There’s a lot to love about daffodils. These springtime blooms are cheerful and bright, and they add a dash of happiness wherever they grow. But are these sunny flowers safe for the feline members of our families? Are daffodils poisonous to cats?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes—daffodils are considered toxic to both cats and dogs. While their level of toxicity hovers between mild to moderate, it’s best to keep these flowers away from your curious kitty.
Continue reading to learn more about the potential threat daffodils pose to cats, as well as how to spot signs of daffodil poisoning and how to treat it.
Are Daffodils Poisonous To Cats?
According to the ASPCA, daffodils and cats just don’t mix. Lovely though they are, these flowers can cause serious problems if they’re ingested or touched by your furry friend.
The offending toxin found in these low-maintenance plants is crystalline lycorine: an alkaloid that causes vomiting if consumed. Lycorine occurs in all parts of the daffodil, but is most concentrated in the bulbs. As such, the entire plant is off limits to your cat, but the bulb is by far the most toxic part.
The Pet Poison Helpline also informs us that needle-like calcium oxalate crystals contained in the outer layer of a daffodil’s bulb can cause skin irritation and drooling in cats.
What Are The Signs Of Daffodil Poisoning In Cats?
The severity of daffodil poisoning will vary from cat to cat, depending on which part of the plant was ingested, and how much. Symptoms of poisoning can appear as soon as two hours after consumption. The ASPCA advises pet owners to watch for these clinical signs of daffodil poisoning:
- abdominal pain
- Salivation and drooling
- Labored breathing
If your cat has ingested a large amount of the flower, she may also experience low blood pressure, tremors, and heart arrhythmias.
While more commonly seen in human gardeners who handle a lot of daffodils, some cats can also have pesky skin reactions to the plant. “Daffodil pickers’ rash” can develop in response to the plant’s calcium oxalate crystals: sharp particles that irritate the skin. These crystals are most concentrated in the sap of the stems and bulbs of daffodils.
In most cases, symptoms will clear up on their own within 12-48 hours. If you strongly suspect your cat has eaten a daffodil, however, don’t wait for symptoms to appear: act quickly, and call your vet ASAP. He or she will be able to advise you on what steps to take next.
What To Do If Your Cat Has Ingested A Daffodil
First, it’s important not to panic. Keep in mind, veterinary intervention isn’t always required in these circumstances, especially if your cat has ingested an insignificant amount of the plant. Stay calm, and remove any plant matter you see from your cat’s mouth or fur.
Even though daffodil poisoning is rarely fatal in cats, you should put in a call to your vet for further instructions. If treatment is required, the sooner it’s started, the better.
If you can, let your vet know which part of the daffodil your cat has consumed and how much. Or better yet—bring a sample of the plant into the clinic to help your vet determine its level of toxicity. A quick snapshot on your phone will also work.
To treat daffodil poisoning, your vet may administer medication to induce vomiting. Activated charcoal can also be used to move the toxins through your cat’s digestive tract, according to PetMD. If your cat has been vomiting a lot, she may require intravenous fluids to combat dehydration.
What If I Have Daffodils In My Home Or Garden?
With the arrival of spring, daffodils are virtually everywhere. We find them in gardens and parks, as well as bouquets and floral arrangements for Mother’s Day, graduations, and more. How can we keep our pets safe from these potential toxins?
As much as you might love the uplifting spray of daffodils on your kitchen table, the safest solution for pet owners is to re-gift them. If, however, you’d rather not part with your flowers, make sure they’re inaccessible to your cat. Always keep daffodils out of reach by placing them on a high shelf or in a room your cat can’t get into.
If you have daffodils in your yard and your cat is allowed to go outside, supervise all outdoor play. It’s not a bad idea to block access to any toxic plants with fencing or netting as well. If your cat has a penchant for nibbling on plants, you may also want to consider replacing any daffodils with a more cat-friendly alternative.
Cat-friendly Alternatives To Daffodils
If you like the sunny look of daffodils, don’t worry—there are plenty of safer alternatives to choose from. These flowers pass the kitty test, plus they’re lovely and fragrant, to boot! Some of our favorite cat-friendly plants include:
- Gerbera Daisy
- Spring crocus
- Lipstick plant
- Burro’s tail
Ultimately, it’s our responsibility as cat owners to keep our homes free of dangerous plants and other toxins. Learning which plants are toxic to animals is a good place to start. To learn more about plant toxicity and cats, check out Rover’s comprehensive database of poisonous plants to dogs and cats.