Are Peonies Poisonous to Cats? Everything You Need To Know!

If you’re a pet lover and pet parent, there must be a lot of struggles you have to keep up with. From ensuring that your pet is well-fed to not messing with irrelevant or harmful things, a pet owner struggles daily.

Especially if you’re a cat owner, things can get really tough.

The curious creature can get into places where it’s not meant to be at. Even worse, cats love to nibble on the plants that are attracting them.

Therefore, a cat owner must do much more than a dog owner. Things can get even worse when your cat has ingested or interacted with a plant that is poisonous to pets.

Here, we will talk about a popularly poisonous plant for cats. We will talk about peonies and their possible hazards for the cats.

In this guide to peonies for cats, you will find everything you should know as a cat owner who might have interacted with a peony.

So let’s get into it to ensure that our furry friends remain safe and healthy.

What Is Peony?

Before we answer if peonies are poisonous to cats, it’s important to delve into the plant’s botany and other details.

So peony is a flowering plant belonging to the genus Paeonia. The plant is native to North America, Asia, and Europe.

However, the first ever plantation of peony is dated back to 1000 BC in China. The plant blossoms in May to late June for about seven weeks.

There are over 33 species of peony that are known to the world.

Peony flowers bloom in different colors, from pinks to deep reds and purples. The flowers do not attract humans only, but bees and other insects also get attracted to the peony flowers.

Type of Peony Plant and Flowers

People adore peonies for their luxurious blooms and variety. And here is what you need to know about the vibrant colors and bloom types of peonies:

Based On Plant Type

There are two types of peonies based on plant type: herbaceous peonies and tree peonies.

Paeoni Lactiflora

The herbaceous peonies are found in central and eastern Asia during spring. The flowers die back to the ground in winter and re-emerge in springs reaching an average height of 2-3 weeks.

Peoni Suffruticosa

The tree peonies native to China are woody, unlike the herbaceous ones that can grow as tall as 4 to 5 feet.

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They do not die in winter, and larger flowers bloom on the plant.

Based On Fragrance

Based on fragrance, the peonies can range from sweet to rosy and spicy to citrusy.

Based On Flower Form

The types of flowers based on flower form are as follows:

Single peonies

These peonies have one or two rows of large petals around the stamens and carpels with an elegant appearance.

Double peonies

 Double peonies have several rows of petals, with their stamens and carpels transformed into additional petals.

Semi-double peonies

Double peonies have several rows of petals with the center of stamens and carpels revealing.

Bomb-double peonies

Bomb-double peonies have one or two rows of flat outer petals and a tighter center of curled petals that make these flowers have a bomb appearance.

Anemone-form peonies

Anemone-form peonies have one or more outer rows of larger petals and center-filled rows of narrow, petal-like structures.

Based On Flower Color

The types of peony flowers based on color are as follows:

  • White or cream
  • Pink ranging from pale pink to deep pink
  • Red
  • Coral
  • Purple
  • Yellow

Are Peonies Poisonous To Cats?

Now we know a lot about peonies and their types, and it’s time we talk about peonies and their toxicity for cats.

The short answer to this question is yes! Several reputable organizations, such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(ASPCA), have declared peonies as poisonous to cats.

A certain component is found in the peony plants and flowers that pose a toxin for the pets like cats and dogs.

Why Are Peonies Considered Toxins To Cats?

Why have reputable pet health and safety organizations declared peonies poisonous for pets, specifically cats?

Here is the answer to this question.

A chemical substance called paeonol is hazardous for cats if they consume it in large quantities. And the peony’s stem has paeonol in it. If your cat nibbles around the paeonol or ingests it, it can cause a reaction in them.

In general, paeonol has anticancer, anti-cardiovascular, and anti-inflammatory properties. However, cats are generally sensitive to anti-inflammatory substances when it comes to pets.

That’s why when they come in contact with the paeonol, they develop a toxic reaction that can be very challenging for the pet and the owners.

What Part of a Peony is Toxic to Cats?

Flowers, leaves, roots, and seeds of the peony plant can be toxic to cats if ingested in large quantities. Among these, the most toxic part is the bark, followed by the flowers, leaves, roots, and seeds. It’s important to keep these parts of the peony plant out of reach of cats to prevent potential poisoning.

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How To Keep Your Cats Away From Peonies?

Before we talk about the cure for cats coming in contact with peonies, let’s delve into prevention so that the owners can make necessary amends to keep their cats away from the allergic flowers and plants that come in an attractive disguise for the pets.

So here are general tips on what to do to keep your cats away from peonies or any other allergic flower and plant:

  1. If you have peonies in your garden, it might be a little harsh to say that you should remove them so that your cats are safe from any toxic reaction. However, it is only a good idea if you have an outdoor cat that is difficult to confine in one place or keep a constant watch on it.
  2. The second choice for you is to create a space for your cat where they are so busy that they are not attracted to any distractions around. It can include a specified play area. It includes cat grass, artificial fountains, sand-filled litter box, catnip, etc.
  3. Yet another way to keep your cat away from peonies is to fence the area where you have a peony plantation. Besides physical fencing, you can also try sprinkling coffee grounds or water & cayenne pepper to deter your cat from the peony plants.

These preventive measures will reduce the chances of your cat ingesting peony flowers or nibbling the plants that pose to be toxic for these curious furry creatures.

General Symptoms Of Peony Poison In Cats

Interaction or ingestion of peony plants or flowers can result in mild to swear symptoms in your cats.

However, if the cats ingest large amounts, it can worsen symptoms, and your cat will need professional medical help.

If your cat has ingested or interacted with peony plants or flowers, here are the symptoms to look for:

  • Vomiting is one of the most common reactions when cats eat something that their stomachs don’t agree with.
  • Diarrhea resulting in loose, watery stools can result from the ingestion of certain plants, like peonies in cats.
  • Some cats might experience gastrointestinal upset, including a lack of appetite, stomach pain, or other signs of discomfort.
  • Cats might become less active or seem more tired than usual.
  • Drooling or salivating can also indicate that something is irritating the cat’s mouth or throat.
  • Pawing at the mouth or face can indicate oral discomfort or pain.
  • In rare cases, a cat might experience swelling, particularly around the mouth or throat, if it’s having an allergic reaction.
  • Difficulty breathing can also be a symptom in cats who have ingested peony plants. This is rare but can happen if a cat has a severe allergic reaction to something it consumes.
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What To Do If Your Cat Has Exposed To Peony?

What will you do if your cat has been exposed to peony?

The first thing you need to do in case your cat has interacted with peonies is remove it from the proximity of peony exposure.

If your cat has not shown any symptoms, there is nothing to worry about. This is not something you should be thinking about.

 If you know for sure that your cat has ingested peony, don’t wait for the symptoms to appear. Instead, rush to the professional veterinarian for help.

If the cat is showing no symptoms immediately, try to induce it to vomit so that any toxin substances do not go to the cat’s stomach.

If you’re unsure how to do it, call a professional for your help.

The symptoms will usually take 12 to 24 hours to go away. The vet will need to treat any dehydration your cat might be experiencing after vomiting out the ingested peony.

If the stomach upset doesn’t go away, the veterinarian might give some medication to your cat to help it recover.


Although the veterinarian will help your pet recover, you can take the best care of your cat experiencing peony poison as an owner.

Since depression and lethargy are common symptoms your cat will experience, please don’t leave your pet alone and always keep them in your sight to help them feel better.

Besides, the tips shared in this blog will help you take better care of your pet and prevent any unfortunate incidents like the one with peony ingestion.