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Can Cats Eat Mums? Facts & Signs of Toxicity

Elizabeth Gray

By Elizabeth Gray

Can Cats Eat mums

Whether planted in your garden or cut in a vase on your kitchen counter, flowers are colorful, fragrant, and gorgeous mood-lifters. Unfortunately for cat owners, many of the most popular and common flower varieties aren’t safe for our feline friends, given their tendency to munch on the blossoms.

Mums, or chrysanthemums, are commonly found in fall floral arrangements and decor, making it possible your cat will encounter them at some point. But are mums poisonous to cats? Yes, mums are toxic if ingested and you should avoid growing or displaying these flowers if you have a cat.

In this article, we’ll talk more about why mums are toxic to cats and what symptoms you’ll see if your cat is affected. We’ll also suggest some safer flower choices to brighten up your home.

Mums And Cats: A Toxic Mix

The chrysanthemum family contains several species in both annual and perennial varieties. All of the plants in this family are dangerous to cats if eaten. For any toxic plant, all parts should be considered poisonous, though some may be more potent than others.

The primary toxic substances found in mums are lactones and pyrethrins, with some other irritants present as well. Lactones are an irritating chemical compound also found in several other types of flowers.

Pyrethrins are natural insecticides, found in many flea and tick prevention products for dogs. However, cats are very sensitive to pyrethrins because they’re unable to break them down and eliminate them from their bodies as quickly as dogs.

Eating mums is just one way a cat could suffer pyrethrin poisoning. Accidental pyrethrin poisoning sometimes occurs when owners accidentally use dog flea products on their cats or cats come into contact with a dog who’s been treated with one of them.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Signs Of Mum Toxicity

Mums are toxic not only to cats but dogs and horses as well. Some cats are so sensitive to the substances found in mums that they show skin irritation just from making contact with the flower. Generally, cats are poisoned by chewing on or ingesting mums.

Here are some of the most common symptoms you may notice if your cat is suffering from mum toxicity:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble walking

Cats may begin showing symptoms as soon as two hours after exposure to mums. If you notice these or other concerning signs, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian. Try to bring a sample of the mums your cat may have eaten with you to the vet to make it easier for them to know how to treat your kitty.

The earlier treatment can be started, the more successful it will likely be. Your vet may give your cat medications to help slow the poison absorbing into their body, such as activated charcoal. They may also offer supportive care such as IV fluids and anti-vomiting medication.

Chrysanthemums flowers
Image: Pixabay

Keeping Your Cat Safe From Mums

The easiest way to keep your cat from eating mums is not to allow them access to the flowers at all. Learn how to identify the different types of mums, including painted daisies, and double-check any gift bouquets before you bring them home to your cats. If your cat goes outdoors in your yard, avoid planting mums anywhere they have access to or carefully supervise your kitty.

If you choose to decorate indoors with mums, keep the plants in a room or location away from your cat.

A better option is to pick plants and flowers that are safer for your cat than mums.

Here are a few colorful and fragrant choices for you to consider:
  • Orchids
  • Roses
  • Sunflowers
  • Herbs like basil, dill, and rosemary
  • Spider plant
  • Boston fern

You’ll still need to supervise your cat around even safe plants because they could also be at risk from knocking over and breaking flower vases. Plant foods and fertilizers can also be toxic to cats.

If you want to keep a plant that’s not only safe but attractive to your cat, consider planting catnip or cat grass.


Keeping flowers and plants in your home is not only visually pleasing but can help purify the air and lift your mood. Owning both plants and cats isn’t mutually exclusive, but you will have to take more precautions to make sure your feline friend stays safe. Avoid mums unless you are certain you can keep them out of reach of your cat or play it safe and just keep non-toxic plant options in your house. If you’re ever concerned about a plant or flower your cat is chewing on, contact your veterinarian or pet poison control.

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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Elizabeth Gray

Authored by

Elizabeth Gray is a lifelong lover of all creatures great and small. She got her first cat at 5 years old and at 14, she started working for her local veterinarian. Elizabeth spent more than 20 years working as a veterinary nurse before stepping away to become a stay-at-home parent to her daughter. Now, she is excited to share her hard-earned knowledge (literally–she has scars) with our readers. Elizabeth lives in Iowa ...Read more

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