Are Geraniums Poisonous to Cats?

Geraniums and felines just don't belong together.
i Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

When it comes to keeping your furry feline buddy adequately protected against all of the potential hazards of the world, some knowledge of plant toxicity may go a long, long way. Although geraniums may seem perfectly sweet and safe, they actually can cause harm in cats and dogs.

About Geraniums

Geraniums are very well-known flowering plants that are part of the Pelargonium genus. The evergreen perennial originates in South Africa, and first emerged in Europe, in the United Kingdom, during the beginning portion of the 17th century. The diverse species consists of over 200 different varieties, from the Martha Washington geranium to the Scent-Leaved geranium and beyond.

Poisonous to Cats

According to the ASPCA, geraniums are indeed poisonous to the feline species. The plants also are toxic to dogs, so keep them far away from all of your pets. The sources of danger in geraniums come from the linalool and geraniol components, both of which are found commonly in aromatic oils.

Effects of Toxicity

If your precious doggie for any reason consumed any part of a geranium plant, you may be able to detect visible issues. The ASPCA indicates a variety of telling clinical symptoms, which include skin irritation, depression, refusal to eat and vomiting. If any of these symptoms seem apparent to you, seek veterinary care for your little one as soon as possible. In toxicity situations, time is always of the essence, so react promptly. Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.


Accurate visual identification of geranium plants may be able to prevent heartache for you, and physical discomfort for your doggie. The plants are fixtures outdoors and indoors, and are extremely diverse in terms of color schemes -- think multiple colors, such as violet, fuchsia, crimson, pink, salmon and snow white. In terms of growth, geraniums can be either vine-like or fully upright. Look for green, white and green or even yellow, orange and red-tinged leaves, some of which are lacy in appearance. Certain varieties of geraniums are particularly fragrant. Look out for rose, peppermint and orange scents, for starters.

If you suspect that a certain plant may be a type of geranium, remove your pet from the vicinity without hesitation.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

the nest