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Are Orchids Poisonous to Cats? A Toxic Combination?

A dangerous decoration or a stunning housewarming accessory? Orchids can be an exquisite addition to your home, adding a decorative, colourful, and refreshing appeal.

However, for lovers of both orchids and kitties, there remains a concern about whether or not we can have these exquisite flowers in our homes.

Like the bamboo plant, many believe that orchids are poisonous to cats; in the bamboo’s case, though, it’s been proven safe.

But, the question remains, ‘are orchids poisonous to cats?’

Let’s take a look at whether these popular indoor plants are safe for felines and what to do if our pet has ingested parts of the plant.

Cats and Orchards at Home

There’s no better feeling than stepping into your home with rooms filled with beautiful flowers and your furry cat pal innocently occupying the quarters. Orchids are popular plants that many of us want to own. However, many fear orchids are poisonous to cats.

When it comes to cats and plants, there are a few things you need to be aware of, such as your kitties may take pleasure in snacking on your much-beloved plants. While orchids aren’t particularly harmful, your cat shouldn’t be nibbling on it – or any plant – as it may cause some ailment.

Many felines are understandably fascinated with plants, including orchids. For example, a single-stem orchid species in bloom can look like your cats favourite wand toy. You might find your kitty playfully enjoying your houseplant and handling them as playmates. I know my cat does this all the time.

While this won’t be a life or death situation, your cat could still fall ill and you may be picking up ruined or knocked-over plants after play time.

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Are Orchid Plants Poisonous to Cats?

While there are some houseplants that you should avoid having in your home when you have a house pet, like the Fiddle Leaf Fig, orchids are not one of them.

Are orchid poisonous to cats? The ASPCA states that most orchards are non-toxic to cats, dogs, and even horses. The popular Phalaenopsis orchid (moth orchid) is listed among the safe, non-toxic house plants for our beloved animals.

However, the University of California at Davis indicates the Cypripedium Reginaethe lady’s slipper orchid or pink-and-white lady’s slipper – may be slightly toxic to animals, including cats. Although not death-striking, the lady slipper orchid can cause a rash or skin irritation, similar to poison ivy.

Note: Be advised that the consumption of any plant material could cause gastrointestinal upset and vomiting in cats.

Causes of Orchid Poisoning in Cats

While ingesting orchids may give your inquisitive kitty a slight tummy ache and could cause vomiting, orchids are non-toxic to cats. This goes for most – if not all – varieties of orchids.

Even though orchids are non-toxic to our kitties, it’s wise to keep your pets from nibbling on the plants. The two things to consider before owning an orchid or before getting a cat, are:

The Plant

Orchids are part of the diverse Orchidaceae family; a group of beautiful flowering plants often presenting various shades. There are over 20,00 species and around 120,000 orchid hybrids to choose from that are safe for your kitty to be around – which is excellent news because orchids are stunning.

Take a look at this little list of orchids that are safe for your cat:

●      Phalaenopsis (Moth) orchids

●      Miltonia orchids

●      Vanda orchids

●      Odontoglossum orchids

●      Cymbidium orchids

●      Oncidium orchids

●      Dendrobium orchids

●      Cattleya orchids

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Fertilisers & Pesticides

When you decide to get an orchid, you’ll likely turn to fertiliser as a means of helping your plant grow and stay healthy. Unfortunately, it can be toxic for your cat if ingested.

Orchids may not be harmful to cats, but some pot plant items can be, such as fertilisers and the supplementary nutrients. If these chemicals are ingested, it could lead to gastrointestinal irritation in your pet.

To eliminate the risk of your feline becoming ill, try and find an orchid that won’t require fertiliser. You could also consider applying any soluble fertiliser to the roots and avoid using it over the foliage. Alternatively, you can consider applying organic orchid food options.

How to Diagnose Orchid Poisoning in Cats from Fertilisers

Fertiliser can be mildly to moderately harmful to your cat. Orchids, along with many other plants, need fertilisers to stay healthy and grow. As mentioned above, your little kitty can get seriously ill when in immediate contact with these fertilisers and pesticides. How harmful it could be will depend on a combination of factors, such as fertiliser concentration.

If your cat has possibly ingested or been in direct contact with your orchid covered in fertiliser, they could start to show some common symptoms around ten to fifteen minutes after consumption.

Symptoms of Orchid Poisoning in Cats

Although most orchids are considered safe for pets, animals who ingest orchards may experience upset tummies – in a worst-case scenario.

If you’ve done what you can to safeguard your kitty and your plant, and she still gets her teeth into your orchid, these are some symptoms that may arise:

●      Vomiting

●      Diarrhoea

●      Weakness

●      Drooling

●      Abdominal pain

●      Difficulty breathing

What Happens if My Cat Eats Part of a Toxic Plant?

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Firstly, we need to understand, ‘why do cat’s eat flowers, grass, and plants?’

Your adorable feline is an obligate carnivore, meaning eating meat is essential. But sometimes they do not get all the micronutrients they need from meat or the food you feed them. In the wild, felines will consume a little plant matter from their prey’s stomach, which is crucial for healthy digestion. This could be the natural reason your cat decides to munch on your plants.

Many plants are considered irritants for cats, and some symptoms that appear – such as swelling, redness, or itchiness of the eyes, mouth or skin – is caused from eating or rubbing against the wrong plant. When the gastrointestinal tract, the stomach and intestines, become irritated, diarrhoea and vomiting usually occur.

If the toxicity directly affects an organ, the symptoms may be primarily related to that organ, for example:

●      Difficulty breathing may occur if the air passage is involved

●      Drooling may happen if the mouth, throat, or oesophagus is affected

●      Vomiting can endure if the stomach or small intestines are involved

●      Diarrhoea may transpire from the small intestines or colon

●      Excessive urination happens when the kidneys are attacked

Note: If you see your cat showing signs of ailments after ingesting a part of an orchid, you should consult your veterinarian. Keeping mind, they are not poisonous.

Plants That Are Toxic To Cats

The consumption of any plant matter may cause ailments, however many plants that are poisonous to cats should be avoided.

Some examples of poisonous plants for cats include lilies, tulips, amaryllis, daffodils, cyclamen, castor beans, autumn crocus, and so forth. Before getting a kitty, or any house pet for that matter, it’s best to look around at your plants and check if they’re on the toxic plant list.

How to Make Your Cats and Orchids Co-exist

In general, keeping your kitty away from your plants is ideal. If you have concerns about your feline’s health here are some suggestions:

Create a Garden Conservatory

Try to designate an area in your house to keep your plants, such as a garden conservatory, or a section allocated for your flowers. It should have a hatch or door that can be closed behind you, of course, and receive plenty of sunlight throughout the day.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a separate room, you could perhaps put your plants in a place your kitty cannot reach – but don’t underestimate your cat’s climbing ability.

Stop Your Cat From Digging in the Soil

Make sure your plant is in the appropriately sized pot. That way your cat won’t have extra room to dig around in the potting soil. You could also try to put pebbles or small stones over the dirt in the pot plant.

Hang Orchid Pots

You could hang your orchids in pots to keep them out of reach from your cat. There are some stunning hanging pots for orchids available.

Dust or Spray Cat Deterrent on Your Plant

To keep your kitty from munching on your plants, you can try sprinkling it with cinnamon, or cayenne pepper. Cats usually dislike the smell of these spices and won’t approach your plant – unless they have a strange palate.

Final Thoughts: Are Orchids Safe for Cats?

Having growing flowers at home can add beauty and freshness to your living space. But, if you have a loving feline running around, you’ll need to be sure you don’t have anything that may be poisonous to them. While most flowers aren’t toxic to cats and are safe to be kept around, others aren’t so much.

Some plants are dangerous to cats. However, orchids are not among them. Fortunately, orchids and cats can co-exist peacefully. So, go ahead and get yourself a lovely orchid plant without having to worry about your feline friend.

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