As a loving cat parent, you’re probably wondering if there are any flowers out there you should avoid bringing home to keep your feline friend safe. Purple and white lilacs are popular flowers for gardeners to plant in the spring and for florists to include in bouquets. So it makes sense to wonder if these beautiful plants are poisonous to cats and if it’s concerning when your feline companion scarfs down a few bites before you can intervene.

Lilacs are completely safe for cats. If you purchase a run-of-the-mill common lilac, otherwise known as Syringa vulgaris, your cat should be fine if it eats a few bites. However, there’s also a tree called the Persian lilac, Melia azedarach L., that’s extremely poisonous to cats. If your cat eats a bit of a Persian lilac, get in touch with your veterinarian as soon as possible for guidance.

Are White and Purple Lilacs OK for Cats to Eat?

Yes. Syringa vulgaris is a flowering shrub or tree that most commonly produces purple or white flowers. Both are perfectly fine for your kitty to consume. However, make sure your cat doesn’t choke if it gets hold of a stem.

If your pet gets sick after helping itself to a bite of your lilac bouquet, it’s probably nothing to worry about, as some cats experience tummy problems after eating any type of plant, even non-harmful ones. Contact your vet if the vomiting continues or your feline friend becomes lethargic.

Keep in mind there’s a hybrid plant, Syringa × persica, that’s often called the true Persian lilac. This plant is part of the syringa family, and it’s not poisonous to cats.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

So, What Kind of Lilac Is Poisonous?

Unlike the nontoxic true Persian lilac, the Persian lilac is a  totally different type of plant. It’s also called the Chinaberry or Texas Umbrella Tree. Persian lilacs are trees that often have small bunches of yellowish-brown fruit growing from their branches. They love warm weather, so look out for them in places where temperatures stay mild year-round.

You won’t have any trouble mistaking these giants for the common lilac—regular lilac bushes almost never grow much higher than 15 feet, but the poisonous tree variant can top out at over 40 feet!

Animals that eat the seeds or bark of the Persian lilac can suffer from extreme gastrointestinal distress, including vomiting and diarrhea. Left untreated, consumption of large quantities of Melia azedarach L. can be fatal to cats. General signs to look out for include labored breathing, drooling, and stomach distress. Contact your vet immediately if you think your cat has eaten Persian lilac and begins to display any signs of distress.



Featured Image Credit: Pixabay