As carnivores, a cat’s fascination with plants can be pretty baffling to their humans. While eating some plants may not result in any side effects or a minor upset stomach at most, some are much more dangerous—these are the ones you need to keep your cat away from at all costs. Unfortunately, daffodils fall into this category—they are toxic to cats and ingesting them could cause a severe reaction.
If you believe that your cat has eaten a daffodil or even just part of one, get in touch with your vet immediately. The faster you act, the better your cat’s chances are of a full recovery. In this post, we’ll explore why daffodils are toxic to cats and reveal other plants and flowers that could harm your cat if eaten.
Why Are Daffodils Toxic to Cats?
Daffodils, also known as Narcissus, are flowering bulbs of the Amaryllidaceae family. They contain the alkaloid lycorine, which makes cats vomit, and the bulb contains calcium oxalate crystals which can cause some pretty nasty symptoms if eaten.
These symptoms don’t just affect cats, either—daffodils are also toxic to other animals including dogs, horses, and humans. In short, the whole daffodil, including the flower, leaves, stem, and bulbs are toxic to cats so should be kept well away from them.
What Are the Symptoms of Daffodil Poisoning?
Symptoms of daffodil poisoning in cats include:
- Low blood pressure
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Breathing difficulties
If you suspect that your cat has eaten a daffodil, try to remain calm—daffodil poisoning is not usually fatal if dealt with quickly. Get in touch with your vet who can advise you on what to do next.
How is Daffodil Poisoning Treated?
If you have evidence of which parts of the daffodil your cat has eaten—for example, if your cat has already vomited—collect the “contents” and show them to your vet. Alternatively, if you spot a certain part of the daffodil missing, let your vet know which part you suspect has been eaten as this can help them determine the best course of action.
In cases of poisoning, vets usually induce vomiting to bring the daffodil parts up—this is achieved by giving a vomit-inducing medicine. In some cases, cats are given special fluids to flush their system of toxins or anti-seizure medication depending on the symptoms they’re showing.
Depending on the severity of the poisoning, your vet may put your cat on a drip to rehydrate them after the toxins have been removed.
Are Cats Attracted to Daffodils?
Not as a rule—most cats will sniff at one before thinking “no thanks”, and moving along. That said, cats can sometimes be attracted to the darndest things. If you have daffodils or other poisonous plants around your house, you could try a few techniques to deter them. Commercially-sold cat repellents are safe for your cat, so you could try spraying some in the area where you keep your plants.
Cats are also repelled by citrus, so placing a couple of lemon peels around your plants or in the soil is another idea. Never use essential oils or cayenne pepper, though—some essential oils (including citrus oils) are toxic and cayenne pepper could get in your cat’s eyes or on their paws, resulting in serious pain and discomfort. Care should be taken to ensure that your cat doesn’t eat the citrus peels.
Are Other Plants and Flowers Toxic to Cats?
Daffodils aren’t the only plants that can be harmful to cats. Below is a list of some commonly-known plants and flowers that you shouldn’t let your cat near. This list is not exhaustive:
- Peace Lily
- Aloe Vera
- English Ivy
- Devil’s Ivy
- Sago Palm
- Castor Bean
- Autumn Crocus
- Spanish Thyme
What Kind of Diet Do Cats Need?
As obligate carnivores, cats need a diet rich in animal proteins, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Quality commercially-sold dry and wet food should tick all the boxes in terms of your cat’s nutritional needs. Some people make their own cat food, but it isn’t easy as you need to make sure you’re including all the nutrients that cats need to be healthy.
Though they need a meat-based diet and do not need to be fed vegetables, you can feed them certain cooked vegetables in moderation if they take a liking to them. Some vegetables can help give cats a vitamin or fiber boost, for example pumpkin. Other safe vegetables include broccoli, carrots, spinach, squash, green beans, peas, and lettuce. There’s no guarantee your cat will enjoy vegetables, though.
To summarize, daffodils are plants that just don’t mix with cats. The good news is that your cat is unlikely to die from eating daffodil parts—unless they’ve eaten a lot of them, which is incredibly rare. If your cat is showing symptoms of daffodil poisoning, what they need from you is calmness, reassurance, and quick action. The sooner they’re treated by a vet, the quicker and easier their recovery will be.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay