The scent of lilacs in the spring is an experience that many people look forward to. These days, these plants can even be bought and kept for a few days as decor in your home.
If you’re a cat owner, you might have asked yourself whether lilacs are safe for your pet or if they could cause any trouble with their health when ingested. Read on to find out the answer!
Are lilacs poisonous to cats?
Put simply, no. Common lilacs are one of the few plants that you can keep in your home without worrying about your cat getting crazy about them and you ending up at the veterinary clinic for an emergency visit.
However, there are some caveats when it comes to this statement. While the majority of lilac varieties that you can see in people’s gardens or that you can purchase are not toxic to cats, there are some that can indeed lead to some health issues.
The typical plant, Syringa vulgaris, does not pose a threat to your cat’s life or well-being. That still doesn’t mean that your cat should be allowed to nibble on your house plants just because there’s no way of assessing whatever might come from this.
What symptoms can cats experience after eating lilac?
There is a variety that can be somewhat problematic to cats and it’s called Persian lilac, particularly the one of the melia genus. This one can lead to a wide range of gastrointestinal issues, along with nervous symptoms such as tremors and seizures.
Some of the other signs that your feline friend might show if they’ve ingested the flowers, leaves, or a part of the stem of the Persian lilac are listed below:
- Excessive urination
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Excessive drooling
- Loss of appetite for both food and water
- Abdominal pain
- Hiding from people or other stimuli
- Changes in your cat’s normal gum color (paleness)
If you see any of these signs in your cat, call your veterinarian right away. When it comes to toxic substances, foods, or any other things that might be poisonous to cats, time is of the essence, and your pet’s life depends on quick veterinary assistance.
Do cats even like lilacs?
If you have been a cat owner for a while, you probably know that cats really don’t like strong smells or scents.
It goes without saying that natural scents are less hard on their sense of smell compared to artificial ones, which is also one of the reasons why when spraying perfume on your body, you should avoid doing it in the same room your cat is in.
Lilacs are widely known for their potent scent, and the chances of your feline friend going crazy and wanting to nibble on the flowers are very, very low. However, that doesn’t mean that some cats might not be an exception to the rule and might still be interested in investigating the plant a bit more.
But in general, cats rarely show any interest in plants that tend to have a very potent smell.
Parts of the lilac plant and their toxicity to cats
You might be asking yourself whether the leaves or the stems pose as much of a threat when it comes to Persian lilacs or any other varieties – and the answer to this question is that they do.
Not all lilac varieties are toxic, but if you do have one of the dangerous ones in your garden and your pet tries to eat a leaf, for example, you can expect them to experience at least a form of minor digestive distress. That also includes the stems or any other part of the lilac plant.
How to stop your cat from getting into your lilac bush or tree
Keeping your cat away from whatever can be found in your garden can be extremely challenging, and it is a task that has to be managed time and again throughout the blossoming period of the lilac plant.
Although most cats are not attracted to the strong-smelling blossoms at all, they might still develop an interest at one point.
While the ideal solution to the problem would be for you not to have planted any lilacs at all in your garden, if you don’t want to give it up, you can use a variety of deterrents.
These days, there are special pet repellent products that are manufactured by many companies. Even though the majority of them are geared toward convincing cats not to pee or poop in a particular area in your home, they can be used for the same purpose, even in your garden. The downside is that their effect tends to dwindle with time, so you will have to spray them on and around your lilac bushes repeatedly (once a day or once every several days).
Some of these products contain natural extracts from plants such as mint or eucalyptus, both of which are smells that cats tend to hate, so they will avoid that area of the garden entirely.
Ideally, if you have a cat, you should try to keep only cat-safe plants indoors so that in case your pet does take a bite of one leaf or blossom, they do not develop intoxication.
Frequently asked questions
Is the smell of lilacs toxic to cats?
Fortunately, no. If your cat doesn’t sniff on the lilac blossom continuously, they will not develop any respiratory distress whatsoever. However, if your cat suffers from asthma, you should never keep such strong-smelling plants anywhere around them.
Is California lilac poisonous to cats?
The California lilac plant isn’t a member of the same family as the common lilac or the Persian lilac, so it looks different. No toxic effects have been reported as of yet, so this one is generally seen as a safe plant to have in your garden.
Can lilacs kill cats?
If your cat ingests Persian lilac, they may develop all sorts of health complications. It’s difficult to predict how their body will react, but if they’re a kitten, a pregnant cat, or a senior, they might experience such severe symptoms that they could lose their life.