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Why Do Cats Like Eating Flowers? 4 Likely Reasons

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By Nicole Cosgrove

cat eating a yellow flower

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Have you ever seen your cat nibble on a flower petal or two? It’s an odd behavior, to be sure, but at the same time, it can be considered “normal.” Here are four possible reasons that cats like eating flowers!

The 4 Reasons Cats Like Eating Flowers

1. It’s in Their Nature

Did you know that in the wild, cats will eat grass and other plants? Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need to eat meat for survival and to fulfill their specific nutritional requirements. In fact, cats can’t digest plant material well at all, yet they can still be seen munching on grass and other plants. So, it’s not so strange for your housecat to be drawn to a bouquet in bloom!

That said, there are a few things that may be contributing to your kitty’s fascination with flowers, which we discuss below. It’s also worth mentioning that some flowers can be highly toxic, even fatal, to cats. To find out which ones those are, be sure to stick around till the end.

maine coon licking lips after eating a flower plant
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

2. The Taste & Texture

Many flowers are soft and delicate, which is possibly why they make great snacks for cats. If you’re growing catnip in your home, it should be obvious why your cat keeps smelling and eating it. Catnip contains nepetalactone, an aromatic oil that cats find absolutely fascinating!

But you don’t want to let your kitty snack on flowers too often. Eating non-toxic ones occasionally is perfectly fine, but you should always consult a vet if you’re worried that they might be eating too many.

3. Stress Relief

If your cat loves to nibble on petals of houseplants every so often, it could be because they’re stressed or anxious. (This behavior might be more obvious in indoor cats.) If it keeps happening, you may want to take your kitty to the vet for a checkup, as there could be something else going on that needs to be addressed.

kitten trying to eat flowers in the field
Image Credit: Ilona Ilyes, Pixabay

4. To Get Sick

Dogs and cats are thought to eat grass to make themselves sick, since they will occasionally vomit after plant eating. However, this theory has not been proven, and cats that eat grass do not often show signs of being ill beforehand.

If you think that this could be the case with your kitty, though, take them to the vet as soon as possible. It’s better to catch any potential health problems early and get the proper treatment. It’s also better than watching your favorite flowers get eaten!

Which Flowers Are Toxic to Cats?

The occasional snack is typically okay for kitties, but there are flowers and plants that can be highly poisonous to felines. Check the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website for a comprehensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants for your cat.

These include:
  • Lilies
  • Carnations
  • Poinsettias
  • Daffodils
  • Tulips
  • Cyclamen
  • Hydrangea

Moreover, not all cats react the same way to the various flowers out there. If you’re unsure about what kinds of flowers are safe for cats, it’s always best to consult with a vet or do some research first.

black cat trying to eat flowers in a pot
Image Credit: Miller_Eszter, Pixabay

Tips to Keep Your Kitty From Eating Flowers

Having a hard time keeping your cat away from your prized blooms?

Here are a few tips that you can use to protect them:
  • Put the flowers in an inaccessible spot, like on top of a bookshelf or counter.
  • Use bitter sprays or citrus peels (do not use essential oils) to deter cats.
  • Create cat-friendly alternatives, like growing wheat grass or catnip.
  • Buy realistic-looking fake flowers and display those instead.

While it’s perfectly normal for cats to nibble on petals occasionally, you should still keep an eye on them if they’re eating too much of your plants. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make sure your cats stay away from flowers, so take advantage of these tips and keep your garden safe!


So, why do cats like eating flowers? It’s likely because they have an innate predisposition inherited from their wild ancestors. But make sure you know which flowers are toxic to them, and if you want to keep your kitties away from your plant petals completely, know how to create a safe environment for them.

With the right precautions, you and your furry friend can enjoy the beauty of blooms without any worries!

Featured Image Credit: kliman kato, Shutterstock

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