Six Cat-Safe Cut Flowers

Six cat-safe cut flowers at a glance

  1. Moth orchid
  2. Rose
  3. Sunflower
  4. Gerbera
  5. Zinnia
  6. Hollyhock

Cats and flowers can be a dangerous combination as many plants are toxic to cats. Due to their curious nature, cats may be accidentally poisoned if they ingest the wrong plant. Symptoms can range from mild dermal (skin) irritation to acute kidney failure.

Mixed bouquets can be problematic because they usually contain a mixture of toxic and non-toxic flowers, therefore we recommend sticking to one variety of cat-safe flower.

Moth orchid

  • Scientific name: Phalaenopsis spp.

The moth orchid or moon orchid is a genus of 70 species of orchid native to Asia. Orchids are usually sold as pot plants, and their long-lasting blooms can brighten up a room for several weeks.

Related: Plants non-toxic to cats

Rose

Scientific name: Rosa spp.

Roses are quite possibly the most popular cut flower due to their delicate scent and beautiful flowers. The colour of the flower has different meanings.

  • Red: Love, passion, romance
  • Dark pink: Appreciation, gratitude
  • Pink: Feminity, elegance, refinement
  • White: Purity, innocence, youthfulness
  • Yellow: Friendship, joy, caring
  • Orange: Desire, enthusiasm
  • Lavender: Enchantment

Sunflower

Scientific name: Helianthus spp.

Sunflowers are a genus of 70 flowering plants well-known for their tall, bright yellow flowers. The size of sunflowers can range from 24 inches to a whopping 6 foot tall. These easy to grow flowers make a great addition to the garden and as a cut flower.

Zinnia

Scientific name: Zinnia elegans

Zinnias are an annual shrub native to North and South America. Their long-lasting, daisy-like flowers come in a variety of colours and can make a cheerful cut flower display. These easy to grow plants are a favourite among butterflies and bees.

Gerbera

Scientific name: Gerbera jamesonii

Grown as a garden plant or and as cut flowers, the gerbera is popular for its bright daisy-like flowers. The plants are native to South Africa and can be found in a number of colours including pink, yellow, salmon, white and orange.

Hollyhock

Scientific name: Alcea rosea

Hollyhocks are a genus of 60 plants native to the Middle East but widely grown in cottage gardens throughout the world.  Beautiful flowers grow on tall spikes during the summer months which attract bees and butterflies.

Keeping cats safe

Even non-toxic flowers can pose a risk of gastrointestinal upset or blockage if a large volume of the plant is consumed. Try to keep flowers away from cats, and if they do show an interest in chewing them, remove them from areas the cat can access.

What should you do if a cat eats a plant or flower? 

If your cat consumes a plant or flower, and are not sure if it is toxic, it is always safer to see a veterinarian. Bring along a sample of the plant if possible. The earlier the cat receives treatment, the better the outcome. Early intervention will allow the veterinarian to induce vomiting to prevent absorption of the plant, but this must be done quickly.

What cut flowers are not safe for cats? 

  • Lilies
  • Dahlia
  • Geranium
  • Gladioli
  • Daffodil and jonquil
  • Hyacinth
  • Calla lily
  • Foxglove
  • Lupin
  • Belladonna lily
  • Hydrangea
  • Tulips
  • Freesia
  • Allium
  • Carnation
  • Larkspur
  • Iris
  • Sweet pea

Lilies in particular are extremely toxic to cats, the toxic compound is unknown, but ingestion of any part of the plant leads to acute kidney failure.

Julia Wilson is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. She enjoys photography, gardening and running in her spare time. Full author bio Contact Julia