Are Marigolds Poisonous to Cats?

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Marigolds are extremely popular because they’re colorful and easy to grow. Also, they have a pungent scent that repels insects. They’re usually planted near roses to protect them from aphids.

However, many cat lovers may be concerned about the effects these plants can have on cats. A pet owner’s top priority is the health and safety of their precious pet. So, some cat owners might find themselves asking, “Are marigolds poisonous to cats?”

In this article, we’ll discuss whether or not marigolds are considered to be safe for your purring friend. We’ll also be discussing the potential symptoms, diagnosis methods, and treatment options. Let’s dive right in!

Are Marigolds Poisonous to Cats?

There’s more than just one type of marigold. Some types of marigolds, like Pot marigolds, aren’t considered harmful to cats. On the other hand, Tagetes marigold is considered toxic.

If you’re unsure whether or not the type of marigold you have is poisonous to your cat, be sure to consult your veterinarian immediately!

Which Types of Marigolds Are Safe for Cats?

There’s a lot of conflicting information on whether or not marigolds are poisonous to cats. While some websites list marigolds as poisonous to cats, others list them as nontoxic.

For example, the Cat Fanciers’ Association lists marigolds as poisonous, whereas the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center classifies them as nontoxic.

This confusion arises because of the many types of marigolds. There are well over 50 different species of marigold.

There are four main types of marigolds that are common in gardens around the United States. These include:

  1. Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
  2. Tagetes erecta
  3. Tagetes patula
  4. Tagetes minuta

It’s considered safe for cats to consume Calendula Officinalis, also known as pot marigold, by the ASPCA. However, the tagetes form of marigold can be toxic to cats.

Symptoms of Marigold Poisoning

The toxicity of marigold is based on the type of the plant. While the Calendula species is considered to be non-toxic, it can cause some side effects when ingested in large amounts.

Calendula officinalis could result in digestive problems, including:

  1. Vomiting
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Stomach pain
  4. Irritation of mucous membranes
  5. Drooling

What’s more, this plant is believed to stimulate uterine contractions in pregnant humans and animals.

The Tagetes erecta and patula species also cause digestive issues. Further, all Tagetes secrete a sap that’s irritating to the skin. That sap can lead to redness of the skin, and irritation around the eyes and nose.

It should also be noted that pets with underlying health issues may suffer even more serious side effects.

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Diagnosis of Marigold Poisoning in Cats

If you notice your cat eating plants from a garden, or if there’s any plant material in or around your cat’s mouth, you should contact your vet to make sure your cat hasn’t consumed anything toxic.

You should also keep in mind that pesticides may have been used on gardens or greenery in your neighborhood. The plant the cat has ingested may not be toxic, but the pesticide is.

A blockage could also occur if the cat has difficulties digesting the plant matter, seeing as cats’ digestive systems aren’t designed to handle foliage and flowers.

It’s vital to bring a sample of the plant for the vet to analyze. The identification of the species of the plant will largely inform the cat’s diagnosis and treatment.

An evaluating veterinarian may request tests such as a complete blood count, urinalysis, and fecal analysis if the symptoms the cat is exhibiting are similar to those of a disease with similar symptoms.

A veterinarian will palpate the cat’s abdomen to determine if there’s any plant matter that could cause an obstruction. If the feline has been exposed to marigold sap, the veterinarian will examine the skin and fur of the cat.

If the cat has come into contact with the sap, it might be beneficial to wash the affected area with a mild soap before the visit to the vet. This will prevent any further irritation to the skin.

Treatment of Marigold Poisoning in Cats

Treatment for your pet will depend on how it reacts to the ingestion of marigolds. The cat’s age and current health status may also have an impact on treatment.

Cats with kidney issues will have a harder time eliminating the toxins from the marigold. This might exacerbate the condition and may require different treatment.

The treatment the veterinarian will administer is mostly related to reducing the symptoms of poisoning. Cats suffering from excessive vomiting will receive intravenous therapy to maintain electrolyte and hydration levels. This will help the liver and kidneys excrete marigold toxins from the body. Additionally, an antiemetic may be administered.

Areas that have come in contact with sap will be washed. After washing the fur and skin, a soothing ointment will be applied.


​​In conclusion, marigolds are extremely popular due to their vibrant colors and ability to repel insects. Marigold’s poisonous effect on cats depends largely on the species of the plant.

While Calendula Marigold is considered to be non-toxic, large quantities can lead to digestive issues in cats.

The Tagetes form of Marigold is considered to be much more toxic to cats. Additionally, these plants secrete a sap which can lead to irritation of the skin, eyes, and nose. This sap should be immediately washed off with mild soap.

Pre-existing conditions (especially concerning the kidney) and age might add to the symptoms a cat experiences when poisoned. Cats are generally unable to digest foliage and flowers. Hence, eating marigolds may lead to intestinal blockages.

Treatment is mostly concerned with relieving side effects caused by the toxins in marigolds. Some additional tests may be required to rule out any diseases with similar symptoms.

These tests will be followed by the administration of intravenous treatment and antiemetics. Cats that have consumed marigolds should recover relatively quickly.