Are Orchids Poisonous to Cats?


Orchid plants can be an exquisite bloom and addition to your home, adding a colorful, decorative, and refreshing appeal. However, if you love both cats and orchids, you are probably concerned about whether or not you can have the beautiful orchid plants in your home together with your cat. After all, you don’t want your cat to be sick or die from eating toxic plants. You also want to avoid spending on veterinary care centers. Here is an exclusive look at whether these popular indoor plants are safe for cats.

So, are orchids poisonous to cats?

Most felines, particularly cats, are fascinated with plants, including orchids. For instance, you can often find your cat playfully enjoying your orchid plants and handling them as playmates. But are orchids poisonous for cats? No, orchids are not poisonous to cats and cannot kill them. While there is a general belief that orchids are poisonous to cats, this is just hearsay that is not true. According to the ASPCA, most orchid plants are not poisonous to cats, including the famous Phalaenopsis orchid is listed among the non-toxic, safe house plants for our kitties. However, according to the University of California at Davis, the Cypripedium Reginae including the pink-and-white lady’s slipper or the lady’s slipper orchid might be a little toxic to animals such as cats. Although not fatal, these orchids can cause skin irritation or rash. Therefore, with over 25000 orchid species, it’s best to check with a professional. While the beautiful orchid plants are not poisonous to your feline, allowing your cats to go near them is not wise. The cat can ingest pesticides and fertilizers on the plant’s leaves or soil which can cause chemical poisoning to your cat.

What If Your Cat Eats Orchid Plant?

Orchid plants are elegant and are not toxic. However, a few exceptions can be harmful if ingested, although not poisonous. The most common types are; Phragmipediums, Cattleya species including Oncidiums, Miltonia, Dendrobium spp, Lycaste spp, Oncidiums, Paphiopedilum spp, Cymbidium spp, etc. unfortunately, these orchid plants can cause diarrhea and vomiting if consumed by your cat. Also, if you think your cat has ingested orchid plants with pesticides and fertilizers, some of the symptoms to check out for include;

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Unsteadiness while walking
  • Overall weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal discomfort

How severe the side effects are will depend on how sensitive your stomach is. To be on the safer side, if your cat eats orchids, keep a close eye on them to be on the safer side. Take your cat to the vet immediately after noticing any of these symptoms, as any delay can be fatal.

How To Keep Your Cat Away From Orchid Plants

Generally, it is essential to keep your cat away from your orchids. While the orchids are not particularly harmful, your cat should not nibble on them as it might cause some illnesses or leave the plants knocked over or ruined. If you are concerned about the health and safety of your cat, here are some tips;

· Build a garden conservatory

One way to keep your cat from orchids is by designating an area in your home to keep your plants, such as a section assigned for your flowers or a garden conservatory. It should have a door or hatch to close it behind you and be located in a place with plenty of sunlight throughout the day. Alternatively, if you don’t have a separate space, you can place the plants in a place where your cat cannot reach, although you should not underestimate the climbing ability of your cat.

· Hang orchid pots

Another way to keep orchids out of reach from your cat is by hanging your orchids in pots. You can readily find stunning hanging pots for your orchids. But you should avoid hanging the plants in places that your cats can access.

· Prevent your cat from digging in the soil

You can do this by ensuring your orchid plant is in an appropriately sized pot. This way, your cat will not have extra room for digging around the potting soil. You can also try putting small stones or pebbles over the ground in the pot plant.

· Spray or dust cat deterrent on your plant

To keep your cat from munching your orchid plants, you can consider spraying it with cayenne pepper or cinnamon. Cats usually get repelled by the smell of these spices and will not approach the sprayed plants unless they have a strange palate. You can also consider getting commercial repellants to keep your cat away.

· Get your feline their plant

Getting your cat to another plant that they can nibble on might help discourage it from going near your orchid plants and other potentially toxic plants. For example, you can plant mint, cat grass, or thyme for your feline friend. Make sure to maintain the plant within reach of your cat to ensure they leave your other indoor plants alone.

· Use lemon peels

Cats don’t like lemons as well as their smell. Instead of throwing away the lemon peels, you can place them in your orchid plant pot on top of the soil. However, make sure to put fresh peels each week. The lemon smell will repel your cat from going near your orchids.

· Use aluminum foil

Cats do not like the feel, taste, or smell of aluminum foil. You can consider wrapping the plant’s pot with aluminum foil. You can also put a thin shredded aluminum foil on the plant’s topsoil or near the plant. Tinfoil plates can also generate a startling, loud sound if knocked over or stepped on by the cat. This will constantly scare your cat and stop their habit of playing on your orchid plant.

Bottom Line

Growing flowers at home can add freshness and beauty to your living space. However, if you have a cat around your house, you will be required to ensure the flowers or anything else around are not poisonous. Fortunately, while some plants are dangerous to cats, orchids are not one of them. Cats and orchids can co-exist peacefully if the plants are free from harmful herbicides, fertilizers, or insecticides. Therefore, go ahead and get a beautiful orchid plant without worrying about your cat.

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