Have you ever walked into your rose garden and caught your cat nibbling on rose petals? Or perhaps you’ve found her snacking on your beautiful bouquet in your kitchen, and you’re worried about whether or not roses are safe for your cat?
Are roses safe for your cat to eat? The short answer is yes! Roses are safe for your cat, but there are a few warnings to be aware of.
Roses have been around for at least 5,000 years and are believed to have been cultivated in the Mediterranean as well as Persia and China. They have been used in a wide variety of applications, everything from perfumes to food and drink to home remedies.
Roses have also inspired literature (Shakespeare: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”), music (Poison: “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”), and poetry (“Roses are red, violets are blue”) and are symbols of love and passion.
Roses are also used extensively as a perfume and are commonly used in incense and potpourri. You can even use rose-scented shampoos and soaps so you can literally come out smelling like a rose!
Roses and Your Health
Roses are used in some of our food and drink and are also known for natural home remedies. Rose hips are found under the rose petals and are a reddish-orange colored round bulb filled with seeds.
Rose hips are very high in antioxidants and Vitamin C and are commonly made into rosehip tea and rose oil.
Rose water is made by using steam to distill rose petals and is used as a fragrance as well as applied topically or ingested as a tea.
Well, that’s quite the list! Clearly, roses have a multitude of benefits for us humans, but what about our cats?
Roses and Your Cat
While roses are not toxic for your cat, do they have any health benefits? While people can eat and drink water or tea made from roses, it’s best not to feed any to your cat. While they aren’t toxic, too much could cause a little stomach upset.
However, applying products made from roses to your cat’s skin can prove beneficial. It can be used if your cat has irritated skin or bug bites or for treating wounds, and even repelling ticks. If your cat has a serious skin condition or wound, please take her to the vet straight away. Relying on rose water alone to treat certain conditions is not recommended.
The Downside for Cats
So, we’ve established that roses are not bad for your cat, but there is a downside. Not surprisingly, the stem of the rose with its thorns is not something your cat should eat. The thorns can scratch and wound your cat’s face, mouth, and paws. Another concern is if the roses have been treated with any chemicals.
See your vet if your cat starts to display any of these symptoms after eating some of your roses.
There are also a number of flowers that have the name “rose” but are not actually a part of the family of the rose and are quite toxic for your cat.
We’ll just have a brief look at these toxic “roses”:
The Christmas Rose (also called the Easter Rose) is a perennial flower that blooms in the cold, winter months and resembles the wild rose but is a member of the buttercup family and is not related to the rose in any way.
The Desert Rose is slow growing with a succulent stem and deep, vibrant pink colored flowers. They are native to Africa, Madagascar, and the Middle East.
The Moss Rose is a succulent flowering plant that can withstand high temperatures and is native to Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil. They resemble small, brightly colored roses.
The Primrose is a perennial that blooms large double flowers in bright pink to yellow, orange, white, and red and are commonly associated with cottage gardens.
The Rosebay (also called Azalea) is a member of the Rhododendron family and are a kind of evergreen shrub with brightly colored flowers.
Rose of Sharon
The Rose of Sharon (also called the Hibiscus) is a small shrub that blooms with large flowers that resemble Hollyhocks.
Visit your vet immediately if your cat has eaten a plant and exhibits any of these symptoms. Be sure to bring the plant with you if you’re not sure what it is so your vet will know what to treat your cat for.
All of these 6 “roses” are toxic for your pet, so be sure to keep your cat away from these flowers.
A full list of plants that are non-toxic and toxic for pets are available at the ASPCA here.
While eating a few rose petals shouldn’t harm your cat, it’s probably best that you keep them away from her to prevent stomach upset. If she has already nibbled at a rose, she’ll probably be fine but keep an eye on her for the next several hours and speak to your vet if you’ve witnessed any signs of discomfort.
The topical use of rose water for your cat is just fine but be sure to keep the thorny stems away from her. Also, ensure that any roses you grow in your garden or are part of a bouquet in your household are not any of the toxic varieties mentioned in this article. Try to keep all plants (except catnip, of course) away from her as keeping your beloved family member safe from harm is of the utmost importance.
Featured image credit: congerdesign, Pixabay