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Are Poppies Poisonous to Cats? Keeping Your Cat Safe

Patricia Dickson

By Patricia Dickson

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Tabitha Henson

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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When you’re a cat owner but also love your garden, it can get difficult and a bit overwhelming to figure out which plants are poisonous to your cat and which ones aren’t. Yes, poppies and all parts of the poppy plant are toxic to cats. The plant, seeds, and leaves can make your pet sick. While each cat is unique and might have different reactions to ingesting the seeds, it’s important to keep poppies away from your beloved pet.

So, how toxic are poppies and poppy seeds to your cat? We’ll discuss that and more below.

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How Toxic Are Poppies to Cats?

Poppies are considered to be relatively toxic to cats. However, the intensity of the toxicity can also vary from climate to climate, the location of the poppy, and your cat’s sensitivities to the poppies.

Since there are more than 120 species of poppy plants, it’s hard to determine which ones are mildly toxic and which ones will land your poor feline in the animal hospital. However, it’s safe to say that all poppy plants, including the poppy seeds, have a certain level of toxicity, and your cats shouldn’t be eating them at all.

Image Credit: 1195798, Pixabay

Signs of Poppy Poisoning in Cats

If your cat has eaten poppy seeds or gotten into any part of your poppy plant, you should keep an eye on it for several hours afterward. If the cat starts to exhibit the signs in our list below, it’s best to take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Lethargy
  • Euphoric/excited
  • Upset stomach
  • Pupils are dilated
  • More vocal than normal
  • Loss of balance
  • Falling into a coma

If the signs above get worse, or you’re just worried about your cat, it’s best to go ahead and take it to the vet. Make sure you take the poppy seeds or the poppy plant with you, so your vet knows what your cat consumed. It’ll make diagnosis and treatment faster and easier.

sad lonely cat
Image Credit: medveda, Shutterstock

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What Types of Seeds Can a Cat Eat?

While your cat isn’t supposed to eat poppy plants or seeds, there are a few seeds the animal can eat. While cats don’t have a natural need for seeds to be added to their diet, they’re certainly going to want some if their owner is eating them. Here are a few of the best choices for seeds that are safe for felines:

Of course, even with these seeds, it’s better to keep an eye on your cat for a bit if you’re feeding the seeds to them for the first time. Cats have different sensitivities, and it’s essential to ensure the seeds don’t cause an allergic reaction or digestive upset.

Give your cat only a few seeds the first time, then watch them to ensure they are okay before giving them any more.

Keeping Your Cat Safe Around Poppy Plants

If you’re a gardener or someone who has poppy seeds in your home, you want a way to keep your plants, eat your seeds, and keep your cat healthy and safe. You can keep the poppy plants in an area where your cat can’t reach them. If that’s inside, put the plant in a room where the door can be closed, and the cat can’t enter.

For the seeds themselves, make sure to keep them in a sealed container and in a pantry where the cat can’t get them for the best results.

siamese cat in the garden
Image Credit: Nataliya Ostapenko, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

So in answer to the question, “Are poppies poisonous to cats?” the short answer is yes. However, there are different levels of toxicity according to the climate,  your cat’s sensitivities, and how toxic the plant is. To be safe, you should keep all parts of the poppy plant away from your feline friend and if you feel your cat has gotten into the plant, take them to the vet if you notice any symptoms.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: RoonzNL , Pixabay

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