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What Flowers Are Safe for Cats?

Gloxinia flower image by Goran Milic from

Flowers bring us beauty and pleasure, whether they are potted plants, a vase of cut flowers or in an outdoor garden. Cats are intrigued by flowers as well, sometimes with dire consequences. Some plants and flowers are toxic to cats, and you should know which are safe to have in your home. If your cat likes to chew plants, you can satisfy this urge by growing a small dish of oat grass indoors for your cat to graze.


Rose image by DreamSpell from

All roses are safe around cats. Climbing or bush roses in an outdoor rose garden, as well as miniature roses indoors or out do not pose a threat to cats if ingested. This is one more reason to treasure that vase of florist roses. Thorns are the only hazard with roses. A curious cat may injure his mouth if he chews on a thorny stem.


six kinds of aromatic herbs for cooking image by from

Some of the medicinal properties of herbs make them toxic to cats. However, dill, parsley, sage and valerian are safe for cats. Lavender, lovage, thyme, mints and rosemary are other common herbs that are safe for the cat-friendly herb garden. Your kitty will thank you if you plant some catnip for her.

Aster Family

zinnia image by maslight from

Your outdoor flower garden can be cat-friendly. Flowering plants such as African daisies and asters are excellent in the flower garden and are nontoxic to cats. If you want bright flowers that are safe for cats, try planting zinnias. Zinnias are available in a wide range of colors, with different types of petal formations. Tall zinnias make ideal cut flowers, and low-growing zinnia varieties like Tom Thumb create attractive borders.

Gesneriad Family

African violets image by nTripp from

Indoor flowering plants in the Gesneriad genus add a decorative touch wherever they appear. For colorful flowers in low-light conditions, gloxinias and African violets are ideal. Both are safe for cats. Both of these produce flowers in a number of different colors; some are even bi-colored. African violets also have been bred to have double fluffy flowers or petals with ruffled edges.

Plants Toxic to Humans

Three plants that are toxic to humans, but not to cats, are poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. Urushiol is the plant oil that makes these plants toxic to humans. If your pet has brushed against one of these plants, it may carry urushiol on its fur, and you may get a reaction from stroking your pet’s fur. Urushiol does not seem to bother cats.

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