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Is Gentian Violet Toxic to Cats?

| Updated September 26, 2017

There are many plants that can be toxic to cats, some of which are popular houseplants. Understanding what plants are dangerous if ingested by cats can help avoid potentially lethal consequences.

Gentian Violet

The Gentian Violet, also known as a German violet or Persian violet, is considered non-toxic to cats and dogs, per the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Confusion: Plant or Chemical?

There are mixed messages about Gentian Violet. While the plant is considered non-toxic, there is a chemical substance with the same name that is dangerous to both people and pets.


According to PesticideInfo.com, the chemical substance called Gentian Violet is highly toxic to marine life. The plant is not considered dangerous.

Toxicology Research

The National Center for Toxicological Research reports that prolonged exposure to the chemical substance called Gentian Violet has been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Due to this, the substance is banned from use as a mold deterrent in animal feed, or as a veterinary drug.

Bottom Line

Although the plant Gentian Violet is not toxic, the chemical substance of the same name is poisonous and should not be used around pets. The dangers of the chemical go beyond pets, and owners should use caution if handling.