These 5 Flowers Are Toxic to Cats, So Be Aware as Spring Arrives
Stay away from these flowers if you’re living with cats. By Paige Mountain Medically Reviewed by Jenna Stregowski, RVT April 06, 2023 Medically Reviewed by Jenna Stregowski, RVT Advertisement Pin FB More Tweet Email Send Text Message Print
an orange tabby cat smells small, white flowers Credit: Aksenovko / Getty Images
Spring has sprung—and now is the best time to be aware of the flowers toxic to cats. While there are some flowers that most likely won't give your kitty any problems if they have a little nibble, there are others that can cause major issues simply from exposure (houseplants, too).
So, which flowers are toxic to cats? If you're planning on incorporating some spring blooms in your house or garden, make sure to avoid these five if you're a cat parent.
cat sniffing daffodil plant Credit: Дима Попецко / Adobe Stock
As spring rolls in, it might be tempting to display some daffodils on your kitchen counter or use them to brighten up your garden, but these yellow flowers and cats do not get along. Even taking just a few bites of the leaves, stems, or bulbs of this flower can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling in cats. If a lot of the plant is ingested, your cat could experience severe conditions such as seizures and heart rhythm abnormalities—so it's best to keep daffodils far and away.
RELATED: Is Cat Palm Safe for Cats?
Calico cat sniffs bouquet of flowers Credit: Valentyna Tymchenko / Getty
Lilies are another classic spring flower, and while they might look pretty, the effects they have on cats are anything but. All parts of the lily are extremely dangerous to cats if ingested, but even just sniffing them or drinking the water from their vase can cause poisoning. In severe cases, lily poisoning can cause kidney failure along with vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. Because of their very high toxicity, lilies should never be used in cat-occupied homes or gardens.
cat sniffing a tulip Credit: volcanogirl / Shutterstock
Although a beloved flower by many, tulips need to stay far away from cats. While a teeny bite of a tulip probably wouldn't be too big of a concern, if your cat decides to eat a large portion of the flower or the bulb, they could be poisoned. Symptoms of tulip poisoning are similar to those of other flower poisoning: vomiting, mouth irritation, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing.
kitten in field of daisies; can cats eat daisies? Credit: Christophe LEHENAFF / Getty
Like tulips, daisies aren't the most toxic flower to cats—but that doesn't mean they're 100-percent safe. If your cat ingests more than one or two flowers, they're likely to experience vomiting and diarrhea. Although mild daisy poisoning is likely to clear up in a matter of days, you'll still want to keep these flowers away from your cat so they don't experience any adverse effects.
RELATED: Are Orchids Poisonous to Cats?
cat near hydrangeas; are hydrangeas poisonous to cats? Credit: Helaine Weide / Getty
Hydrangeas can take many forms through their about 260 species—and ingesting any part of the plant can cause vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea in cats. Hydrangea poisoning, however, is rare because your cat would have to eat a lot of the plant to experience severe effects. If your cat's an explorer and likes to wander outside, plant hydrangeas in a secure place they can't get to, or keep them out of the garden entirely and opt for cat-safe plants instead.
What To Do If Your Cat Eats a Toxic Flower
If your cat eats a toxic flower, or you suspect they may have eaten a toxic flower, it's best to contact your veterinarian. Renee Schmid, DVM, DABVT, DABT, veterinary toxicologist and manager of veterinary medicine and professional services at Pet Poison Helpline, says it's essential to contact a professional, as there isn't much that can be done at home when it comes to treating poisoning from a toxic flower or plant.
"A lot of times we will want to try and get these cats to vomit and to see if we can get some of that plant material back, and unfortunately there's no safe way to induce vomiting in cats at home or outside of a clinic," Schmid says. "There's prescription medications that are only available that have to be given by a veterinarian in order to try and get cats to vomit."
If you can't contact with your vet, Schmid says your next best bet is to contact a pet poison control center such as the Pet Poison Helpline or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for next steps.
RELATED: 16 Houseplants to Avoid if You Have Cats
Flowers Safe for Cats
Even though some flowers are bad for cats—there are safer plants and flowers out there so you don't have to give up your spring blooms completely.