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Is Gladiolus Poisonous to Cats? Common Houseplants Examined

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore


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Also known as the “sword lily”, gladiolus is a popular garden flowering plant, though it can adapt to life as a houseplant. If you’re a fan of these elegant, colorful iris family members and are also a cat parent, we recommend exercising caution. Gladiolus is poisonous to cats and can cause some nasty side effects and serious discomfort.

In this post, we’ll share the symptoms of gladiolus poisoning that cats may show and let you in on what to do if your cat has eaten any part of a gladiolus plant.

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Why Is Gladiolus Poisonous to Cats?

We can’t be sure exactly why gladiolus is toxic to cats and other pets, because according to the ASPCA, the gladiolus’ toxic principles are unknown. The bulb is the most toxic part but eating any part of the plant can cause cats to become sick.

Image Credit: Pixabay

What Are the Symptoms of Gladiolus Poisoning?

Gladiolus poisoning can cause cats to display an array of symptoms. In most cases, only the gastrointestinal tract is affected but in extreme cases, other body systems may be affected. This is more likely in cases where a cat has eaten a large portion of a gladiolus plant, especially the corm (bulb). Gladiolus poisoning is listed as low risk but caution is still advised.

Common Symptoms of Gladiolus Poisoning

  • Drooling
  • Salivating
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain

What Should I Do If My Cat Has Eaten a Gladiolus?

If you know or even suspect that your cat has eaten a gladiolus plant, the first thing you should do is contact a pet poison hotline or your veterinarian immediately. They will then advise you on the next steps you will take.

Your cat stands the best chance of recovery if you act quickly—even if you only have the slightest suspicion that your cat has eaten a gladiolus, still contact your poison hotline and/or vet. It’s better to find out that it was just a false alarm than risk your cat becoming unwell, and your vet will completely understand your concerns.

If your cat has vomited up some of the gladioli, place it in a plastic bag and take it with you to your appointment. Alternatively, take the remainder of the plant your cat has eaten. This helps your vet make a formal diagnosis and more quickly determine the course of action to be taken.

At the vet’s office, your vet will physically examine your cat and may take blood and urine samples.

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Image Credit: Pressmaster, Shutterstock

How Is Gladiolus Poisoning Treated?

In cases of toxic plant poisoning, vets usually induce vomiting to rid your cat’s system of any remaining plant matter. Please never, ever, ever do this yourself at home—it’s unsafe and must be carried out by a professional.

Other treatments include using activated charcoal to help prevent the stomach from absorbing the poison and to allow toxins to be flushed out. If the liver, heart, or kidneys are affected, an alternative course of treatment may be offered depending on the diagnosis.

Your vet will likely keep your cat at the clinic for a certain period in order to monitor their condition. This may range from a few hours to a few days or more depending on the severity of the situation.

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To sum it up, gladiolus is indeed toxic to cats and should be kept well out of their reach. If you keep gladioli in your home, place them in elevated spots or make use of hanging baskets to prevent your cat from getting hold of them. If you keep them in your garden, use safe pet deterrents or plant them next to herbs that cats dislike the smell of—like lavender—to keep your cat away or make the area a no-go zone in some way.

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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay