Are Foxgloves Poisonous To Cats?

Whether your garden is already home to foxglove flowers or you’re contemplating bringing them into your space, you may be wondering if they pose a risk to cats. That could be because you have a cat of your own, or perhaps it’s your neighbors that do. Either way, it’s only prudent to be in the know. So could it be that foxgloves are poisonous to cats? Here is everything that you ought to know.

So, are foxgloves poisonous to cats? Foxgloves are poisonous to cats. In fact, they’re highly toxic to cats and can bring about a range of serious symptoms if consumed, including death. 

In fact, the ASPCA explicitly states that Foxgloves are toxic to cats.

Read on to learn more about it, from the extent of the risk that foxgloves pose through to techniques that could help you to keep your cat away from them. 

Will Cats Eat Foxgloves?

Whilst they’ll happily munch on myriad alternative flowers, most cats tend to instinctively stay away from foxgloves as though they’re well aware of the risk of them, or at the very least, repelled by their largely unpleasant smell. 

Fortunately, cats are pretty good at refraining from eating foxglove flowers. 

However, this, unfortunately, isn’t the case for all cats. 

Of course, there are exceptions, and they usually come in the form of younger cats and kittens, who, by nature, are much less tame than their more mature peers.

In addition to this, whilst our cats may be wise in the grand scheme of things, there is the possibility that they’ll accidentally consume the pollen of the foxgloves in an indirect manner. 

That is, by rubbing against the plant, transferring pollen onto themselves, and subsequently licking themselves clean. 

What Would Happen To A Cat If They Ate Foxgloves?

Ingesting foxglove flowers can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and an irregular heartbeat in cats. It can also lead to convulsions and death if it’s not treated quickly. 

However, the effects of foxglove consumption certainly vary from cat to cat. 

Some cats may show signs of poisoning within mere hours of their ingestion, while for others, it could be a matter of several days. 

The severity of the symptoms also depends on how much of the plant was ingested.

How To Keep Cats Away From Your Foxgloves

Whilst most cat owners tend to find that their cats happily and consistently stay away from their foxgloves, the health risks if they do happen to consume them are simply far too risky. 

Hence, preventive measures are a must, and to help, I’ve outlined some of the most effective solutions to try out below. 

Install A Physical Barrier

One of the best ways to keep cats away from your foxgloves is to inhibit their access by creating a physical barrier. 

This could entail anything from building a fence around the perimeter of your foxgloves or placing chicken wire around them.

Cats are agile climbers, so make sure the fence or chicken wire has enough height to keep them out. 

Additionally, you could try placing a few rocks around the foxglove flowers, as it’s likely that cats will avoid jumping over them altogether. 

Scent Deterrents 

Another effective method is the use of scent repellents. 

There are many commercially available repellents that contain natural ingredients like citronella and peppermint oil, which cats have long found entirely unappealing. 

Alternatively, it’s easy enough to make your own repellent by mixing together water, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper in a spray bottle. 

Once combined, simply spray it around the foxglove flowers to keep cats away, and remember to respray the area a few times a week to keep the scent present and effective.

Make Them Less Desirable

To prevent your cat from ingesting your foxglove flowers or from brushing up against their pollen, you could apply mulch or gravel around them. 

The rough texture of these materials will make it uncomfortable for cats to walk on them and increase the chances that they’ll steer clear of the area. 

Sufficient Alternative Food

Yet another way to prevent your cat from looking to your plants for either fuel or a feast is to ensure that you’re feeding it enough food, and often enough too. 

Ensuring that it is privy to all of the nutrients and vitamins that it needs by way of its food bowl alone will surely prevent it from looking for them elsewhere. 

Keep Your Cat Occupied And Observe

Finally, you might also want to consider keeping your cat as occupied as possible when it’s in the garden.

That means going outside with it and spoiling it with playtime and toys to distract it from your foxgloves. 

However, depending on your lifestyle, this is probably not the most sustainable approach in the book. 

Nonetheless, following your cat outside will also provide you with the valuable opportunity to monitor its behavior and make sure that it doesn’t attempt to get near the foxgloves.  

And if you see it doing so, at least you’ll be on hand to redirect its attention to another area. 

Additionally, it’s a good idea to check on the foxgloves regularly to make sure they haven’t been disturbed by cats. 

Other Suggestions When Keeping Foxgloves Around Cats

Contact Your Vet

If your cat has consumed foxgloves, given the severity of the situation, it’s important that you act with urgency even if the dreaded symptoms haven’t yet emerged. 

This means heading to your vet as soon as you can to ensure that your cat is in the best possible hands and will be promptly treated. 

In such a case, the aim really is survival.

Rethink Your Garden

Some may argue that cats and plants that are poisonous to them simply shouldn’t coexist – that it’s not worth the risk. 

Thus, if you’re thinking about purchasing foxgloves for your garden, you want to consider opting for another plant instead. 

There are several out there, such as sunflowers and roses, that don’t pose any risk to cats at all but still are very much capable of enhancing the beauty of our gardens.