Are Roses Toxic to Cats?

Aside from having a fur friend, having a garden with beautiful flowers helps us to relax. Flowers are a beauty not only to humans but also to cats. Roses, for example, are one of the most popular flowers. A feline is known to be a carnivore animal, but still, a flower cannot escape its curiosity. Cats find roses attractive because of their colorful, nice smooth texture of petals and fragrance. But to think about the thorns in it seems to be alarming. So, you might ask, are roses toxic to cats? Excluding the ordinary roses, various flowers have roses in their name that a fur parent must know. Learn more about the relationship between roses and cats. 

Roses To Look Out For Your Cat

Enjoying a breeze of air in the garden with your feline is a good bonding. Not until your cats try to be more playful with a bite of your spider plants or flowers. If you leave your feline unattended, a variety of roses could place them at risk.

  • Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger)

From its name, it blooms from December to April and is a popular Christmas decoration in Europe. Also called Lenten or Eastern roses. Despite its beauty, every part of this flower is poisonous. If you suspect your cat took a munch of it by accident, visit the vet as soon as possible. Some signs you might observe are heavy saliva, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

  • Desert Roses (Adenium obesum)
dessert rose flower

Known for bonsai lovers, a four feet shrub of white or lavender flowers. In Africa, these serve as poison arrows for elephants. A small taste of its sap which is toxic is enough danger for a cat. The poor cat may experience vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, or worse, a lead to death. 

  • Moss Rose (Portulaca oleracea)

It is like a warrior flower. It can grow even in the poorest soul and conquer heat and drought. For humans, it is a colorful addition of sour flavor for salads or light stir-fries. Sadly, you cannot share it with your feline. Aside from tremors, weight loss, or drooling, this could cause kidney failure. Leaves are the most dangerous part of it. It will make them sick right away since its poison is quick acting. 

  • Primrose (Primula vulgaris)

Although it is not deadly for your cats, it will make them vomit upon consumption. 

  • Rosebay (Genus Rhododendron)

Mostly found in home landscapes, rosebay means beware from the flower language. The meaning represents its leaves and poisonous roots which are fatal for a cat. A type of rose that you need to look out for from your feline. 

  • Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

It is also called the rose of China or Althea. These roses are in white, blue, red, pink, lavender, or purple. It blooms during the summer and fall. Cats have a sharp sense of smell, with the fragrance of other hibiscus plants that can get them curious. Even with a mild toxic level, cats will experience seizures and disorientation. 

  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is a common spice for chicken dishes. The sharp, woody smell is impossible to forget. A reason why in the language of flowers, it means remembrance. Compared to humans, cats are not a fan of its pleasant smell. Since it is safe for cats. You can take advantage of it like a fence to places you don’t want your cat to be. 

Are Roses Toxic To Cats?

cat with red rose

There is a popular saying that curiosity kills the cat. And this can also be literally interpreted since cats have curious behavior toward things. A colorful flower dancing in the wind with a fragrant smell gets a feline’s attention. In some instances, more than being satisfied with its fragrance, they will try to take a lick or bite of it. This might make you wonder, are roses toxic to cats? Luckily, as per the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASCPA), ordinary roses are safe. Yet, it still might present some risk to your feline.

Rose Petals 

Decorating your place with some petals is safe for your cats. Rose petals alone do not pose a threat to them. It is not poisonous but can still make your fur friend sick. A cat’s main diet is composed of meat. Their stomach is sensitive if too much consumption of plants such as edamame beans or flowers is ingested. They will experience diarrhea or an upset stomach.

Rose Leaves 

Same as the rose petals, a nibble of green leaves from a rose is not toxic to cats. The feline will be just fine but they might have the mild gastrointestinal symptom. It will not put a cat’s life in much danger, but it is not the same for roses. It will ruin the rose’s beauty and can even shorten its growth before you can place it in a vase or get a bouquet from it.

Rose Stems 

An uncut rose stem normally has thorns. These thorns are the ones you have to consider before allowing your pet to enjoy a rose. The sharp thorns can hurt them internally and externally. It can cause a scratch on your feline’s skin and eyes if they accidentally rub into it. They can even have cuts on their paws if they step on them. A more serious problem will arise if they have ingested it. It can wound their mouth and may result in bowel obstruction. Further symptoms include drooling, lack of appetite, pain in the abdomen, vomiting, or diarrhea. If their condition gets more serious, it is best to visit the vet already. 


May it be humans or cats, roses are beautiful flowers that are difficult to resist. For us, roses may signify love or romance. A nice bouquet of roses can uplift our mood. On the other hand, a feline has a strong sensory smell. So, the sweet fragrance of a rose is a pleasant smell that may activate their curious behavior. You might find them sneaking a bite of it or simply licking a rose to have a taste of it. 

Therefore, are roses toxic to cats? Regular roses are safe for your fur friends, but you have to watch out for some of their variety. There are some flowers that have rose in their name. These flowers are poisonous which could even lead to a fatal end. It is understandable that there might be times when we get too focused on admiring the beauty of flowers. Slipping our minds that we have our fur friend with us to look after the plants they will try to get a taste.

At The Lovable Cat, we believe that every cat deserves to be loved and cared about.

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