Are Begonias Poisonous to Cats?

As beautiful as begonias may be, they are poisonous to cats. They contain compounds called insoluble oxalates that can pose a serious threat to a cat's health when ingested.

Red Tuberous begonia.
It is not safe to have begonias near cats.
credit: zygotehasnobrain/iStock/Getty Images

Begonia Toxicity

According to the Phoenix Animal Care Coalition in Arizona, the ingestion of begonias can be fatal to cats. Additionally, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals states that the most toxic part of begonias are the tubers because they contain the highest concentration of insoluble oxalates.

Signs of Poisoning

Signs of insoluble oxalate poisoning to watch for in your cat are:

  • Oral irritation
  • Intense burning of the lips, mouth and tongue
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Lack of appetite

Contact Your Veterinarian

Because of the potentially fatal nature of this toxin, contact your veterinarian immediately if your cat exhibits any signs of poisoning or if you know your cat has eaten any part of the begonia plant.