Is Apple Blossom Poisonous to Cats?

by Rob Hainer, Demand Media
    Some flowers are safe for kitty, but apple blossoms aren't.

    Some flowers are safe for kitty, but apple blossoms aren't.

    Watching that soft apple blossom flutter tantalizingly in the wind might be more than your kitty can handle; she might have to pounce. But letting her nibble on the harmless-looking bloom can be disastrous. Most parts of the apple tree, including the bloom, are poisonous to cats.

    Apple Blossoms

    Apple trees fall under a group of fruit trees that you should keep your cat far away from. This group, which includes cherry, apricot, peach and plum, has low levels of cyanide running through all areas of the tree except the fruit -- low levels in human terms, but not so much for little kitty bodies, where small amounts of cyanide can kill quickly. The apple fruit is fine for your feline friend, but don't let her near the blossoms, seeds, leaves or branches. They all contain cyanide.

    Other Dangers

    As if cyanide poisoning isn't enough, there's another danger with letting your kitty near apple blossoms if you've recently treated the plant with herbicides, insecticides or fertilizers. Even if your cat doesn't eat the blooms, playing with them can transfer chemicals onto her paws. When she licks her paws, she can ingest the chemicals and become sick -- with her little body, it doesn't take much to throw her system out of whack.

    Poisoning

    Cyanide acts fast, often making your cat sick in less than 20 minutes If you think she's been visiting your apple tree, watch for symptoms that include shortness of breath, drooling, vomiting, lethargy, red gums and dilated pupils -- many of these symptoms are also signs of chemical poisoning, such as from herbicides. Without quick action, cyanide poisoning can kill her, so take her to the vet immediately.

    Considerations

    One way to keep your cat safe is to make sure she stays inside. However, this means you can't bring in blooming apple branches as decorations -- your kitty might decide your new decoration is now her favorite toy. Also, be careful not to track leaves or blooms inside on your shoes, and throw apple cores away promptly so she doesn't grab a quick bite of a deadly seed.

    About the Author

    Rob Hainer began writing and editing for newspapers in 1992. He began his career as a photojournalist in the Army, and studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He worked as a copy editor and reporter at "The Marietta Daily Journal," the "Spartanburg Herald-Journal" and the "New Haven Register."

    Photo Credits

    • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images