Are Orchids Poisonous to Cats?
Is your favorite flower a threat to your cat? we spoke with a veterinarian toxicologist to get the scoop.
Yvonne Villasenor By Yvonne Villasenor February 23, 2022 Advertisement Pin FB More Tweet Email Send Text Message Print
cat sniffing orchids on a dining room table Credit: Carlina Teteris / Getty
If you're a plant lover, it's possible you're thinking about getting an orchid or already have one. (Or 10!) You can find orchids just about anywhere—from the grocery store to your local plant nursery. There are more than 800 different types and over 25,000 species of this popular flower. Widely loved for their beauty and elegance, orchids are a colorful and fragrant flower that can liven up a room in an instant.
As a passionate pet parent and plant parent, you might wonder, 'Are orchids poisonous to cats? Or are they safe for cats?'
We have some good news for you: Orchids are not toxic to cats—so, the two can coexist! As with any houseplant, though, you'll want to make sure your cat isn't grazing on your orchids.
Are Orchids Toxic to Cats if They Eat Them?
Did your curious kitty take a bite out of your orchid petals? Leaves? Stem?
Not to worry! According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, orchids are a safe plant for cats to have in your home. However, they can cause your cat some issues if eaten.
"Orchids may cause stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea but are not expected to cause more serious signs," says Renee Schmid, DVM, DABVT, DABT, and Senior Veterinarian Toxicologist at the Pet Poison Helpline.
And although orchids are not toxic themselves, the chemicals in fertilizers, insecticides, and pesticides can be harmful to your cat. To ensure total safety for your cat, use organic, pet-friendly products on your orchid in the event that your cat manages to get to it.
RELATED: How to Keep Your Spring Cleaning Safe for Pets, With Advice From the Experts
Are All Orchids Safe for Cats?
Wondering if you can add a new orchid to your ever-growing collection, like the Blue Mystique orchid or the early purple orchid?
Fortunately, all orchids of the Orchidaceae family are safe for cats—meaning, you can care for as many as you want and whatever kind you want without worry.
Orchids are harmless options to have around our beloved cats, but it's still best to keep them in a spot Fluffy can't get to. That way, your cats are safe, and your orchids can thrive.
"Any part [of the orchid] ingested will cause a risk for stomach upset," Schmid says. "If large pieces of bulbs are ingested, or a large amount of plant material, there is a risk for foreign body obstruction."
She adds that all orchids have the same potential for gastrointestinal upset. So, regardless of the type you have, it's important to keep a close eye on your cat.
Consider placing your orchids (and any other plants you may have) in hanging baskets or wall mounts to keep them out of your cat's reach.
Notice your kitty paying a little too much attention to your orchids? Surprise her with a safe, indoor cat grass to chew on or a new toy to keep her entertained. (Your orchid may just become old news to your cat in the blink of an eye.)
What To Do If Your Cat Eats an Orchid
Whether you need to take your cat to the vet because she ate your orchid depends on how much of it she ate and her symptoms afterward.
If you find your cat has been feasting on orchids, Schmid suggests to "monitor for signs of stomach upset, and take [your cat] to the veterinarian if persistent vomiting or diarrhea develops."
If your cat has a tendency to sniff and eat plants, avoid keeping these common, toxic plants in your home and yard:
- Aloe vera
- Jade plants
For more information on cats and toxic plants, read the ASPCA's list of non-toxic and toxic plants. If your cat is showing signs of poisoning, contact your vet immediately or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.
To learn how you can keep your cat safe from potentially toxic substances, check out our guide on cat poisoning symptoms, treatment, and prevention.