Are daisy toxic to cats?

Daisies are a common flower that can be found in many gardens and flower beds. Their cheerful white and yellow blooms are iconic symbols of spring and summer. But if you have a curious cat at home, you may wonder – are daisies toxic to cats?

This is an important question for any cat owner growing daisies or other plants. Many common garden plants can be poisonous to pets, especially when ingested. While daisies are not severely toxic, they do contain compounds that can cause mild stomach upset or skin irritation in cats. Below we’ll cover everything you need to know about daisy toxicity for cats.

Are Daisies Toxic to Cats?

The short answer is yes, daisies can be mildly toxic to cats. However, most cats will not intentionally eat daisies. And the small amounts ingested by brushing against or playing with daisies typically cause minor stomach upset at worst.

Daisies contain a potentially toxic compound called lactucarium. This is a mild sedative and analgesic found in the stems and leaves. In humans, lactucarium has been used historically for medicinal purposes. But in cats, it can cause side effects like:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilation of the pupils
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Agitation

These symptoms often resolve on their own within a day or so. More serious effects are very rare from casual exposure to daisies.

Some other flowers that are toxic to cats include:

  • Lilies
  • Tulips
  • Daffodils
  • Hydrangeas
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Azaleas

Lilies are by far the most dangerous, and even small ingestions can be fatal. But daisies are on the milder end of the spectrum when it comes to flower toxicity for cats.

Are All Daisy Varieties Toxic?

There are many varieties of daisies within the Asteraceae plant family. Some common ones include:

  • Gerbera daisies
  • Painted daisies
  • English daisies
  • Shasta daisies
  • African daisies

All types of daisies contain lactucarium and can cause similar toxicity signs. However, the concentrations may vary between species.

Certain daisy-like flowers like chamomile and chrysanthemums are also potentially toxic for cats. So it’s best to exercise caution and keep cats away from all flowers in the daisy family, not just the standard white and yellow garden daisies.

What Parts of Daisies Are Toxic?

The toxic compounds are most concentrated in the stems and leaves. So these plant parts are most likely to cause poisoning if eaten.

However, cats don’t usually nibble on the foliage. More commonly, minor toxicity occurs when cats brush against the flowers and get pollen on their fur, then lick it off while grooming. For this reason, the blooms should also be kept out of reach.

Cats attracted to the colorful flowers may also chew or eat the petals out of curiosity. Swallowing a few petals can sometimes cause mild stomach upset. So the flowers, stems, leaves, and pollen should all be considered toxic.

What Are the Symptoms of Daisy Poisoning in Cats?

Lactucarium poisoning from daisies can cause the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting – Occurs within 2 hours of ingestion. Usually the first noticeable sign.
  • Diarrhea – May be bloody or contain plant material.
  • Dilated pupils – The pupils become very enlarged and dilated.
  • Rapid heart rate – The heart beats faster than normal.
  • Agitation – Restlessness, vocalizing, pacing.
  • Tremors – Involuntary muscle twitching.
  • Breathing issues – Slowed respiration in severe cases.
  • Lethargy – Decreased activity due to feeling unwell.

These signs often start within hours after exposure. Vomiting is the most common symptom. More serious effects like tremors and breathing changes only occur if a very large amount was ingested.

Cats poisoned by lilies show similar initial symptoms. But lily toxicity can quickly progress to kidney failure, which daisies do not cause. So always get emergency vet care if your cat eats any part of a lily plant.

What to Do if a Cat Ingests Daisies

If you see your cat nibble on or lick daisy plants, take the following steps:

  • Remove any remaining plant material so they cannot ingest more.
  • Check for symptoms like vomiting, dilated pupils, or agitation.
  • Call your vet or poison control hotline if symptoms appear.
  • Bring a sample of the plant for identification.
  • Induce vomiting at home if advised.
  • Get examined by a vet within 24 hours.

For mild exposure with only mild vomiting, the cat can often be treated supportively at home. But examination helps rule out other potential causes and identify any concerning signs.

IV fluids, medications, hospitalization, and kidney function testing may be needed if a large amount was ingested. Quick action is key to prevent toxicity from escalating.

How to Keep Cats Safe Around Daisies

The best way to protect your cat is to prevent access and exposure to daisies. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid planting daisies if you have outdoor cats who may nibble plants.
  • Place daisies out of reach on high shelves if growing them indoors.
  • Trim flowers after wilting to prevent cats from playing with them.
  • Choose non-toxic alternatives like palms, orchids, or bamboo.
  • Use deterrents like citrus scents or cat-safe sprinklers.
  • Provide plenty of cat-safe plants for nibbling like wheat grass.

Supervise cats around any indoor or outdoor flowers, and redirect any interest to appropriate toys instead. You can also place a small fence around flower beds to curb temptation. These simple steps will allow you to safely enjoy daisies in areas separate from curious cats.


Daisies contain a mildly toxic natural compound called lactucarium that can cause stomach upset, agitation, and other side effects in cats. All species of daisies can cause toxicity if ingested. The highest concentrations are found in the leaves and stems. But the pollen and flowers also pose a risk.

While not severely poisonous, daisies can still make cats unwell. Keep daisies out of reach of cats, supervise anyinteractions, and contact your vet if exposure occurs. With some simple precautions, daisies can be grown safely in homes and gardens with cats. Avoid planting them if your cats are known to nibble plants.

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