Is Your Valentine Bouquet Safe for Your Cat?

black cat with valentine flowers
Lucy enjoys a Valentine bouquet I received including red roses, carnations and fern, in a photo from February 8, 2007.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! If you’re making your plans to give flowers or decorate with flowers today, be aware of some flowers very commonly included in cut bouquets and arrangements, even from the grocery store, that are mildly to highly toxic to cats, and many to dogs as well.

Above, Lucy anticipates a taste of flowers I’d received after my first poetry reading which was right before Valentine’s Day in 2007. The bouquet includes red roses, white carnations and ferns. The roses are fine, and this type of common fern used by florists is fine as well, so they are safe if she wants to snack on them. The carnations can cause only mild tummy upset if they eat too much, in the same category as poinsettias, so I permit those. Now, the festive Hershey Kisses in the milk glass dish are another matter entirely, and even though most of my cats just played a little hockey with those I got a covered dish for colorful candies for the kitties who have to give everything a test bite.

My cats will eat anything green I bring into the house, whether it’s cut flowers or a house plant. Most cats aren’t terribly particular about what greens they’ll nibble on; generally they’ll try anything green and fresh, and some cats will completely chew down a plant that can’t have tasted very good and wasn’t very easy to chew. They don’t stop with leaves, either, but will eat the petals off of a flower, the stems, it’s all a potential snack.

And while many pet owners know the dangers of various houseplants, most people don’t associate cut flowers with these dangers, yet many cut bouquets include flowers from some of the most toxic plants for cats and dogs. What makes it complicated is that we recognize them when they are individual growing plants, but may not even notice them in a mixed bouquet.

Many of the cautions in this article apply to dogs as well, but cats are a little more sensitive to certain plants—lilies, for instance, may give a dog a tummy ache but they may kill a kitty—plus kitties can jump and climb and get themselves into truly amazing places, so I am focusing on cats for this article. But for any pet, please be cautious of flowers and plants and keep the list of toxic species linked at the end handy.

Click here to read the full article with lists, photos and a downloadable reference guide to cat-safe—and unsafe—flowers!

Rather than republishing the entire article each year, I update the original article from 2015 with new links and information, and publish a synopsis with a link to that original.


 

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A couple of years ago I got a bug about the word “purr” and was determined to fit it into a cat shape. With the little red heart motif it’s just in time for Valentine’s Day, though purrs are good every day of the year. Read more about these gifts here on The Creative Cat!


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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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