Are Foxgloves Poisonous to Cats?

Are Foxgloves Poisonous to Cats?

The foxglove, a native plant flower that is commonly found in the united states, Europe, western Asia, and some parts of North Africa. The foxglove bloom grows in various colors however the most common is the purple color. Thus it’s similar scientific name Digitalis purpurea. The foxglove is often grown as a bombastic plant due to its lovely flowers that range in different colors. Nonetheless, the flower is not all that it seems to be on the outside. The lovely sight of it in the field or a banquet does not really mean it is harmless. 

The foxglove affects different species in the circle of life differently depending on the habitat it is grown under. 

From humans to dogs and cats, the foxglove is pretty unpredictable of the dangers it poses to each species. However, how does an elegant plant species that bloom beautiful flowers end up being categorized as poisonous to a cat? What are the symptoms that a cat experiences after consuming the gloves? How can you prevent your cat from encountering such a poisonous plant out in the wild or your backyard? In this article, you will get to understand all that.

Foxglove as a Decorative Element

Foxgloves have a distinctive guise that makes them easy to distinguish from other harmful plants on the plantation. This factor makes it easy for any gardener to locate the foxglove plant and its establishment in the garden. Moreover, the gardener will understand the type of plants to plant that collaborates with the successive growth of the foxgloves. However, it is necessary to note that, the foxglove plant flowers are also harmful to human beings if they are not handled appropriately. 

The foxglove grows up to between two and five feet in height and has a central flower stalk. The tubular, bell-shaped flowers emerge from late spring into early summer. It is so harmful in its every single part. However, the seedlings of the plant are more dangerous when consumed as their poisonous effect is more vigorous to the body organs and can course death. Therefore, when a cat consumes any parts of the foxglove, it should be given immediate attention by the veterinarian before it’s too late. 

Toxic Elements of the Foxglove Plant 

Cardiac glycosides are responsible for the extreme toxicity of foxgloves, but several steroidal saponins within the plant also cause damage after consumption. The foxglove causes severe implications to the heart as the toxins are directed straight to it. Due to their low body mass, cats need only consume a small amount of the plant to experience serious, potentially deadly symptoms. 

Cardiac glycosides cause rapid symptom progression, so recognizing the early signs is vital to ensuring the poisoned animal receives timely emergency care. 

How Easily can a Cat Consume Foxgloves? 

Cats can easily consume foxgloves in many different ways. Methods of consumption may include eating the foxglove plant or feeding on any vase that may have included a foxglove plant or drinking water that had foxglove flowers. The foxglove poisoning signs and symptoms on cats do not differ much from the poisoning of other toxics. Moreover, the cat’s internal organs suffer more when cats consume foxgloves unlike when they are on other toxics. 

Common signs may include vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle weaknesses. Heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia are common however it is virtually unseen. As a cat custodian, you should be keen to look out for any signs and symptoms especially if you have some foxgloves growing in your backyard. Moreover, in case you suspect that your cat has consumed any foxgloves, you should seek immediate medical attention from your veterinarian. This is because, once the foxgloves toxics get to the internal organs, the cat may sadly get into a comma or kick the bucket when it’s too late. 

What are the Safety Measures to be Implemented to Avoid Cat Poisoning by Foxgloves?  

Like many wild plants, foxgloves will always pose a threat to humans, dogs, and cats. However, it is possible to lower the risk of poisoning by proper maintenance and planning. The best way is to plant foxgloves in a visible section of your garden where it will be easy to watch out in case any pets or people interact with them. Moreover, you may opt to put in barriers along the area where foxgloves are growing. This will discourage trespassing by animals hence reducing the chances of infections. 

Also, as a gardener, you should keep an eye on the wilting plants as they lose leaves. The leaves of the foxgloves are as poisonous as any other part of the plant, hence, you need to keep an eye on the ground nearby. The foxgloves leaves may get into the way of many pets when they are running up and down, hence it is advisable to keep an eye on the ground and sweep it regularly.

The playground should always be clean in case you use sprinklers more often. When the leaves of the foxglove are watered they may spread their toxic chemicals to the grounds and cats are prone to licking the ground now and then. When using foxgloves as a cut flower, place the vase on a high shelf where cats can’t reach it or cover the top with aluminum foil to prevent the cat from drinking the water inside. 

FAQ About Foxgloves And Cats

  1. Do foxgloves deter cats? 

You cannot completely make a haven for your cat. No matter the options, something will always come in the way of your perfect plan. Whether it’s the cat’s call or the wild, you will always be diverted from the perfect reasons. Nonetheless, cats and foxgloves have been around for ages and will always be around. Moreover, the two can synchronize perfectly in the wild as long as the gardener keeps his or her tabs correctly. 

The only problem will arise when the cat rubs its body against the foxglove plant and the little pollens fall on its fur. Later that day, the cat may feel some itchiness and try and use its tongue to scratch itself. Therefore, the foxglove pollen grains are easily consumed by the cat unknowingly. 

  1. Are foxgloves safe for cats? 

No, foxgloves are not safe for cats. As stated earlier in the article, foxgloves are poisonous to cats at all times. Moreover, their seedlings have a more vigorous reaction to the cat’s internal organs and can kill them within hours if not properly attended by a veterinary. 

  1. Is foxglove pollen poisonous?

Yes, foxglove pollen grains are poisonous. For instance, dried foxglove leaves or flowers when consumed by a human being they can kill within a short time. Also, the foxgloves pollen grains are more dangerous and have a more rapid reaction when consumed than the plant leaves or flowers. Moreover, the cat’s internal organs are more vital as compared to those of a human being. The cat will have a lesser time to stabilize after consumption of pollen grains if there is no immediate action taken. 

  1. Should I remove foxgloves from my garden? 

Not really, however, foxgloves should be taken good care of because of their poisonous effects. Therefore, you should opt to make a barricade that covers their growing area and the surrounding. Moreover, a keen eye should be kept on cats that move around everywhere on the farm. Also, the plant remains should be well swept to avoid any problems in the future. 

  1. Do foxgloves come back every year?

Yes, foxgloves are plants that grow annually unless they are cut down. Moreover, if they are left in the field to dry up, foxgloves reproduce and start flowering again in the following year. However, under favorable climatic conditions, foxgloves reproduce vastly and rapidly. 


Foxgloves are poisonous plants and when consumed by cats, they can cause death within hours. It is therefore crucial to lower the risk if at all you insist on planting them. Consider putting barriers where foxgloves grow to restrict your cat. We hope this article has been enlightening.