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Are Orchids Poisonous To Cats? Expert Reveals

Are Orchids Poisonous To Cats?

I am not sure why, but most people genuinely believe that their cat may die after nibbling on orchids. Yes, they are not the most appropriate food for your furry friend, but they are not poisonous for it either. 

In fact, according to the ASPCA (the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) searchable database, most plants are non-toxic for kitties. However, fertilizers and pesticides, you use for the plants to thrive better, are often harmful to pets.

Why Does Your Kitty Consume Flowers?

Your cat is an obligate carnivore, which means that its digestive system digests just pure animal proteins, not herbs. I know this is sad news for vegetarians, but your cat cannot become one of you. The only way to be healthy is to eat - meat! Deal with it or adopt a goat.

However, you may see your beauty consuming flowers and leaves. My Josephine does it regularly since it has a sensitive stomach, and obviously needs help with digestion.

Unlike her wild relatives getting necessary plant matter from the digestive tract of herbivores they eat, my dear cat has no such a privilege. I mean, cats hunting in the wild consume a little bit of plant matter from their prey's stomach, which is crucial for their own healthy digestion.

Unfortunately, domestic cats have no that privilege, and they get necessary greenery by nibbling our flowers. That is the only way for them to prevent digestive disturbance.

On the other hand, eating plants with a high percentage of insoluble fiber may help your sick cat vomit. Sometimes, it is everything your kitty needs to feel better.

Not to mention that some plants contain micronutrients. When there is a deficit of these elements in the regular diet of your cat, it will eat plants to make up for the shortfall. 

I need to mention here that eating the leaves does not have to be a sign that your cat is sick. For example, my Sofio enjoys chewing my flowers whenever he is bored!

Are Orchids Poisonous To Cats

The Plant

Even though an old belief says that orchids (Phalaenopsis spp) are poisonous for kitties, all types of these magnificent flowers are on the list of safe garden plants. That means there is no need to hesitate to include them in your home. 

BUT!!! Have you ever noticed that there is always at least one 'but' in each statement? I need to say that there is one in this case, as well. It is connected to the possible harmfulness of orchids to the health of your furry friend. Let's see. 

You probably know that there are a bunch of native orchids growing in sunny fields throughout the US. Many of us beautify our homes with a wide array of tropical types of this particular beautiful houseplant.

The data shows that there are approximately 25,000 orchid species and at least 100,000 hybrids worldwide. BUT there is a catch. While orchids are safe for our kitties, modern hybrids are something entirely different.

Some of them carry the one specific and quite odd gene. It causes problems and supports the established belief regarding the toxicity and harmfulness of the orchid to the cats.

That particular gene creates a highly harmful compound in your beloved flower, causing sickness in kitties. After nibbling your orchid, it may suffer from vomiting, stomach ache, and diarrhea until its body gets rid of toxins.

Best Orchids Safe For Your Cat

Orchids Safe For Cats

The fertilizer 

The additional issue is fertilizing, as an inevitable process when you decide to grow orchids in your home. Unfortunately, most of the crucial fertilizers helping your plant grow lush and thrive are toxic for your cat after ingestion. 

Some of them may harm your kitty as soon as it comes into direct contact with the chemicals. That means the plant is not poisonous, but chemicals used for their growth will jeopardize your furry friend.

The only way to eliminate the risk to endanger your pet and to grow orchids at the same time is to find the species growing without adding herbicides. Another option is to apply fertilizer to the roots and avoid spraying it over the foliage.

However, you can also consider applying natural or organic alternatives. They are a bit expensive, but they are the best solution to keep your furry friend safe from poisoning.

Keep Your Orchid Safe from Your Kitty and Vice Versa

While you keep worrying about the possible toxicity of orchids regarding your furry friend, it will enjoy destroying the plants. Therefore, you need to figure out how to keep your flowers safe and your cat healthy.

Determine a designated space in your home for plants. If your house is big enough, it is an excellent idea to organize a sunny garden room inside. It may become your anti-stress place for pure enjoyment. 

Don't forget that such a place needs to have a door to prevent your cat from entering. Judging by my three curious beauties, you can expect howls and heartbreaking meowing in front of the entry for days.

Cats do not like restrictions, and they will not tolerate any ban without clearly demonstrate their displeasure. However, for the sake of their health and the safety of your orchids, you must remain relentless. 

If such a fantastic room is not an option, you can place your plants together on a narrow windowsill or shelf to prevent your kitty from strolling around.

Also, you should pick out the appropriate size pots and hang them on the ceiling. As an ultimate solution, you should dust the foliage with cinnamon, bitter apple, or cayenne pepper. They will definitely keep your furry friend far away.

Conclusion

Some flowers are poisonous for cats, but orchids are not among them. However, once your cat nibbles on your orchids, it may feel sick. The severity of the symptoms will depend on the size of your kitty, its body mass, the type of fertilizer you have used, and the amount of plant it has eaten.

The best option to keep your furry friend safe is to choose organic plant care products. Also, you should prevent your cat from coming into contact with the orchids if you use harmful chemicals to encourage lush growth of the plants.

Other Tips

We want to keep our plants away from our cats that could easily enjoy them as a snack, but it’s okay because with these few tips you will be able to grow your plants again without being scared they might get destroyed later  

Check this out! 

  • Having an exclusive room or a small section at home where you can close the door, can be very helpful to keep them away from your kitty. You’ll like the next tip if you don’t have much space at home. 

  • Make your cat repellent! It’s very easy to make, you’ll just need some cinnamon powder or cayenne pepper, both will work good. Then dust some of it in your orchid’s leaves, very easy and effective. 

  • Another good tip! My grandmother uses hanging pots and hooks to keep her plans safe from Tom; her beloved Persian cat, and it does work, also orchids look more exotic when hanging.  

SO IS YOUR CAT SAFE HAVING AN ORCHID AT HOME?

To make it simple, yes! You can go buy your orchid! Just protect it from your cat, remember you like the orchid and your cat too, and once your kitty eats a flower she might not feel well because it can cause your cat to have an upset stomach.   

Sometimes is hard to have an exclusive space for our plants, so remember grandma’s tip, some cinnamon or Cayenne pepper will protect your plants. Also hanging pots make orchids look prettier at home and cats won’t get any closer to your orchids if you try this  

Q&A

Are orchids toxic to cats? 

If you're wondering about orchids and cats as well as if they are toxic or potentially deadly the answer is no! All cat experts agree that orchids are perfectly safe around cats although it's not recommended to have them within reach.

The worst that can happen is a serious upset stomach if your cat decides to chomp on your orchids although it's unusual for this to happen. With that said that are some plants that are toxic to cats which you should be aware of.

Why do cats eat plants? 

Cats eat plants and even orchids for a few different reasons. One of the main reasons that cats eat plants is they're actually lacking something in their diet. Cats commonly eat house plants and more likely grasses because of a deficiency in certain nutrients.

But do not worry, eating grasses is perfectly normal and healthy for your kitty. If they eat something that is bad for them or causing them an upset stomach its common for them to eat grasses so they can then vomit.

What you do not want is for them to eat lots of flowers or orchids. One because you don't want to lose your precious orchids and also because its possible they have a little upset tummy.

How can you stop your cats from destroying your plants?

You can easily prevent your cat or at least deter them from eating your orchids or plants by using spices such as cinnamon or cayenne pepper which they are naturally repelled by.

Holly Hudson

Mad cat lady, expert and creator of the Cat Cave Co.

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