Are Tulips Poisonous To Cats Or Not? Find The Answer Here!

You’ve definitely heard of tulips before, right? This flowering plant is famous for its beautiful and vibrant colours and its large and unique flowers. But did you know that it is among the most poisonous plants for cats and dogs? 

Grey british cat with a bouquet of tulips on a light background

Despite their popularity, these flowers can be surprisingly dangerous to curious cats. Ingestion of parts of the plant or skin contact can have unpleasant results for your four-legged friends. So, are you a pet owner who wants to protect your furry baby? You may already know which plants are toxic to dogs, but what about your cat? Keep on reading to find out all you need to know about the toxicity of this plant and the best way to keep your kitty safe!

Are tulip plants poisonous to cats?

It is also known as Tulipa, which is a spring-blooming plant. These flowers belong to the lily family (Liliaceae) and are toxic because they contain tulipalin A and tulipalin B. These toxins, if ingested, might cause a series of unpleasant effects for your furry friend. All parts of this plant are toxic to cats: their stems, leaves, flowers, and pollen. Its bulb has the highest concentration of pollen and is the most toxic part of the plant. So the answer to your question is that even just a nibble on a stem, leaf, or bloom can be harmful to your cat.

Symptoms of poisoning in cats

Although it is a beautiful garden plant and a favourite houseplant, when your pet ingests large amounts of it, the results can be quite unpleasant or even dangerous. The symptoms of its poisoning will manifest quite quickly and be very noticeable. Here is a list of the symptoms for all feline owners to look for:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of coordination 
  • Lethargy 
  • Weakness
  • Stomach upset
  • Drooling and hypersalivation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Diarrhoea
  • Kidney failure
  • Skin irritation
  • Central nervous system depression
  • Rapid heart rate
closeup to grey cat sleeping with paw on its face

What you need to do if your cat has digested parts of the plant

At the first sign of any dangerous symptoms, seek out urgent veterinary care for your kitty. If you catch the curious cat in the act, move quickly to prevent the symptoms from occurring in the first place. If you think your cat has ingested one, it is a life-threatening emergency. Here’s what you need to do as soon as possible:

  1. First, call your vet to know if you should induce vomiting before bringing your cat to an animal hospital.
  2. Get your veterinarian to contact an animal poison control centre.
  3. Call the Pet Poison Helpline/Animal PoisonLine or your nearest animal hospital.
  4. It will be helpful if you know which part of the plant they came in contact with and the amount they consumed. If possible, take a picture or a sample of the flower.

Treatment of tulip poisoning in cats

When you get your cat to the appointment, the vet will perform a physical examination. You should also have your cat’s medical history with you and inform the vet about the cat’s lifestyle and the events surrounding the poisoning. This information can help hasten the diagnosis, so it’s essential to have all you need to hand before attending the clinic. 

The vet may take a blood sample from the cat for laboratory testing to identify the responsible toxins. The most common and effective method for treating poisoning is to start the animal on fluid therapy. This will help wick the chemicals out of the cat’s body. The vet may also choose to use activated charcoal to absorb any tulipalin that could be lingering in the pet’s stomach.

grey cat smelling yellow tulip

Recovery of its poisoning in cats

Recovery time is dependent on the quantity that the cat ate and the severity of the symptoms. For most pets, however, it takes 1 or 2 weeks before they will be fit again. During this time, you should try to restrict your cat’s movement as much as possible to ensure that they get enough rest. It is also essential to feed them a bland diet to allow their stomach to recover faster.

How to prevent tulip toxicity

Do you have a loving cat and want to protect it? Maybe you think that you’ve already arranged the plants in your living room the right way, or that hanging plants from the ceiling are enough, but is it? It’s best to keep them out of the house and the yard if your kitty ventures outdoors. You should also instruct florists not to include these flowers when buying or ordering flowers for delivery. If you love having flowers around the house, go for those that cause no threat to your loving pet.

Non-toxic flowers to choose from

Are you looking for a safe but also beautiful option? Here are a few alternatives that will not cause harm to your feline friend: 

  1. Blue daisy
  2. Marigold
  3. Gloxinia
  4. Camelia
  5. Nasturtium
  6. Roses
  7. Canna
  8. Persian violet
  9. Snapdragon
  10. Viola
  11. Gerber daisy
  12. Petunia
  13. Star jasmine
  14. Zinnia
  15. Sunflower
closeup to grey cat looking at a big yellow sunflower

Other toxic plants to avoid

There is nothing like a bunch of fresh-cut flowers around your house to add some colour. Flowers add a lovely welcoming touch to any home, but all cat owners should be aware that some of them can be dangerous for their pets. Visit Pet Poison Helpline‘s free database or ASPCA’s list of plants to find out more about poisonous plants for your pets. The most common ones include:

  1. Foxglove
  2. Philodendron
  3. Azalea 
  4. Rhododendron
  5. Cyclamen
  6. Oleander
  7. Sago Palm
  8. Yew
  9. Chrysanthemum
  10. Hyacinths
  11. Daffodils
  12. Amaryllis Autumn crocus
  13. Hydrangea
  14. Lilies: (Lilium), including Tiger, Lily of the valley, Easter, Stargazer and Arum
  15. Iris

Are they toxic to other animals?

Do you have more pets you want to protect? These flowers are also poisonous to dogs and horses. Although the danger is more significant for cats, due to their small size, they can cause stomach problems, difficulties and weakness to dogs and horses as well. So keep them away from your house and garden to keep your animals safe!

Cost of treatment

Treatment for this poisoning incident can be quite expensive, with an average cost of £500. It’s important to speak to your vet openly about the treatment cost, depending on what you think is suitable for your cat. In addition, you may want to consider getting pet insurance for your cat to ensure you have the support you need.

closeup to grey cat in the arms of a male vet

All cat owners know that our furry friends are curious creatures by nature. As a result, they can sometimes face some serious dangers, like coming in contact with some of these flowers. Since there is no antidote for this kind of poisoning, it is essential to know as much as possible about this plant and the way it could affect your cat. But, don’t worry; just follow our instructions to keep your feline baby safe and close to you for many years to come! Because after all, is there a greater gift than the love of a cat?

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