Are Peonies Poisonous to Cats? These Flowers Look Beautiful But May Harm Your Cat if Ingested
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If you have a cat, then you know many plants could be dangerous. Some cats like to nibble on plants, while others aren’t interested in houseplants or flowers. Are Peonies poisonous to cats?
Peonies are beautiful flowers, but they’re on the list of poisonous plants according to the ASPCA. They contain a toxin called paeonol, which is toxic to dogs, cats and horses. They also contain glycosides which can cause stomach upset in animals.
For humans, peonies have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Paeonol has anti-inflammatory properties and pain relief qualities. It’s also neuroprotective and can help prevent cardiovascular diseases. Glycoside has anti-depressant properties for people but is harmful to animals. This article will answer the question, ‘are peonies poisonous to cats?’ We’ll also tell you what to do if you think your cats eaten a piece of toxic houseplant.
Are peonies poisonous to cats?
Peonies are considered mildly poisonous to cats and if eaten, could cause vomiting, diarrhea, and depression in felines. If your cat is usually interested in plants or flowers, it would be best to ensure he doesn’t have access to the plant.
In most cases, poisoning would only happen if the cat ate a large amount of the bark from a peony plant. Paeonol is a compound found in a high concentration in the bark and roots of the plant. Most cats are unlikely to ingest bark, so they are safe enough if peonies grow in your garden.
That being said, the flowers and leaves of the plant contain glycosides which can cause your cat to have an upset stomach. In large quantities, peonies could theoretically poison your cat.
What are the symptoms of peonies poisoning in cats?
If your cat decides to nibble on or eat any part of a peony he might experience some discomfort. The plant contains glycosides that irritate the mucous membranes in the digestive tract. This can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which could become severe if more than one petal, leaf, or bark is ingested.
What do peonies look like?
These perennials flower from early spring to midsummer, thriving in various climates. They can be grown as annuals and cared for indoors during the winter months in milder temperatures. In warmer areas, they can be planted outside year-round. There are different types of peonies; some grow as small shrubs while others grow as a tree.
Peonies are known for their beautiful red, pink or white flowers with bright green leaves. The peony is a popular garden plant that is part of the Paeniaceae family.
How can I prevent my cat from getting poisoned?
It’s usually easy to keep your cat away from houseplants and flowers, but you should still be aware of the toxic potential. Keep all house plants up high where your cat can’t reach them. Always check the plant’s toxicity levels before bringing a new plant home to ensure they’re safe.
If you have peonies in your garden, ensure that your cat can’t access them or eat any. Cats are curious and like to explore so this is easier said than done. Cats are notoriously fussy eaters and instinctively know not to eat certain plants. Many wild animals have a sixth sense that stops them from eating plants that will make them sick or kill them. Although cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, they still seem to avoid harmful plants, and cats will rarely become poisoned from peonies.
What to do if your cat has eaten some peony?
If your cat does ingest peony, it would be best to contact your vet for treatment and advice immediately. Your cat may seem ok, but it’s best to seek medical advice. It can take up to 24 hours for symptoms to develop, don’t wait until your cat has become unwell, or it may be too late.
If your cat has eaten some peony, remove any visible petals or leaf particles from his mouth and fur. Wipe your pet’s mouth with a damp cloth to remove plant juice.
What to do if you think your cat has been poisoned:
Follow these steps if you think your cat has been poisoned by peonies, any other plant, or a household substance. Common cat poisons include; dog flea treatments, human medicines, antifreeze, household cleaners and chemicals and human foods such as onion, garlic and chocolate.
- Call the vet immediately
- Take a sample of the plant to the vet for identification.
- If you’re unsure what your cat has eaten, take a sample of the vomit for the vet to test.
- Keep other pets away from the toxic plant or source of poisoning
- Try to stay calm
Things to avoid
- Don’t wait for symptoms to appear before calling your vet
- Don’t assume that your cat will get better after vomiting
- Don’t attempt to make your cat vomit or give him saltwater
- Try not to panic
Are cats likely to be poisoned?
According to the Cats Protection League, cats aren’t any more likely to be poisoned than other animals. If your cat has access to the outdoors, you may not be aware that he has eaten something toxic. Your cat may suddenly become unwell, so it’s important to be aware of what may have caused his ill health and act quickly. Cats are more likely to die than dogs if they’ve eaten something toxic. This is due to their smaller size; even a small amount of a toxic substance could prove to be fatal.
Cats also process chemicals in a slightly different way than dogs and are often less able to eliminate toxins safely. Often, when a cat has been poisoned, the owner doesn’t know which plant or substance has been consumed. This is especially true for adventurous cats who wander. It may take the vet a while to figure out what has caused the problem, which will reduce the chances of survival.
Cats also lick themselves to keep clean. As cats rub against things, they can end up with pollen or other toxins on their coats. Lilies produce pollen which is highly toxic to cats and can easily be consumed while grooming. In many cases where cats have been poisoned, they haven’t directly consumed a toxin but have accidentally eaten it when grooming themselves.
Are peonies poisonous to cats? Final thoughts….
Peonies have compounds that are toxic to cats, especially paeonol, which is found in the plant’s bark. The flowers and leaves also contain glycosides which can cause stomach upset in cats and other animals.