Which flowers are toxic to cats?
One of my favorite things to see as I walk into my kitchen every morning to grab a cup of joe, is a bright, colorful bouquet of flowers on my kitchen island. Ever since I ventured out on my own as an adult, I have made it a point to keep fresh flowers around. I love the vibrancy of them, and they put a smile on my face every time. I buy them for them myself often and appreciate them as gifts from others above all else. There is also a very specific reason that I keep them on my kitchen island, and not on my coffee table though. This is because neither of my cats are capable of jumping onto my kitchen island, not as far as I know anyways. Many cat owners are unaware of the fact that there are several common flowers, houseplants, and garden plants that are toxic to cats. In 2018, the ASPCA logged 3,675 calls to their poison control center regarding cats ingesting toxic plants. The damage done can range from skin irritation all the way to systemic damage of the kidneys and heart. Therefore, we must be cautious when keeping foliage in our furry friends” living spaces, be it inside or outside.
Common Flowers Poisonous to Cats
I put these at the top of the list as they are one of my favorite flowers of all and are often found in mixed flower bouquets. There are certain types that are extremely dangerous to cats, including Asiatic, Easter, Japanese show, Rubrum, Stargazer, Red, Tiger, Wester, Wood, and Daylilies. Easter lilies in particular, can cause kidney failure even if any part of the flower, including the pollen, is ingested, even in very small amounts. Frighteningly, death can occur as soon as 36-72 hours after ingestion.
This is another one of my favorite flowers, the national flower of the Netherlands. These are popular in both bouquets and gardens, so cat owners should be aware of their toxicity. In the case of tulips, the symptoms are mainly gastrointestinal, including vomiting, diarrhea and tremors. Although it doesn’t seem as serious as lilies, anyone who has experienced food poisoning would not wish their pet to experience it either.
This is another lovely flowering plant that you may have heard of as White Oleander. In fact, this plant is toxic to humans as well, so should be approached with caution with fur babies and human babies alike. As with tulips, many of the symptoms are gastrointestinal. However, in some cases ingestion can lead to fatal heart abnormalities, due to the presence of cardiac glycoside toxins. Like lilies, all parts of this plant are toxic, including the water in the vase.
Many of us are familiar with the vibrant yellow daffodil It is a spring perennial, common in people’s gardens and sometimes part of bouquets. This plant contains the poisonous agent lycorine, most present in the bulbs. Again, there are the common toxicity symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. Cardiac arrhythmias, extremely low blood pressure and breathing difficulties can be complications as well.
Also known as Persian Violet, Cyclamen is another common perennial flowering plant. Even small amounts of ingestion of the plant can cause gastrointestinal issues, but large amounts can lead to abnormal heart rate, seizures and death.
Azaleas and Rhododendrons
Azaleas are commonly a filler plant in flower bouquets and manifest themselves as flowering shrubs or trees outside. They contain grayanotoxanes, and a small amount is enough to poison your furry friend. Symptoms of poisoning can be from mild, including vomiting, diarrhea and weakness. However they can also be severe, including coma and cardiovascular collapse, sometimes resulting in death.
It is the nature of cats to be curious, and this is just one of the many traits that we find fascinating and beautiful about them, However it is just this curiosity that could be detrimental to their health if they happen to nibble on one of these flowers petals, ingest the water in the vase, or get some pollen on their paws and then proceed to groom themselves. Cat owners should be cautious about keeping these plants within reach of their pets whether indoors or out. If your cat exhibits any of the common symptoms of poisoning, attempt to retrace their steps. Is anything out of order where they have been? If you are able to determine the toxin, it will be helpful for the veterinarian or poison control. In the case of accidental ingestion, it is best to be prudent and take your cat to the veterinary clinic as soon as possible.
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"Lovely Lilies And Curious Cats: A Dangerous Combination". U.S. Food And Drug Administration, 2020,
"Oleander Toxic To Pets | Pet Poison Helpline". Pet Poison Helpline, 2020, https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/oleander/
"Tulips & Hyacinths Are Toxic To Pets | Pet Poison Helpline". Pet Poison Helpline, 2020, https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/tulip/.
Which Plants Are Poisonous To Cats? A Complete Guide". Pet Central By Chewy, 2020, https://petcentral.chewy.com/which-plants-are-poisonous-to-cats-a-complete-guide/
"Oleander Toxic To Pets | Pet Poison Helpline". Pet Poison Helpline, 2020, https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/oleander/.