are peony leaves poisonous to cats

Peonies contain paeonol, a toxin known to be harmful to both cats and dogs. If ingested, peonies can cause mild to moderate poisoning. Some common signs to watch for would be gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

The Toxin in Peony Plants

The toxin in peony plants is called paeonol. According to the Pet Poison Helpline website, paeonol has a generally low toxicity level and is mostly concentrated in the woody stems of the plant. Cats rarely consume woody garden plants, so there is little chance of paeonol poisoning.

A Little About the Peony

are peony leaves poisonous to cats

Although they originated in Asia, Europe, and North America, peonies have been around since 1,000 B.C. C. in China.

Because peonies are perennials, you can enjoy their blooms for the rest of your life, even if you live to be 100 years old!

Their typical bloom period is seven weeks, occurring in late spring (they typically bloom from mid-May to late June). There are three different kinds of peony plants:

  • Tree peonies
  • Herbaceous peonies
  • Intersectional/Itoh peonies (essentially a cross between the first two)
  • There are also six types of peony flowers:

  • Semi-double
  • Double
  • Single
  • Anemone
  • Japanese
  • Bomb

There are more than 200 types of peonies to pick from, and the flowers come in a variety of hues and scents. Although pink and white are the most popular hues, peonies can also be found in red, orange, yellow, and even purple.

Why Are Peonies Toxic to Cats?

Both the ASPCA and the Pet Poison Helpline have the peony listed as toxic for pets. Peonies contain paeonol, which is a toxin that is particularly concentrated in the bark but can be found in all parts of the plant. Paeonol has been used as a medicine in China and Japan because it can be used as an anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antibacterial ingredient.

However, this compound is toxic for cats, dogs, and horses. When paeonol is consumed in small doses, the symptoms usually subside, but larger doses can cause your pet’s symptoms to become more noticeable.


What part of a Peony is toxic to cats?

The main toxic component in peonies is a substance called paeonol, which can cause various symptoms in cats if they consume parts of the plant. It is important to note that not all parts of the peony plant are equally toxic. The most toxic part is the root, followed by the leaves and stems.

Are Peony leaves poisonous?

Though the peony is a beautiful plant that fills garden spaces with vibrant colors, it does pose a poisonous risk to our pets. Cats, dogs, and horses have been reported to suffer gastrointestinal effects from eating the plant.

What happens if cats eat flower leaves?

Even small ingestions (2-3 petals/leaves, the pollen, or even water from the vase) can result in severe, acute kidney failure.

What is the most toxic flower to cats?

Lilies. This beautiful unofficial symbol of Spring is among the most toxic flowers to cats. All varieties – including the Easter, Tiger, Stargazer, Red, Wood, and Day – are unsafe. With some flowers, the petals and the buds are the hazards for cats but, with lilies, it’s also the pollen, the leaves, and the stems.