Begonias are popular plants that can grow indoors and outdoors. Many people love begonias because they’re pretty easy to grow, and they bloom assorted colors of flowers. However, begonias are poisonous to cats. Since they can grow both inside and outside, indoor cats and outdoor cats are susceptible to unsafe situations with these flowers around.
Let’s take a closer look at the danger these flowers pose when it comes to your favorite feline.
Why Are Begonias Poisonous to Cats?
Begonias are poisonous to cats because they contain toxins called soluble calcium oxalates. Calcium oxalates are the culprit for helping the body produce kidney stones. Therefore, if you have a kitten or cat that has mild to severe kidney disease, begonias are particularly dangerous for them.
The parts of the begonia that have the highest concentration of soluble calcium oxalates are the roots. Therefore, your cat may not have as severe of a reaction if they ingest the leaves or the flowers. However, if you know that your cat has dug into the plant’s roots and eaten some of them, contact your veterinarian right away.
Before you call your veterinarian, make sure that you have some vital information to provide them.
If your veterinarian wants you to bring your cat in, make sure to bring a sample of the begonia with you.
5 More Flowers That Are Toxic to Cats
Cats are obligate carnivores. Therefore, it’s not in their natural diet to consume a lot of plants. However, cats can be very curious creatures, and they may enjoy just trying different textured plants and chewing on them. Some cats also have a strong affinity towards catnip and cat grass, so they may think that other plants are edible as well.
If you have cats that enjoy chewing on plants, it’s best to avoid having plants in the home that contain toxic properties, and avoid growing them in the garden if your cat spends a lot of time outside. Here are some common plants that are toxic to cats if consumed:
Azaleas are moderately toxic to cats. All plant parts contain a toxin called grayanotoxin, which is in the nectar of flowers in the Rhododendron family.
Severe cases can result in cardiac failure.
Sesquiterpene lactones are essential oils that humans can use safely. However, they can be skin irritants to cats. Pyrethrins are natural insecticides that the chrysanthemum uses to protect itself. This toxin is unsafe for cats because they can’t metabolize it very well.
All parts of the hydrangea are poisonous to cats, especially the flowers and young leaves. This flower contains a toxin called amygdalin. Amygdalin itself isn’t toxic, but when a mammal ingests and metabolizes it, it produces cyanide as a byproduct.
The severity of a cat’s affliction will depend on the amount that your cat consumed. Most cats don’t eat enough of the flower to become affected by severe side effects though.
Irises are a common sight to see in many people’s gardens and floral arrangements. However, they’re moderately toxic to cats. This flower contains pentacyclic terpenoids, which can upset your cat’s stomach. All parts of the plant contain this toxin, but it’s most concentrated in flower buds.
Lilies are one of the most dangerous flowers to cats. All parts of the flower are poisonous, including the pollen. If the lilies are in a vase, the water is also contaminated.
Cats can also undergo kidney failure, so it’s best not to have any lily species in a house with cats. If your cat has eaten any part of a lily, contact your veterinarian right away. Waiting 12-24 hours after the cat has ingested the plant can lead to kidney failure with fatal consequences.
The 5 Common Flowers That Are Safe for Cats
Flowering plants bring a whole new kind of life into your home and around your exterior landscaping. Fortunately, there are a lot of other common plants that you can use that are safe for cats. So, instead of worrying about your cat and begonias, consider these other beautiful flowering plants that you can have in your home or the garden.
Asters grow in the fall and add beautiful colors to an autumnal landscape. There are many different varieties of asters, and the colors of the flowers include blue, purple, pink, violet, and white. Aster seeds are also a vital source of food for many birds in the winter.
Orchids are beautiful houseplants that you can find at almost any plant shop. They’re a great option as a houseplant because you can find a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes to match your home’s interior design.
3. Gerbera Daisies
These flowers are low-maintenance plants that grow easily outdoors. However, you can also grow them indoors if you’re able to provide proper care. The flowers grow big and round and have very vibrant petals that come in various shades of red, pink, yellow, orange, and white.
Sunflowers look beautiful both outside and in floral arrangements. There are many varieties of sunflowers, so you can grow various sizes in your garden. They’re relatively easy to grow as long as they receive an adequate amount of sunlight.
Snapdragons come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes, so they make versatile additions to any landscape. These plants don’t require too much special maintenance, and they make beautiful accents to any bouquet.
Begonias are common plants that are poisonous to cats. The roots are particularly toxic. You can try to train and deter your cat from eating a begonia, but the safest way to protect your cat is to remove begonias from your home.
If your cat does ingest a part of a begonia plant or any other toxic plant, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
There are also many other safe flower alternatives that bring color and life to your home and garden. You can easily find many of these flowers at your local plant shop or the seasonal section of hardware and home improvement stores.
It might require a little more research and creativity, but it’s never a wasted effort. There’s nothing more rewarding than keeping your mind at ease knowing that you’re providing a safe and happy home for your special cats.
Featured Image Credit: Marjonhorn, Pixabay