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Are Geraniums Poisonous to Cats?

Updated November 21, 2016

Cats occasionally taste flowers and plants out of curiosity, and cat owners should be aware that many plants---including geraniums---are poisonous and cause serious illness if ingested by cats or dogs.

Identification

Geraniums are popular flowering plants and may be grown indoors in sunny locations or outdoors in hanging baskets or flower beds. Popular geranium choices include the Martha Washington geranium, which is sold as a flowering plant in the winter. The ivy-leaved geranium, which grows like a vine, has leathery leaves and flowers with narrow petals. It is common in Europe and is used in hanging baskets and window boxes. Geraniums are cultivated from seed or from plant cuttings.

Potential

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals states that geraniums are poisonous to cats and may cause serious adverse effects if ingested. Geraniums contain two toxic chemicals, linalool and geraniol, which make cats very ill.

Effects

Cats who ingest all or part of geraniums may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and loss of appetite. They may also experience other symptoms, including depression and dermatitis.

Considerations

Cats who ingest geraniums should be taken to the veterinarian. A diagnosis and treatment plan is necessary for full recovery.

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About the Author

Tracy Hodge has been a professional writer since 2007. She currently writes content for various websites, specializing in health and fitness. Hodge also does ghostwriting projects for books, as well as poetry pieces. She has studied nutrition extensively, especially bodybuilding diets and nutritional supplements.