20 April 2024
tabby cat sniffing sunflower

Sunflowers: Are they, or are they not, poisonous for cats?

As you may well know, there are many plants that are highly toxic for cats, but do our beloved sunflowers fall into this category? Are our feline family safe around these majestic flowers?

As well as finding out if sunflowers are poisonous for cats, scroll down for some fascinating sunflower facts.


Bliss, the fly and the sunflower.

Toxic or not?

There’s a chance you have heard rumours floating around that claim sunflowers to be poisonous, but we have some good news for you: These claims are false!

According to the ASPCA sunflowers (Helianthus) are non-toxic to cats, dogs and… in case you’re interested, also horses.
So, if you find your mischievous moggie munching on your prize sunflowers, panic not!

Black and white cat outside with sunflower petals on ground in front of him
Black and white cat outside with sunflower petals on ground in front of him

Just in case, play it safe

Despite being non-toxic, when ingested (like any other non-poisonous plants) it could cause a minor stomach upset in a cat. Therefore, if you suspect that your cat has ingested part of the plant, why not play it safe by giving your vet a quick call.

Bliss, the little gummy bear, squeaks “hello”

Interesting sunflower facts

  • There are approximately 70 species of sunflower.
  • Explorers brought the first crop-bred flowers from America to Europe in the 16th century.
  • Young sunflowers move with the direction of the sun. The head faces east at dawn and moves west throughout the day, reorienting itself overnight to face east again in the morning. Once the flowers have fully matured, they stay facing east continuously.
  • The flowers in the centre of the head (which will mature into the seeds we eat) are arranged in interconnecting spirals that follow the Fibonacci sequence.
  • They are a ‘hyperaccumulator species’ that are able to absorb higher amounts of pollutants than most other species.
  • Following the Chernobyl disaster, sunflowers were used to remove caesium-137 and strontium-90 from a contaminated pond nearby.
  • According to the Guinness World Records, the tallest sunflower, grown in Germany, measured 9.17m (30′ 1″).
The tallest sunflower – Guinness World Records

Now that we have established that sunflowers are both safe to have in the house as well as the garden, why not check out my list of other non-toxic plants and flowers.

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