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Can Cats Eat Daisies? Are They Toxic to Cats?

Savannah Stanfield

By Savannah Stanfield

white daisies

Whether you have lots of flowers in your garden or you love bringing cut flowers inside to decorate with, you have to be careful if you have cats. Some plants and flowers can be dangerous if your cat eats them. One such flower is daisies, and although they aren’t the most toxic plant for cats, they can cause harm to your cat if ingested.

Daisies, and other types of flowers and plants as well, are not an essential part of your cat’s diet. However, their curiosity may get the better of them and they may be tempted to take a bite out of a daisy just to see what it is and what it tastes like. Continue reading, because we’ll share with you why it isn’t a good idea for your cat to eat daisies.

Are Daisies Toxic to Cats?

You’re probably aware that there are many plants that cats can’t eat, even if you aren’t an experienced cat owner. Certain plants can be toxic to cats which can result in them getting very sick or even possibly dying if they eat one of them.

Because of this, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) provides a list of plants that are toxic to cats. On this list are daisies, and even though they aren’t as toxic to cats as plants such as tulips and lilies, they can still make your cat very sick.

Daisies are part of the Compositae plant family, and a lot of the plants (not all) in this family are toxic to cats. Other plants in the daisy family that are toxic to cats include chamomile, chrysanthemum, and dahlia to name a few. But some types of daisies aren’t toxic to cats, which we’ll talk more about later.

grey persian cat in garden
Image Credit: Cattrall, Shutterstock

Why Are Daisies Toxic to Cats?

 Daisies are toxic to cats because they contain chemicals called sesquiterpene, pyrethrins, and lactones. All of these chemicals are classified as terpenes. Terpenes are essentially a type of chemical compound found in plants that is responsible for the way they smell.

For example, terpenes are just one of the ingredients found in essential oils and are mostly what gives essential oils their fragrance, especially those that are plant-based. But why are terpenes bad for cats?

The reason is that when a cat eats a daisy, the terpenes enter your cat’s bloodstream. From the bloodstream, they enter into a cat’s liver, and a cat’s liver lacks the enzymes to be able to process them. Getting sick after eating daisies is the response to not being able to process them.

orange cat sleeping in the garden
Image Credit: Gulsen Ozcan, Shutterstock

What Happens If a Cat Eats a Daisy?

We mentioned earlier that daisies aren’t the most toxic plants for cats. However, eating a daisy can still make your cat sick. Getting sick is your cat’s response to not being able to properly digest the daisy. But exactly how sick he gets just depends on how much of the daisy or how many daisies he ate.

Common symptoms that are associated with a cat eating a daisy include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dermatitis
  • Excessive drooling
  • Loss of coordination
cat vomiting
Image Credit: Tunatura, Shutterstock

Vomiting and diarrhea are typical signs that your car ate something that he shouldn’t have, and are a result of whatever he ate being unable to pass through the digestive system properly. Your cat may also start drooling excessively or develop foam in and around his mouth as a result of eating a daisy.

In some cases, a cat may develop dermatitis after eating a daisy. Dermatitis is essentially an allergic response to eating a daisy and may result in a rash or itchiness. In more severe cases (such as if a lot of a daisy was consumed), your cat may develop a loss of coordination or internal bleeding in the digestive tract.

Internal bleeding is not as common as the other symptoms, but it is easily recognizable by blood in your cat’s vomit or stool. But, all of the aforementioned symptoms are very noticeable and are a sure sign that something is wrong with your cat.

If you do notice any of the above symptoms, regardless of the cause, you should reach out to an animal poison control hotline or get your cat to a veterinarian immediately. Eating a daisy rarely results in death if you allow a vet to treat your cat as quickly as possible.

Luckily, if your cat did eat daisies, it is very easily treatable. Your vet will likely give the cat lots of fluids, which will flush out the terpenes and any other toxins that caused him to get sick through increased urination. The vet may also prescribe or administer medicine to your cat in the event of an allergic reaction or any stomach sensitivity that may occur as the result of eating a daisy.

cat and vet
Image Credit: Maria Sbytova, Shutterstock

How to Prevent a Cat From Eating Daisies

If your cat wants to eat a plant out of curiosity, there isn’t much you can do to stop him. That’s why you have to be proactive by making sure that your cat doesn’t have access to any plants that are toxic, such as daisies.

The best way to prevent a cat from eating daisies is to not bring them into the house if your cat is an indoor cat. If your cat is an outdoor cat, it’s best if you don’t plant any daisies in your garden that your cat might be tempted to eat.

If your cat stays indoors but can go outside with supervision, you can still plant daisies. However, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your cat to make sure that he doesn’t go near them. If you do bring daisies indoors for decoration, make sure to put them in a place that your cat can’t get to.

If daisies are your favorite flower and you want to plant them but you’re afraid your cat will eat them, you can always plant some that are safe for cats. Although most varieties of daisies are toxic to plants, there are a couple that aren’t. You can replace your toxic daisies with non-toxic varieties. That way if your cat does eat them, he won’t get sick.

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Which Daisies Are Not Toxic to Cats?

If you’re wanting to plant daisies that are non-toxic to cats, then African daisies and gerbera daisies are good choices according to the ASPCA. It is unclear why these two daisy varieties aren’t toxic to cats, but your cat shouldn’t be harmed as a result of eating them.

There are plenty of other plants that are safe and non-toxic for cats as well. However, it is important to remember that plants are not an essential part of a cat’s diet, as they are carnivores. Even if a plant is non-toxic, it’s not a good idea to let your cat eat it. Plus, eating too much of anything can upset your cat’s stomach even if it isn’t considered to be poisonous.

African daisies
Image Credit: Piqsels

Final Thoughts

Cats should not be allowed to eat daisies, as many varieties are toxic due to terpenes found in them. If your cat eats a daisy, he may experience symptoms including vomiting, an allergic reaction, or loss of coordination. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, it’s a good idea to seek treatment from a vet. Remember that only African and gerbera daisies are safe for cats; if your cat eats any other type of daisy, you should assume that it is toxic.

Related Read: Can Cats Eat Pansies? Are They Poisonous to Cats?

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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