This is something of a public service announcement from us at BBC, requested by a dear friend of ours whose kittens recently had a super close and scary shave (and not of the grooming variety!).

In fact, your fur baby could be in grave danger right now! And if you’re anything like us (crazy dog and cat maniacs), you’ll wanna listen up. ‘Cause lurking in that innocuous bunch of blooms you’ve just been given could be your worst nightmare. And if you’re not of the pet persuasion it’s still worth being aware of what to look out for when you’re gifting a bunch to your pet owning buddies.

Did you know that heaps of our favourite blooms and botanicals can be deadly poisonous to both cats and dogs if they are ingested or even sniffed? A surprisingly large proportion of pet owners are completely unaware of just how toxic some of the most popular flowers are to our furry friends. So we’ve broken down the top troublemakers to watch out for.


One of the very worst offenders are lilies, and most people have no idea how dangerous they are. Think Asiatic, Tiger, Day and Easter lilies – some of the most common flowers you’ll see in gift bouquets. These super popular flowers are deadly toxic to cats in particular, and unfortunately act a bit like catnip for cats (they can’t help wanting to rub up against them). In fact our said friend posted a super cute and naughty photo of her kitty with pollen on her nose, and as crazy adorable as it was, it was a total no no. This is because all parts of the lily plant are toxic to cats, including the petals, stem, leaves, stamen and pollen. Even a tiny chew or a brush of pollen on their whiskers can cause acute renal failure with symptoms including vomiting, depression, loss of appetite and dehydration, which if not immediately treated usually leads to permanent kidney damage that in a LOT of cases is fatal. And the damage is untreatable and irreversible. Very scary stuff.


Complete innocence! But the pollen was a total giveaway

Theodore was rushed to the vet for intravenous treatment (and a cone of shame)


Thankfully, this naughty pollen snuffling cutie was treated just in time and has now made a full recovery

If you suspect your cat has ingested any part of a lily, rush them to the vet pronto! The faster you can get them to the vet, the faster they can try to counteract the toxins by inducing vomiting or intravenous fluids, and cats that are treated within 18 hours of exposure usually recover. So don’t delay!

Other lilies such as Peace or Cala lilies are less toxic but may cause mouth and oesophagus irritation.


These Enid Blyton-esque, enchanted looking blooms might look like they’d make perfect little hats for pixies, but under that magical facade they are toxic to both cats and dogs, with consumption causing weakness, vomiting, diarrhoea and even cardiac failure. They might be fine for pixies but keep them well out of reach for your pets!


Delphiniums are another innocent looking blooms to be wary of. Ingestion causing weakness, paralysis, constipation and cardiac and respiratory issues that can be fatal to both cats and dogs.


Another wolf in sheep’s clothing is the humble daffodil! The bulbs are the most toxic part, which you won’t have to worry about with cut flowers, but the consumption of large amounts of the flowers and plant can cause vomiting, salivation, low blood pressure and cardiac issues. Veterinary care is highly recommended.

Other common cut flowers and foliage to watch out for:

Tulips and Hyacinths – If chewed or ingested these can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea and respiration problems.
Chrysanthemums – can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea and dermatitis if ingested
Carnations and Sweet William – can cause mild gastrointestinal discomfort and dermatitis if ingested
Gladioli – if ingested can cause salivation, vomiting, lethargy and diarrhoea
Ivy – the foliage is more toxic than the berries, with ingestion causing stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea
Hydrangeas – can cause vomiting, depression and diarrhoea
Rhododendrons – if ingested can cause drooling, weakness, coma, depression and can be fatal
Sweet pea – if eaten, can cause weakness, lethargy or seizures
Peony – if eaten can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and depression
Monstera foliage – can causes drooling, irritation and vomiting

View the full list of flowers and plants that are toxic to cats and dogs.

If you suspect your furry friend has munched on a toxic plant, get them to the vet ASAP. A couple of extra points to keep your fur babies safe:

  • In general, keep your flowers and botanicals out of reach of your pets
  • When ordering or gifting flowers, make a note to let your florist know if they are going to a pet owner (cat owners in particular)
  • Spread the word to your friends and family and send this article along to the flower and pet lovers in your life

You could end up saving a life!


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About the Author:

Philomena is the founder of Bloombox Co, occasional hatmaker and pickle aficionado. She lives in Melbourne where she works to get locally grown flowers into homes and businesses.