Are Lotus Flowers Toxic to Cats? Is it Safe to Grow in a Pet-Friendly Yard?

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Are lotus flowers toxic to cats? Lotus flowers are non-toxic. However, they shouldn’t be confused with the mildly toxic waterlily. 

Lotus flowers are some of the most harmless aquatic plants to grow in your cat-friendly yard. Lotus flowers may sometimes colloquially be called water lilies and closely resemble them. That being said, they do not have the same toxic traits as water lilies.

This article will answer the question, ‘are lotus flowers toxic to cats?’ We’ll look at the differences between lotus flowers and water lilies and discuss which varieties of lilies are toxic.

What are lotus flowers?

Are lotus flowers toxic to cats

The lotus flower is an aquatic plant that is a part of the Nelumbonaceae plant family. The flowers are most commonly known to be either pink or white but can also come in red and blue colors. These flowers usually symbolize things such as purity, prosperity, and wealth. Lotus flowers are native to Asia and are the national flower of Vietnam and India.

Lotus flowers are non-toxic to pets and humans and are often used in recipes across Asia. They are often pickled but can also be eaten cooked or raw.

When looking for the perfect flowers and plants in general in a cat-friendly home, it is crucial that you consider the toxicity levels of each plant. This is because plants that are more than slightly irritating to cats are capable of causing major damage to some of their most vital organs. This means that having a toxic or poisonous plant in a home where cats reside could cause issues with their kidneys, muscles, and sometimes even their hearts.

Some common symptoms that appear in cats that have ingested a toxic plant include diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive shaking or salivation.

Are lotus flowers toxic to cats?

Are lotus flowers toxic to cats? The lotus flower is non toxic.

The lotus flower is related to the Proteaceae plant family; this family is considered to be invasive but completely non-toxic to cats. Lotus flowers are also non-toxic, while water lilies are toxic.

In addition to this, due to the stems and leaves of the lotus flower not being toxic, the water surrounding them is also safe to ingest for cats and won’t cause any harm or irritation.

On the other hand, you may want to be a little more careful when it comes to letting your beloved pets play near the roots of this particular plant. This is because even though the roots are not likely to be toxic or overly dangerous, they are commonly known to contain more toxins than the more apparent part of the lotus. This is the case for pretty much every flower and plant in general. Therefore, if your cat experiences any mild symptoms or irritations after being near a lotus flower, it is most likely because it managed to ingest a part of its root.

That being said, this ingestion is not capable of causing your cat any real damage or problems. As well as this, your cat isn’t very likely to ever get in contact with the root of this particular plant unless it’s an invasive digger. Because of this, you should focus more on whether the visible parts of this piece of greenery are completely safe, and they are.


There aren’t any real, prominent symptoms that your cat may experience after ingesting a lotus flower except possibly some slight overall irritation. 

However, if your cat has ingested another plant, such as the water lily or another type of lily which happens to be toxic, it may suffer from symptoms such as:

  • Seizures or fits
  • Confusion and possible lack of coordination
  • Irritated gums, eyes, and skin
  • As previously mentioned, diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive shaking or salivation

Are Water Lilies toxic to cats?

Water lilies are not related to the Nelumbonaceae family but are part of the Nymphaeaceae botanical family. This particular plant can be toxic to both cats and dogs if ingested. 

It is important to note that all parts of the water lily are considered toxic; the flowers, stems, leaves, and even the water surrounding them can cause your cat serious harm. 

However, as water lilies are aquatic plants and most cats hate water, they are unlikely to get a hold of a piece of the plant, so you shouldn’t necessarily get rid of your water lilies. 

There are fewer cases of cats being poisoned by water lilies than other lily varieties. This is because they are less accessible, and many lily varieties are highly toxic to cats. Water lilies aren’t real lilies. They are part of a different botanical family and don’t contain the same toxins as lilies (Lilium spp.).

However, they can still cause symptoms if ingested by a cat. Some common symptoms that occur in cats after they have ingested any part of a water lily include:

  • Muscle tremors and spasms
  • An increased heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

If you believe that your cat may have ingested any part of a water lily, you must seek professional help as soon as possible. The sooner you can get your cat the support it needs, the less chance there is of any severe or permanent damage being caused. 

What's the difference between a Water Lily and Lotus flower?

It is easy to confuse a water lily and a lotus flower as they are both aquatic plants with large, beautiful flowers. However, there are a few key differences between the two. The most obvious difference is the way that the plants grow. Water lilies float on top of the water, while lotus flowers grow in muddy ponds.

You can also identify the plants by their flowers. Lotus flowers are larger than water lilies, and their petals are also a lot more pointy. Water lilies, on the other hand, have much rounder petals. They also come in a far greater range of colors; you can even find orange, blue, and purple waterlilies, whereas lotus flowers are mainly pink or white.

The lotus flower has religious or spiritual significance and is often seen as a symbol of growth and rebirth. The water lily, on the other hand, is an invasive species in many places and is also the birth flower for those born in July.

Which types of lilies are poisonous to cats?

Lilies are plants that are part of the Lilium spp. botanical family and are some of the most toxic plants. Lilies should be avoided if you have a cat. The pollen can fall onto a cat’s fur and be accidentally ingested during grooming. Ingestion of any part of the plant can cause severe symptoms, including kidney failure. 

Here’s a list of the most poisonous varieties of lily:

  • Easter Lily
  • Japanese Lily
  • Oriental Lily hybrids
  • Stargazer Lily
  • Casa Blanca Lily
  • Tiger Lily
  • Day Lilies
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Peruvian Lily
  • Calla Lily (Trumpet Lily)
  • Peace Lily
  • Flame Lily

Non-toxic plants

Non-toxic plants that you may be interested in include all other members of the Proteaceae plant family. These include some beautiful flowers such as the Banksia, Hakea, and Isopogon.

Are lotus flowers toxic to Cats? Final thoughts

Overall, the lotus flower is an absolutely stunning flower that is capable of being the perfect addition to a cat-friendly yard. While lotus flowers are non-toxic, some species of water lilies are toxic. 

You may also like to check out some of our other plant articles; Is Achira Toxic to Cats? and Are Pussy Willows Toxic to Cats?

Written by Victoriya Litovchenko and Abi Latham

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