Are Sunflowers Poisonous to Cats?

"I love sunflowers. They're so pretty -- and pretty tasty."
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If you've ever come home to find Fluffy snacking on your flower bouquet, you probably worried about the consequences. There's no easy way to know what she can and can't eat. The safest course of action is to learn what flowers you like that will be safe for her.

Sunflowers are Fun Flowers

It's easy to understand why people find sunflowers so appealing. They provide a colorful face in any garden, and they're easy to grow -- they tolerate short dry or wet spells well and don't require a lot of pruning. These posies follow the sun from morning til night and add a happy splash of color to cut-flower bouquets.

Sunflowers to Eat

Many people enjoy the taste of sunflower seeds, whether straight off the flower or after they've been roasted with a bit of salt. Sunflower seeds make sunflower oil, a healthy oil, low in saturated fats, used for baking and frying. The fact is, though, when you found Fluffy in your sunflowers she was likely more interested in the leaves than the seeds. Don't worry if you find her grazing in your flowers; the ASPCA lists the sunflower as nontoxic to cats. If you like the look of fresh cut flowers in or around your house, the sunflower is a safe choice.

Other Cat-Safe Flowers

While sunflowers are a great decorating choice for cat lovers, you may grow tired of them or they may not always be available. If Fluffy likes to stop and smell the roses -- or eat them for lunch -- it's a good idea to know what flowers will be safe for her. Zinnias, Gerber daisies and snapdragons are cat-safe choices for adding to bouquets of cut flowers. Fresh herbs such as lavender, sage and rosemary can make a nice, aromatic choice as well. Lilies, on the other hand, are toxic to cats. If Fluffy has a habit of tasting greenery, keep lilies off your list.

Better Safe Than Sorry

It's best to discourage Fluffy's flower eating ways, because even safe flowers can upset her tummy. Try to keep them out of her reach; if necessary, give her a little spray of water with a squirt gun when she ventures toward the vase. You can also try luring her to healthy edible greens, such as cat grass, which is widely available in pet supply stores and online. If you're ever in doubt about what's safe for Fluffy, check out the ASPCA's website for a list of what are and aren't suitable.

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.

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