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Are roses toxic to cats?

white cat with blue eyes next to big bouquet of red roses

Many types of flowers can be toxic to cats, so check before you gift them! 

© AllaSaa - Shutterstock

With Valentine’s Day coming up, you might be thinking about getting red roses for your loved one. But before you do, ask yourself whether they’ll be safe for the cat in the house!

By Justine Seraphin

Updated on the

As Valentine’s Day approaches, you’re probably planning to offer chocolates and flowers to your loved one. But did you know both of these things can be extremely toxic to cats?

All kinds of chocolate can make cats sick, so if you’re gifting these for V-day, make sure you place them well out of reach of your furry friend. When it comes to flowers, the important thing to know is which ones are toxic and which ones are safe.

The most commonly offered flowers on Valentine’s Day include lilies, tulips, daffodils, and daisies, all of which are extremely toxic to cats - so you should think again before purchasing these. But what about the most popular Valentine’s Day flower of all - the rose? Here’s everything you need to know about cats and roses.

Why are cats attracted to roses?

Cats are inquisitive creatures who also have a highly developed sense of smell. Plus, they’re easily entertained by anything new and dangly - and a bouquet of flowers is exactly that.

If you own a cat, then you know that one of the first things they’ll do when you bring home a bouquet of flowers is to go investigate it by sniffing or even licking and biting at them. They might then start to paw at the leaves or flowers as a sort of new game. The problem with this is that many flowers contain toxins which can be very detrimental to your cat’s health. 

This is why if you’re planning to get flowers for someone who owns a cat, or if you’re a cat owner and you’ve received a bouquet of flowers, it’s really important that you check whether the flower is toxic for cats or not. Seeing as cats are expert climbers, there’s no way you’ll be able to place your flowers somewhere your cats can’t reach. So just to be safe, avoid toxic flowers at all costs!

Are roses toxic to cats?

Thankfully, roses and miniature roses are not toxic to cats (or dogs)! So if you’re wondering what kind of flowers to get your loved one this Valentine’s Day, don’t hesitate to purchase them rather than lilies or tulips. 

Can rose leaves make cats sick?

Just like rose petals, rose leaves are perfectly safe for cats, so if you catch your feline nibbling at them, not to worry, they’ll be fine!

What happens if my cat eats roses?

If your cat is particularly naughty and has consumed a large amount of rose petals or rose leaves, then you could expect some mild vomiting and diarrhoea, but it shouldn’t get any worse than this. If you are concerned, however, don’t hesitate to go see your vet. 

It’s a different story if your roses have been treated with a pesticide. Pesticides are extremely toxic to cats, so if your cat nibbles on a flower that has been sprayed with one, you can expect to see some of the following symptoms of toxicity appear:

  • Drooling
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures

If you see your cat displaying any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

In addition, roses have thorns, which can be very painful and cause serious injuries if your cat tries to ingest them. If you can, try to purchase thornless roses, or to remove the thorns yourself before you leave a bouquet on display in your home.

Other plants with rose in the name

Flowers with similar names can be easily confused, yet their level of toxicity is not necessarily the same! So it’s very important to know the difference between all of them. Here are a few other flowers that have “rose” in their name but than can be highly toxic to your cat:

  • Christmas Rose
  • Desert Rose
  • Moss Rose
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Rosebay
  • Primrose

Make sure you never have any of these in your home! Instead, why not get a good old classic red rose?

So, what kind of flowers will you be getting your loved one this year?

Frequently asked questions

Are orchids poisonous to cats?

Are alstroemeria poisonous to cats?

Are carnations poisonous to cats?

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