Baby’s Breath is toxic to cats. Baby’s breath is mildly toxic to cats and causes gastrointestinal upset when ingested. Plant toxicities are a serious issue, and many pet owners are troubled by the “Is baby’s breath toxic to cats” dilemma.

The baby’s breath flower causes a cat to malfunction and suffer digestive problems. The digestion issues are temporary, and the poisoning resolves once the toxin is eliminated from the cat’s body. Typical signs of poisoning include vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, appetite loss, dehydration, and lethargy. 

Cats with a baby’s breath intoxication do not need emergency veterinary attention, but owners must monitor the situation carefully. Provide fresh drinking water and get veterinary treatment if the condition worsens. 

Baby’s breath is a common flower dangerous to cats. Lillies, daisies, paperwhites, peonies, and tulips are potentially hazardous to cats. 

Preventing baby’s breath poisoning and plant ingestion in cats is much easier than treating the symptoms. Keep unsafe plants and flower arrangements away from cats to prevent poisoning .  

Why is the Baby’s Breath Flower Toxic to Cats?

The baby’s breath flower is toxic to cats because it contains gyposenin. Gyposenin is a saponin or soap-like chemical that irritates the lining of a cat’s gastrointestinal tract when ingested. 

Baby’s breath (Gypsophila elegans) is known by several names, including Maiden’s breath and white baby’s breath. The plant is popular in bouquets and flower arrangements, a prolific backyard weed, and, in some cultures, a traditional medicine. 

Baby’s breath self-sows and is widespread in many parts of the world. The flower has a sweet scent naturally attractive to cats, increasing the risk of intoxication. Cats, dogs, and other domestic animals like cows, horses, and birds are sensitive to baby breath.  

Is Baby’s Breath Toxic to Cats?

Yes, baby’s breath is toxic to cats. Baby’s breath is “mildly toxic” and causes temporary digestive upset, according to the Pet Poison Helpline. The typical signs of stomach upset include appetite loss, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Pet owners asking, “Is baby’s breath toxic to cats” must know that the answer is yes, but the situation is usually temporary and resolves once the toxin is eliminated from the cat’s body. Cats with baby’s breath intoxication do not require emergency vet care in most cases. 

Kittens, seniors, small cats, and cats with chronic health conditions are prone to more severe forms of intoxication and experience more hazardous side effects. For example, baby’s breath poisoning is troublesome in cats with diabetes. Diabetic cats have trouble maintaining normal blood sugar levels if they don’t eat for several hours (and appetite loss is one of the main symptoms of baby’s breath poisoning).   

Are Daisies Toxic to Cats?

Yes, daisies are toxic to cats. Daisies (Chrysanthemum, Mum) are a type of chrysanthemum and include over 20,000 different varieties. Members of the Chrysanthemum group contain three main toxins: sesquiterpene, lactones, and pyrethrins. 

Sesquiterpene causes gastrointestinal issues when ingested and skin irritation upon contact, while lactones and pyrethrins attack the cat’s nervous system. 

Pyrethrins are particularly dangerous because they are absorbed into the bloodstream and have a neurotoxin-like effect (make the neurons fire impulses involuntarily). 

Consumed in larger amounts, pyrethrins cause neurological symptoms like lack of coordination (ataxia), difficulty breathing, and sometimes death. 

“Are daisies toxic to cats?” and “Is baby’s breath toxic to cats?” are frequently asked questions for cat owners, and the answer in both cases is yes. 

Are Paperwhites Poisonous to Cats?

Yes, paperwhites are poisonous to cats. Paperwhites (Daffodil, Jonquil, Narcissus) belong to the Amaryllidaceae family and include between 26 and 60 species. 

Paperwhites contain lycorine as a main toxin and several fewer toxins like glucoside scillaine, galantamine, calcium oxalate crystals, and narciclasine. Lycorine is a potent emetic, meaning it stimulates vomiting. 

The toxins are present in all parts of the plant but are most concentrated in the bulb, making paperwhite bulbs particularly hazardous for cats. 

Pet parents often ask, “Are paperwhites poisonous to cats” and the answer is yes. Paperwhites are not the only hazardous flower, and the answer to the “Is baby’s breath toxic to cats” question is yes, too. 

How does the Baby’s Breath Flower Affect your Cat?

The baby’s breath flower affects your cat after ingestion when the saponin in the plant irritates the lining of the cat’s digestive tract. Saponins are found in all baby’s breath plant parts but are most concentrated in the flower. 

The severity of the intoxication depends on the amount of baby’s breath consumed. A cat that had a bite or two does not experience problems, while a cat that ate a significant amount of baby’s breath develops gastrointestinal irritation. 

Pet parents asking, “Is baby’s breath toxic to cats only if ingested?” must know that the plant is troublesome in other situations, too. 

For example, cats are sometimes affected by a baby’s breath through contact. The plant’s sap is irritating and causes contact dermatitis, and the dried blooms are irritating to the eyes, nose, and sinuses. 

What are the Signs and Symptoms that Baby’s Breath Flower Intoxicates Your Cat?

The signs and symptoms that a baby’s breath flower intoxicates your cat are listed below. 

  • Vomiting: Cats become nauseous and start vomiting shortly after eating baby’s breath. The vomiting is triggered by the plant’s irritating effect on the stomach lining. Vomiting helps the cat get rid of the ingested toxin. Long-term vomiting is hazardous and increases the risk of dehydration. 
  • Hypersalivation: Hypersalivation is the medical term for excess drooling. The chemicals in the baby’s breath flower irritate the cat’s mouth and increase saliva production. Hypersalivation presents as regular drooling or build-up of foam around the nose and mouth. Increased salivation for baby’s flower intoxication is positive and helps dilute and flush the toxin. 
  • Diarrhea: Diarrhea manifests with loose or frequent stools. Diarrhea in the early phases of baby’s breath intoxication is not troublesome and aids toxin elimination, but if persistent, it is risky. Diarrhea causes the cat to lose large amounts of water in a short timeframe, leading to dehydration.  
  • Appetite Loss: Cats with baby’s breath intoxication eat less than normal or not at all, a condition known as anorexia. The loss of appetite is temporary, and cats return to healthy eating as soon as the toxin is eliminated and the digestive upset is over. 
  • Dehydration: Prolonged vomiting and diarrhea lead to dehydration. Dehydration is potentially life-threatening; however, the vomiting and diarrhea associated with baby’s breath intoxication do not result in fatal dehydration in most cases. Common dehydration signs include sunken eyes, reduced skin elasticity, and sticky saliva.  
  • Lethargy: Cats experiencing stomach upset from baby’s breath poisoning are lethargic. Lethargy is defined as a lack of energy. Lethargic cats sleep most of the time and are disinterested in everyday activities. 
  • Skin Irritation: The sap of the baby’s breath plant causes contact dermatitis, which manifests as skin redness and rashes. The cat responds to the dermatitis by itching and licking the affected area.  

What are Plants or Flowers that are Toxic to Cats?

The plants or flowers that are toxic to cats are listed below. 

  • Lilies: Lilies, especially certain types (Asiatic lily, Easter lily, Oriental lily, Tiger lily), are among the most dangerous plants for cats because they contain toxins that cause kidney damage. The toxin is present in all parts of the flower (stem, leaves, flowers, stalks), the pollen, and the vase water. Ingesting even a small lily plant chunk results in potentially fatal kidney failure within three days. The poisoning symptoms are stomach upset, dehydration, and increased urination. Poisoned cats are treated with supportive care and require life-long dialysis in case of renal failure.   
  • Tulips: Tulips produce tulipalin toxins (tulipalin A and tulipalin B) to ward off herbivores. Tulipalin affects cats when ingested and is highly irritating. The symptoms of tulipalin intoxication are drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, appetite loss, lethargy, and abdominal pain. Cats are treated with activated charcoal to absorb the toxin and intravenous fluids to support the toxin elimination from the body. 
  • Hyacinths: Hyacinths feature narcissus-like alkaloids, highly concentrated in the bulbs but present in all parts of the plant. The toxins cause stomach upset and, in large amounts, breathing problems and tremors when ingested by cats. The treatment focuses on managing the symptoms and helping flush the toxins. 
  • Oleander: Oleander is hazardous to cats because it contains cardiac glucoside toxins in all plant parts and vase water used to keep the flower. The toxins affect the functioning of the heart muscle and, in some cases, result in fatal heart problems. The symptoms of oleander poisoning include stomach issues and abnormal heart rate and rhythm. Intoxicated cats are treated with fluid therapy and cardiac support. Digibind is an antidote, but it is expensive and rarely available. 
  • Cyclamen: Cyclamen features a soap-like toxin called terpenoid saponin, present in all parts of the plant, but the roots and tubers are the most toxic. Ingested in small amounts, saponin triggers drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea, but in large doses, it causes abnormal heart function, seizures, and death. The treatment for cats intoxicated with saponin is not specific and includes vomiting induction and supportive care, including intravenous fluids and symptomatic therapy. 
  • Kalanchoe: The kalanchoe plant contains toxins known as bufadienolides in all its parts. Bufadienolides affect cats when ingested, but the exact effects depend on the amount. Small amounts cause stomach upset, and large amounts trigger more severe symptoms such as arrhythmias and seizures. Vomiting induction followed by an activated charcoal application and supportive therapy are used to treat intoxicated cats. 
  • Azaleas and Rhododendrons: Azaleas and rhododendrons are related species that feature the same toxic compound called grayanotoxin. Ingested in small amounts, grayanotoxin affects cats severely and is potentially fatal. Azaleas and rhododendron poisoning result in stomach problems, heart arrhythmias, and neurological issues such as temporary blindness, tremors, seizures, coma, and death. The treatment for azalea and rhododendron poisoning in cats is vomiting induction and supportive care. 
  • Autumn Crocus: Autumn crocus contains a colchicine toxin found in all parts of the plant. Colchicine affects cats by causing gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage, and respiratory failure when ingested. The symptoms of poisoning are bloody stool, bloody vomiting, tremors, seizures, rapid pulse, and shock. Activated charcoal, gastric lavage, and supportive care treat cats with autumn crocus poisoning. 
  • Sago Palm: Sago palms contain a toxin called cycasin. Cycasin is found in all plant parts but is most concentrated in the seeds. Cycasin causes severe liver damage and liver failure when ingested. Typical poisoning effects are stomach upset, neurological issues, and abnormal bleeding. Treatment includes vomiting induction, stomach pumping, and fluid therapy. The survival rate is 50% for cats with sago palm poisoning according to the Pet Poison Helpline.
  • Dieffenbachia: Dieffenbachia does not have a specific toxin but is loaded with calcium oxalate crystals (needle-sharp tiny rocks coated in inflammatory compounds). Oxalates cause skin and eye irritation on contact and severe irritation of the mouth, throat, and digestive tract when ingested. The effects of dieffenbachia poisoning include drooling, gagging, ulcers, abdominal pain, and tongue and throat swelling. Cats with digestive issues require supportive care, while cats with impaired breathing due to tongue/throat swelling need emergency veterinary attention. 

What to do if Cat Eats Baby’s Breath Flower?

The instructions on what to do if a cat eats a baby’s breath flower are listed below. 

  1. Remove the Remaining Plant Material. Take any remaining baby’s breath plant material away from the cat. Cats are unlikely to continue eating the plant once the toxin starts irritating them, but it is best to be safe. 
  2. Call Poison Control or the Veterinarian. Pet owners wondering, “Is baby’s breath toxic to cats?” must act quickly and contact poison control or a licensed veterinarian. Cats with baby’s breath intoxication do not usually require emergency veterinary care. Contacting a professional is essential for getting advice on future actions. 
  3. Monitor the Cat Carefully. Poison control and veterinarians recommend monitoring the cat in most cases and waiting for signs and symptoms. Contact the vet if the cat develops worrisome issues after the baby’s breath ingestion or if the cat suffers from a previous chronic condition like diabetes. 
  4. Provide Fresh Drinking Water. Give the cat easily accessible fresh water to drink. Water is vital when managing a cat with baby’s breath poisoning as it helps flush out the irritants from the cat’s mouth and prevents dehydration. 
  5. Apply CBD Oil or Balm Topically. Use CBD oil or balm to soothe the skin irritation in the case of contact dermatitis. Applied topically, cannabinoids reduce inflammation and itchiness, supporting fast and comfortable rash healing. 

Are Cats Allergic to Most Flowers?

Yes, cats are allergic to most flowers. Many flower varieties are hazardous for cats. For example, common blooms like tulips, daffodils, and peonies are harmful when consumed, and lilies must be avoided in all circumstances. 

The term allergic in the context of cats and flowers indicates a special sensitivity. True cat allergies are an immune system overreaction that develops if the cat is sensitive to the flowers’ pollen. Flower intoxications or poisonings occur due to specific toxins in certain plant parts.  

10% of calls directed to the Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA) in 2021 were about cats ingesting toxic plants. Plants rate fifth on the ASPCA’s top 10 pet toxins list. 

Can Cat Die from Toxic Flower?

Yes, a cat can die from a toxic flower. Certain plant toxins, such as cycasin and grayanotoxin, cause acute and irreversible damage, including organ failure, seizures, and death. 

“Poisonous plants in dogs and cats can cause serious systemic effects or death,” according to the findings in “An Overview of Potentially Life-Threatening Poisonous Plants in Dogs and Cats,” published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.

The fatality risk depends on the type of toxin, how much of the plant was consumed, and the cat. The main cat-related factors include size (smaller cats have bigger poisoning risks) and general health. Cats with pre-existing conditions are prone to more severe problems. 

Pet owners asking, “Is baby’s breath toxic to cats?” must know that the answer is yes, but baby’s breath intoxications in cats are mild in most cases and rarely fatal. 

How to Prevent Your Cat from Flower Intoxication?

To prevent your cat from flower intoxication, keep potentially dangerous plants away from the cat to avoid contact. 

Gary Weitzman, DVM, president and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society, says, “Whether indoors or outdoors, putting your plants in containers or large planters will elevate them so your pets can’t access them to dig or chew on them.” Dr. Weitzman adds that “hanging planters are a great option as well.” 

Providing cat grass is another great idea because it satisfies the cat’s need to nibble on leafy greens without health risks. 

A simple way of preventing a cat from flower intoxication is to ensure environmental enrichment, such as interactive cat toys, regular play sessions, hiding places, perches, climbing trees, and scratching posts, to keep the cat occupied and disinterested in investigating plants. 

Cat owners who are avid gardeners or like flower arrangements must stick to cat-friendly cut flowers and outdoor and indoor plants to prevent the risk of intoxication or poisoning entirely.  

How Does CBD Oil Help Relieve Flower Allergies from Cats?

CBD oil helps relieve flower allergies in cats through its immune-modulating and anti-inflammatory properties that interact with the cat’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Cats with true allergies benefit from daily CBD oil supplementation. Cannabinoids help modify the immune system, which is the main allergy trigger, reduce inflammation, the primary allergy reaction, and soothe itchiness, which is an allergy symptom. 

CBD oil for cats is not used to treat flower intoxication and poisoning. Cats that have ingested toxic plants need special treatment, usually fluid therapy and supportive care. 

Topical application of CBD oil or CBD-infused balms is beneficial in the treatment of contact dermatitis caused by toxic plants and flowers. CBD has a soothing effect and helps skin rashes heal. 

Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?

Yes, CBD oil is safe for cats. PetMD says that “CBD itself appears, on the surface, to be very safe in cats,” based on reports by pet parents and veterinarians.

CBD causes mild side effects in some cats, such as drowsiness and stomach upset. The side events are time-limited and resolve once the cat gets used to the supplement and the correct CBD dose is determined. 

A 2023 study, “Scientific Validation of Cannabidiol for Management of Dog and Cat Diseases,” published in the Annual Reviews of Animal Biosciences, found that “CBD appears to have good bioavailability and safety profile with few side effects.”

Hemp-sourced and THC-free CBD, made exclusively for pets, is perfectly safe for cats when used responsibly, with the vet’s approval, and according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. CBD oil is safe for cats and suitable for use in combination with many mainstream medications. 

author avatar
Ivana Crnec, DVM OneVet
Ivana Crnec got her veterinary degree at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bitola. She then continued her education at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb, Croatia, where she specialized in domestic carnivores.