Garden: what plants and flowers are toxic to cats?

If your cat has a very curious temperament, he may want to nibble on certain plants planted in your garden. However, some plants are toxic to felines. Which ones?

He chews, nibbles, licks the slightest leaf or flower that comes within reach…. Don’t worry, this habit is perfectly natural in cats, they need it to purge themselves. This allows him to more easily spit out the hairs he ingests while washing. However, be vigilant, because certain plants in your garden can represent a real danger to your cat’s health, especially if he is very curious.

What flowers are toxic to cats?

Cats are known for their curiosity, they love to explore their surroundings, including the garden. However, it is important to note that some flowers can be toxic to cats.

Cultivated since Antiquity, this plant with soporific properties is ideal for creating colorful beds. The best-known species of poppy in France is the poppy, but there are around fifty different species.

Although the poppy is often loved for its beautiful flowers, it can be toxic to cats. In fact, the rhoeadine present in the plant causes a wide variety of symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heart and/or respiratory failure, and even death in the most severe cases. The entire poppy is dangerous, but it is the leaves and stems that are the most toxic.

Name Papaver somniferum
Physical characteristics Delicate flowers with crinkled petals and varying tones, from red to purple
Flowering period Mainly in spring and summer

The tulip is one of the most popular spring flowers. It enchants gardens with its vibrant flowerbeds.

Despite its popularity, the tulip can pose a risk to cats. Ingestion of this flower and in particular its bulbs can lead to gastrointestinal disorders, hypersalivation but also heart problems in cats.

Name Tulipa
Physical characteristics Cup-shaped flowers with vibrant petals, available in a variety of colors and patterns
Flowering period Spring

Sometimes confused with the daffodil, the narcissus is a delicate and fragrant bulbous plant with a yellow center but white petals.

However, behind this floral beauty lies a potential danger for our feline companions. Like many bulb plants, the narcissus owes its toxicity to a substance called lycorine. The latter causes all kinds of more or less serious symptoms when ingested:

  • vomiting,
  • tremors,
  • loss of equilibrium,
  • slowing of heart rate,
  • voltage drop.

In case of severe poisoning, death can even occur from cardiac arrest.

Name Narcissus
Physical characteristics Slender flowers with a trumpet-shaped corolla, often yellow or white
Flowering period Spring

Cyclamen is a popular plant both indoors and outdoors for its ability to flower multiple times with rest periods between each bloom. It is recognized by its distinctive heart-shaped leaves adorned with shades of light and dark green.

Cyclamen can prove to be a risky plant for cats if ingested. Indeed, all parts of this plant are toxic. Symptoms associated with this toxic plant include vomiting and heart problems.

Name Cyclamen
Physical characteristics Butterfly-shaped flowers with reflected petals, available in different color shades
Flowering period Fall to winter

The hydrangea is the ideal shrub to install at the foot of a wall or to create a flower bed. It also grows very well in pots.

Appreciated for its spectacular inflorescence, the hydrangea contains toxic substances including the cyanogenic glycoside more commonly known as cyanide.

Name Hydrangea serratophylla
Physical characteristics Large, rounded inflorescences, with grouped flowers, varying in color depending on soil pH
Flowering period Summer to early fall

Lily of the valley, star of spring, is a liliaceae with delicate white bells, deliciously scented. It grows equally well in pots as well as in the ground, in partial shade and in humus soil.

Like many other plants, lily of the valley is very toxic to animals (dogs, cats but also rabbits and birds). Ingesting this plant can cause serious liver problems.

Name Convallaria majalis
Physical characteristics Small white bell flowers, deliciously fragrant
Flowering period Spring

Known since Antiquity, lilies offer a great diversity of shapes and colors. Celebrated as the “flower of flowers” and associated with the goddess Hera, this plant symbolizes motherhood and enchants gardens and bouquets with its intoxicating scent.

Easter lily and oriental lily are considered the most toxic plants for cats. Ingestion may cause gastrointestinal upset, kidney failure, cardiac imbalance, organ failure and may lead to death of the animal.

Name Lily
Physical characteristics Majestic flowers with a trumpet-shaped corolla, available in various colors
Flowering period Summer

What plants are toxic to cats?

Flowers aren’t the only ones that are potentially dangerous. In order to prevent any risk to the health of these animals, here are some examples of toxic trees or shrubs:

Tuya, with its dense foliage and its resistance to cold, is often used to create hedges in gardens. It can be installed very close together and staggered.

Ingesting tuya parts can cause gastrointestinal upset in felines. In addition, their sap, also very toxic, can cause tremors, irritation, convulsions and diarrhea.

Name Thuja
Physical characteristics Conical shrub with evergreen foliage, bright green needles
Flowering period Spring

Ferns are not flowering plants. Their reproductive cycle first goes through the spore stage, then the prothallus, then the seedling, and finally the adult plant. And although they look like a tree, they do not have a trunk but a stipe.

Very decorative, the fern is nevertheless one of the toxic plants. If your cat ingests one of its leaves, hemorrhagic diarrhea could occur.

Name Angiopteris lygodiifolia
Physical characteristics Foliage finely divided into fronds, often dark green.
Flowering period None

Food for koalas, eucalyptus, also called gum tree, is a bushy shrub. It flourishes in non-calcareous, slightly acidic, well-drained, deep and humus-rich soil.

If your cat ingests one of its leaves, digestive problems may appear such as vomiting and diarrhea. This plant can be fatal in the event of serious poisoning.

Name Eucalyptus globulus
Physical characteristics Evergreen tree, aromatic leaves, often silvery
Flowering period Depends on variety, but usually spring to summer

The almond tree is a small rustic tree with a rounded silhouette. When mature, the almond tree generally reaches a height of 5 to 6 meters. Its modest stature makes it an ideal choice for limited spaces.

Almonds and parts of the almond tree can be toxic to cats, leading to symptoms such as vomiting and neurological disorders.

Name Prunus dulcis or amygdalus
Physical characteristics Small deciduous tree, pink or white flowers in spring.
Flowering period Spring

The plum tree is one of the least demanding of fruit trees. Cultivated for centuries, the plum tree is a must in orchards and offers delicious, sun-drenched fruits at the end of summer. Boasting deciduous foliage, the plum tree follows the rhythm of the seasons, adorning itself with green hues in spring and giving in to autumnal shades before losing its leaves.

Just like the plum tree, the plum tree contains calcium oxylate which is very dangerous, especially for cats. Ingesting parts of the plant can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats.

Name Prunus domestica
Physical characteristics Deciduous tree, white or pink flowers in spring.
Flowering period Spring

Yew is a conifer often used as an ornamental shrub because it is easy to grow. This versatile plant can reach heights of less than 3 meters and is often transformed into a living work of art with rounded or vertical shapes.

With the exception of the red fruit, all parts of the plant are toxic, particularly the seed, the ingestion of which causes fatal heart problems. The toxic substance is a complex mixture of alkaloids, taxoids, diterpenes and acids.

Name Taxus baccata
Physical characteristics Evergreen shrub or tree, red berries
Flowering period March and April

The walnut is a majestic tree that can reach 25m. Its quality wood is highly prized by cabinetmakers. It can bear fruit for up to 70 years and live up to 300 years. It is planted as much for its ornamental beauty as for its fruits.

This hardy tree is dangerous for cats due to the toxin present in its roots, leaves and nut shells.

Name Juglans
Physical characteristics Large deciduous tree, nuts in shells.
Flowering period Spring

It is crucial to know the plants and flowers in your garden and to ensure that they do not pose a danger to your cats. In case of doubt or suspicious ingestion, consult a veterinarian quickly.

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