Begonias are simply beautiful, but if you are a cat lover, you might be wondering: Are Begonias Toxic To Cats?
The short answer: Yes, begonias are toxic to cats. In some cases, they can cause serious harm to your precious fur babies. Thus it is essential that you keep these plants away from your cats
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Why are they toxic to cats?
Begonias are toxic to cats because they have large quantities of oxalate. Oxalate is defined as “any salt or ester of oxalic acid” according to Dictionary.com, which in itself is harmful to many mammals, including cats.
Oxalate is the source of irritation and discomfort that occurs when your pet consumes part of the begonia and is what eventually, if not dealt with, makes its way into your cat’s bloodstream, which likely will cause serious complications and possibly even death.
Also keep in mind that despite their beautiful appearance, the toxins in these plants are very powerful. In fact, consuming only a small amount of the flower is actually needed in order to affect your cat’s health.
What are some symptoms?
Obviously, we can’t watch what our cat does 24 hours a day, but we can look out for some symptoms in the unfortunate case that our fur friend has gotten into one of our begonia filled flowerbeds.
Some of the most direct symptoms are:
- Inability to swallow
- Swelling around the mouth and tongue area
- Refusing food and water
- Sores around the mouth
These are some of the more common signs to look out for, but in any case, if your cat is acting unusual, or you suspect they may have gotten into your plants, best to take them to the vet.
In the best-case scenario, they may just be having an “off-day”, but should they have been poisoned, your quick action will likely take care of the problem within a few days.
How to avoid begonia poisoning.
The best way to avoid your cats from getting poisoned by your begonias is to keep your plants in an area not easily accessible.
I know this may sound obvious, but if you’re a plant lover like myself, I sometimes forget where I place all of my plants because I just have so many. Thus, when I bring a new one home, I may not be thinking of all the factors that are involved.
Yes, I usually remember that I need to place the plant in a certain location due to how much sunlight it does or does not need, how much water to give it, what soil to use etc, but I may not be thinking of other factors such as ‘Is this a good location as to not harm my animals’. It may sound simple, but can be easily overlooked.
So my first recommendation is to ask yourself questions such as:
- Can my cat easily get to this plant?
- Will my cat be able to climb to this area?
- Are there other non-toxic plants that could guard my begonia from being touched by my kitty?
Begonias are many times planted in flower beds to really show off their beautiful blooms, but that being said, these can also be accessed easily by many cats and even kittens.
So when planting these colorful blooms, keep this in mind, and perhaps move your flower bed to an area your precious kitty can not get to, or consider fencing it off to avoid potential harm to your animals.
Other ways to keep your kitties away is to place common deterrents around your plants. Cayenne pepper, Rosemary, Lemons or Oranges are all smells cats not only hate, but will avoid. So don’t be afraid to sprinkle a little bit around to keep your kitties on the other side of the yard.
If distracting them with smells is not on your list, you could also try keeping them away by guarding them with other plants that cats are known to stay away from. Plants with thorns or other prickly features will likely keep your cat far from your beloved begonias.
What if my cat did get into my begonias?
If your cat for sure did get into your plant then bring them to the veterinarian.
Even if they are not showing any signs of consumption, but you have ‘proof’ they were hanging around that area, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Why do I say that?
Well, though they may not have taken from the actual plant leaves, they may have dug in or around the base of the flower, which just happens to be the most toxic part, that which is underground.
They may not be showing signs just yet, but the faster the issue can get solved, the better, as your cat will likely not suffer too much discomfort if addressed quickly.
Are begonias toxic to other animals?
Yes, unfortunately, cats are not the only animal you need to watch around your beautiful begonia plants. Dogs, as well as horses, can also be seriously affected by your begonia plants, so be sure to watch out for your other pets too.
The good news:
The good news is that even though begonias are very toxic to cats if treated in a time worthy manner, most cases are not life-threatening.
In fact, if brought to the veterinarian soon after symptoms arise, your cat can recover within a few days. Even in very severe situations, if properly cared for, your cat could make a full recovery within a few weeks.
That being said, it is very important to look out for any signs or symptoms from your cat and take immediate action when necessary.
Your local veterinarian is well trained in these situations and should be able to give your beloved friend the help they need in order to recover as soon as possible.
Other Plants/Flowers That Are Toxic To Cats
Here is a brief list of some flowers and plants that are toxic to cats. Always be sure to check the American Society For Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals when bringing home a new pet or new plants to ensure they can coexist safely.
- Asparagus Fern
- Bird of Paradise
- Golden Bird’s Nest
- Peace Lily
- Lemon Tree
- Fig Tree
- Jade Plant
- English Ivy
Once again, this list is by no means complete, please visit the ASPCA site mentioned earlier for a complete list.
Begonias are toxic to many animals including cats, so do your utmost to prevent your pets from being directly exposed to these beautiful plants. However, if they do happen to get access, be sure to monitor them and bring them to your local veterinarian as soon as they start showing symptoms.
What have you done to prevent your precious pets from getting into your flowers? Let us know below!
Please note: I am in no form offering you medical advice. This article was written on what I have learned from my experience with cats and begonias. If you believe your cats have gotten into your begonias, please seek medical advice from a trained professional.