want to fill your home with beautiful flowers but are worried about your cat?

The following 15 plants are recognized by the ASPCA as being non-toxic to cats, so they won't pose a risk to your four-legged friend.

  • African Violet
  • Areca Palm
  • Baby Tears
  • Bamboo Vine
  • Boston Fern
  • Calathea (Zebra plants or Peacock plants)
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Freckle Face (Polka Dot Plant)
  • Gloxinia
  • Moth Orchid
  • Orchids
  • Royal Velvet Plant
  • Spider Plant
  • Staghorn Fern
  • Venus Fly Trap

For a full list of non toxic plants for cats or plants safe for cats, click here.

Help! My cat ate a leaf!

You probably know that your adorable, cuddly feline is an obligate carnivore, meaning meat is essential for survival. Even so, cats are curious – and they do enjoy nibbling on plants, and certain plants contain micronutrients that your pet needs, while other plants are toxic or poisonous to cats. In the wild, cats eat the gut contents of their prey. This might sound disgusting, but that partially digested plant matter offers important nutrients, enzymes, and intestinal flora that benefit cats by promoting digestive health.

How to keep cats from eating plants

The best way to prevent your cat from eating orchids and other houseplants? You’ll need to take a multi-pronged approach.

  • Start by placing plants and flowers out of your pet’s reach. Hang planters in windows, use wall-mounted vases for flower arrangements, or keep your plant collection in a room that’s off-limits to your cat.
  • In case none of these tactics are possible, consider mixing up a simple spray of vinegar and water. Apply it to your plants or flowers after checking to make sure it’s safe for the species. If this doesn’t work, you can dust your plants’ leaves with cinnamon or cayenne pepper as a stronger deterrent.
  • Motion-activated pet repellent is another alternative to consider. While these systems are a little pricey, they are perfectly safe, relying on cans of compressed air that make a loud hissing sound when your cat comes too close to plants and other items or areas you’d like them to avoid.

Create a kitty oasis with a gorgeous Cat Cave

Besides protecting the plants and flowers you don’t want your cat to chew on, you’ll need to offer your friend a more attractive alternative.

Grow cat grass in a container they can always have access to, and make sure that they feel safe and comfortable in their environment. Placing a cozy cat cave in your cat’s favorite space, making sure they have at least one durable scratching post, and offering a window seat with a view of the street or the garden are a few more ways to keep them engaged with their own environment.

So, if you’re worried about spring hazards or cats and flowers and you need to tempt your feline indoors, a Feltcave cat cave may just do the trick! Made from soft, snuggly Merino wool, our cat caves will not only keep your cat happy inside, they also help felines regulate their temperature and stay warm in the cold weather and cool during the warmer, summer months. This is especially important for kittens who cannot regulate their own temperature.

Remember too, cats love the feeling of being covered from all angles where they can survey their environment. Just like the feeling of comfort your pet derives from curling up in small, cozy spaces, the desire to perch and feel safe is instinctual.

Providing comfortable spaces and offering mental engagement are two simple ways to satisfy your cat’s needs while continuing to enjoy the beauty plants and flowers bring to your home.

Check out our Royal Blue cat cave or read more on the cat furniture trends of 2020.

Royal blue cat cave

Final thoughts

Even though orchids aren’t toxic to cats, your feline friend’s instinctive desire to chew leaves and flowers can cause serious damage to your plant collection. Thoughtful prevention is the key to success: It really is possible for cats and houseplants to coexist!

Giving you cat safe plants to chew, treating them to a cozy bed, and offering essentials including scratchers, a cat tree, and plenty of toys is the easiest way to create harmony. Your cat will feel far less tempted to nibble on your orchids, your plants will be more likely to thrive, and you’ll be able to enjoy your pet’s company – and your favorite houseplants!

Frequently asked questions on cats and flowers

Is lavender safe for cats?
Yes. Fresh lavender is not toxic or poisonous to cats, however the essential oils derived from the plants are not safe for cats. Owners should avoid using essential lavender oils and diffusers in their homes, or be extremely cautious, and never apply to oil directly to their cat. The Pet Poison Helpline explains that this is because cats have difficulty metabolizing and eliminating certain toxins like essential oils as they lack an essential enzyme in their liver. They are also very sensitive to phenols which can be found in certain essential oils.

Cats and carnation flowers - are they safe for cats?
Carnations are toxic to cats and if ingested can cause mild gastrointestinal signs or mild dermatitis.

Are succulents poisonous to cats?
Most succulents are not poisonous to cats, but some can cause mild irritation. Some popular succulents that are harmful to your cat include: Snake Plant, Sago Palm, Aloe Vera, Pencil Cactus, Crassula Ovata (Jade Plant), and Kalanchoes.

Is sage safe for cats?
Yes. Sage is safe for cats.

Is baby's breath poisonous to cats?
Baby's Breath contains gyposenin, a saponin, which may cause mild gastonary upset such as vomiting and diarrhea if ingested. It is classified as non-toxic to cats by the ASPCA, but you’ll still want to ensure your cat doesn’t eat it.

Are roses poisonous to cats?
Again, roses are classified as non-toxic to cats by the ASPCA, but they can cause tummy upset if ingested, plus the thorns can give your cat a nasty prick - so you’ll want to keep your cat away from your beautiful rose bush.

1 comment

I love this post. It’s packed with loads of information.

Lauretta Williams June 26, 2020

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