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Is Bougainvillea Poisonous to Cats?

Bougainvillea plant, also known as paper flowers, is a popular plant grown in most South American gardens. Do not be deceived by the name, paper flower, because there is nothing fragile about the plant. The flower is a bright red flower that grows bold and strong.

The flower consists of sharp thorns. Bougainvillea plant is native to South America, extremely popular in Brazil, Peru, and Argentina.

They are also extremely popular in South Carolina and Florida, where the climate is warm. They can withstand long periods of drought and can stand a lot of salt. But is bougainvillea poisonous to cats? No, bougainvillea plant is safe for cats, but it can give some physical injuries to cats.

Let’s find out more below!

How Safe Is Bougainvillea Generally?

This flower is popularly used and beautiful, and while it is generally said to be safe, you should take care when you come in close contact with it. The reason is that it can be problematic. There are precautions you have to take with the bougainvillea:

The flower is very thorny, and as such, you should take care when touching it. The thorns can quickly prick and injure the skin.

The sap from the plant is not entirely safe. They can cause rashes, not just on the skin of the cat but also on your skin. It is, therefore, imperative that you ensure the sap does not touch you.

In the event that the thorn or sap touches you and elicits a reaction, it can be treated quickly. Using anti-itch creams like hydrocortisone and antihistamines for some days can relive of you the itch. If the itch does not go way in a few days, you have to meet your doctor.

Pregnant or lactating cats should not take any product made with this plant. The safety and lack thereof during those times are yet to be established.

The bougainvillea is not edible, yet no serious harm would come if your cat eats the flower.

Is Bougainvillea Poisonous to Cats?

Is Bougainvillea Poisonous to Cats

Is bougainvillea poisonous to cats? No, it is not. The flower is not on the list ASPCA made of plants that are harmful to cats. In fact, even if the cats ingest a few leaves of the flower, there would be no harm done. But there is a physical injury risk that the flowers pose to the cats.

If a cat walks into a big patch of the bougainvillea, the cat will not get out of the patch unscratched, literally. The thorns will cause severe cuts on the body of the cat. And it is not just the cuts. The thorns can cause itchy or irritated skin.

When your cat encounters this, the remedy should not be hard. Someone can treat your cat by just using warm water and soapy water to wash the cat. You can also relieve the itching and pain by using cold compresses.

When you do this home remedy and discover that your cat’s condition has not improved after few days, it is necessary to contact a well-trained vet to take care of your feline friend and see if more treatment is needed.

Reduce Risk by Reducing Exposure

Bougainvillea overgrows and is almost an invasive plant. This means that if care is not taken, the plant will spread quickly and overtake other plants’ nutrients in the garden.

If you have a garden, you must restrict the growth of the plant. Do not let it grow where you know cats and other pets visit often. Places like playgrounds, walking paths, doors, enclosed, and small spaces. Cats are naturally curious animals and would be attracted to the flower’s color, so they must be out of sight.


At this point, we believe that we have done justice to your question, “Is Bougainvillea poisonous to cats?” Though they may not be poisonous, they cause a considerable amount of problems on their right.

If you have a cat and a garden, you can trim and keep the plant in check so it does not creep into where cats can easily see it and get hurt by it. This will keep not just your cat safe, but you as well.

Again, to deter cats from going close to the flower, no matter how attractive they look, use cat repellant around the flower. The smell of the repellant will irritate the cat and cause it to stay away.