5 flowers that are toxic for cats revealed ahead of Mother’s Day

With spring and Mother’s Day just around the corner and flowers making a very popular gift for many celebrations, it’s important to consider which plant species may be dangerous for your pet cat.

If you’re looking to gift flowers to a cat parent, you’ll want to ensure you avoid any flowers or plants that can be toxic if accidentally ingested or nibbled on. But which species should be avoided?

To help, Catrin George, Animal Wellbeing Specialist at Animal Friends Pet Insurance reveals which flowers to avoid this Mother’s Day.


Image: Unsplash

Lillies may make for a beautiful bouquet, but they can be incredibly dangerous for furry companions.

Catrin says: “Lillies are a very popular choice of flower, especially when it comes to Mother’s Day gifts. However, lilies are very toxic cats and can cause nausea, vomiting and other serious long-term health issues. For that reason, it’s strongly advised to avoid gifting this flower to a pet owner this Mother’s Day.

“If you do receive a bouquet of flowers containing lilies, putting them up and out of reach might not be enough to keep your feline friend safe. Cats can certainly get into those hard-to-reach places and although they may not actively eat the plant, if they brush up against it, get pollen on their fur and then wash themselves, this can make them very ill. If you think that your pet may have accidentally ingested any part of a lily, please seek medical advice from your vet immediately.”


Image: Unsplash

A springtime favourite, tulips make for a pretty centrepiece. However, cat owners should be wary of the risks this flower may pose.

Catrin explains: “Tulips are particularly popular during the springtime when they are in season. However, tulips contain molecules known as glycosides which can lead to several health issues in cats. It is not widely known but they are part of the lily family.

“The bulb is where the highest levels of toxin exist but the stem, leaves and flowers also contain these glycosides. Even ingesting small amounts can cause vomiting, change in respiratory rate or even result in death. If you suspect that your pet has ingested any part of a tulip, please seek immediate advice from your vet.”


Image: Unsplash

There’s no denying peonies make for a beautiful gift, but when looking to buy for a pet owner, you should consider avoiding them.

Catrin advises: “As beautiful as they may be, the peony plant contains paenol, a type of compound which is toxic to cats. The paenol tends to be concentrated in the bark and when ingested can cause gastrointestinal distress. If you suspect that your furry friends have accidentally ingested any part of this plant, please speak to your vet.”


Image: Unsplash

Daffodils are all around during this time of year as nature springs back to life, but you’ll want to keep any cats well away from this type of flower. Be especially vigilant when out walking as daffodils can spring up all over your favourite walks.

Catrin warns: “With at least 25 different species of daffodils and thousands of hybrids, you’re bound to see plenty of these flowers around Mother’s Day and general springtime. Daffodils, however, contain alkaloids and glycosides (similarly to tulips) which are highly toxic to both dogs and cats.

“Please be aware that the whole plant is toxic, especially the bulb. If you have daffodils in your garden, please take care especially if your cat likes to dig, as ingestion can quickly cause severe stomach irritation with vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain. Again, if you think that your pet has ingested any part of a daffodil, please seek advice from your veterinarian.”


Image: Unsplash

Hyacinths are another type of flower that should be avoided for cat owners, Catrin warns.

Catrin explains: “Hyacinths often make an appearance in gardens and as potted plants for inside the home. However, it is a flower that should be kept well away from cats as they contain toxic calcium oxalate crystals. Ingestion of hyacinths (or hyacinth bulbs) can cause serious health issues, but even inhalation can cause symptoms too.

“Typical signs include vomiting, as well as diarrhoea. More severe cases when larger amounts have been ingested could see increased heart and respiratory rates or difficulty breathing. It is important to contact your vet if you suspect your cat has eaten any part of a hyacinth.

Catrin also advises: “Bear in mind that this is not a comprehensive list of flowers which are potentially dangerous for your cat. Before buying any flowers for a pet owner, you should do your research. There are many other plants which are more suitable, such as orchids, sunflowers and violets. If you are unsure or suspect your cat has ingested one of these listed toxic flowers you should contact your vet immediately.”

For more advice on cat health and insurance, visit: https://www.animalfriends.co.uk/cat/cat-advice/

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