Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) is toxic to cats, however, the toxic principle is unknown. Exposure to carnation can cause mild gastrointestinal signs as well as contact dermatitis.
What is carnation?
|Botanical name||Dianthus caryophyllus|
|Common names||Carnation, clove pink|
|Flower colour||Pink, white, purple|
|Native to||Southern Europe and India|
|Toxic parts||All parts|
Carnation is a herbaceous perennial native to Southern Europe and India that is widely cultivated for its highly scented fringe-petalled flowers which make excellent long-lasting cut flowers. The botanical name Dianthus means ‘divine flower’ and was named by Greek botanist Theophrastus. Dios means divine and anthous means flower.
The toxic principle is unknown, the University of California classifies the toxicity class of carnation as 2 and 4.
2) Minor Toxicity: Ingestion of these plants may cause minor illnesses such as vomiting or diarrhea. If ingested, call the Poison Control Center or your doctor.
4) Dermatitis: The juice, sap, or thorns of these plants may cause a skin rash or irritation. Wash the affected area of skin with soap and water as soon as possible after contact. The rashes may be very serious and painful. Call the Poison Control Center or your doctor if symptoms appear following contact with the plants.
Symptoms are generally mild and self-limiting and relate to gastrointestinal disturbances and mild dermatitis.
Remove any plant matter from the mouth if it is safe to do so and offer the cat something to drink. Symptoms of carnation exposure are generally mild and self-limiting, but if symptoms of toxicity occur, contact your veterinarian.
There is no antidote to carnation poisoning, and the goal of treatment is to prevent further toxicity and manage clinical signs. This may include inducing vomiting to remove any remaining plant matter from the gastrointestinal tract, followed by the administration of fluids to prevent or manage dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
The prognosis for carnation ingestion is excellent.
Is it safe to keep carnations in a home with cats?
Carnation is mildly toxic to cats and is generally safe to keep in homes with cats. However, if your cat does show an interest in chewing carnation, it is safer to remove it.
Some cats, especially kittens are more curious and may show an interest in chewing plants. If this is the case, provide cat-safe options such as catnip and cat grass, to avoid any risk of toxicity. There are also a number of flowers that are non-toxic to cats.