Are Tulips Poisonous To Cats?

A cat reaching for some tulips

While a garden full of tulips may be as pretty as a picture, the effects on your cat may not be as good. It is especially true if you have a cat at your home. Even though cats have a disinterested and aloof demeanour, they can be curious creatures. If your cat has the character of cheekiness, this behaviour can be significantly dangerous if you have a poisonous plant at home. Let us find out whether Tulips pose any danger to your pet. 

Yes, tulips are toxic to cats. From the bulbs to the flowers, every part of the tulip plant is poisonous to the cats. While in most cases, tulip poisoning does not lead to fatal ends if your cat is healthy, it can be severe if your cat is elderly, sick, or otherwise vulnerable.

What Part Of Tulip Is Toxic To Cats?

Each part of the tulip plant is toxic to your cat. The flowers, the stem, the leaves, and even the pollens can lead to poisoning. However, it is the bulb of the plant that poses the maximum danger to you. Two different compounds are known as tulipalin A and tulipalin B, are the main reasons for the toxicity of tulip plants. The concentration of these two compounds is at its maximum in the bulb.

Consumption of any of the plant parts or inhalation of the pollen can lead to several unpleasant symptoms. Tulip poisoning can lead to vomiting, salivation, and diarrhoea in cats. These two compounds are also hazardous to the delicate membranes of the cat.

Tulip Poisoning

Consumption of small amounts of the tulip plant can lead to minor issues like excessive drooling and mild discomfort. A cat that has consumed a small part of the tulip plant may not eat its food and show signs of pain. Generally, excessive drooling is one of the primary signs of Tulip poisoning. 

Minor Symptoms:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild discomfort

The tulipalin compounds irritate the tissues that surround the mouth of the cat. The additional saliva is generated to wash out the irritant substance from the mouth of your pet. The cats that are suffering from tulip poisoning may vocalise more than usual or create a fuss. Through this unnatural behaviour, the cats try to seek support and comfort from their owners. Alternatively, your pet may decide to hide until they are feeling better. 

If your cat consumes many tulip plants, including the bulb, it can lead to severe symptoms such as vomiting and nausea. The toxins present in the plant irritate the gastrointestinal tract of your cat and cause severe stomach upset. A cat that has consumed a tulip plant in excessive amounts can vomit profusely, including uncontrollable bowls.

Also, in severe cases of poisoning, the cat may show symptoms like lethargy, lack of coordination, and sleepiness. All of these are caused by a depression in the function of the central nervous system. In such a situation, your cat may not want to move from one place to another and may stumble and fall while walking around. Severe cases of Tulip poisoning can lead to severe seizures and even coma.

Severe Symptoms:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Severe stomach upset
  • Sleepiness
  • Uncontrollable bowels
  • Vomiting

If you spot of any the above symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. 

Diagnosis

If the veterinarian suspects tulip poisoning, they will give your cat a thorough physical examination first. This examination will help them to observe the symptoms present. They will check for the complications and check the vitals and reactions of the cats as well. 

They can also ask you the history of your cat’s previous illnesses, if any, and the events that lead to the poisoning. The information you provide at this stage is very crucial for the treatment. The correct information can hasten the diagnosis and the treatment procedure substantially. Your vet may also take a blood sample from your cat to be sure of the toxins present in its bloodstream for diagnosing.

Treatment

Fluid therapy is the most common and effective way to treat your cat suffering from tulip poisoning. In this therapy, the veterinarian will channel liquids directly into the body of your cat. This procedure helps to rehydrate the cat faster. This procedure can lead to excessive urination, which in turn helps to wash away the toxins of the tulip plant from your cat’s body. Some veterinary professionals also use charcoal for absorbing the remnant tulipalin that might be lingering in the stomach of your pet.

Recovery

While tulip poisoning in your cat can be scary, cats do recover. The long-term effects of tulip poisoning generally depend on the health condition of your cat. It also depends on the amount of tulip plant it has consumed and how promptly you have taken your cat to the vet. If your cat has ingested a significant quantity of tulip bulbs, then it can lead to liver damage. However, if the treatment is started swiftly, the vet can control the damage significantly. However, tulip poisoning can create long-term health complications for your cat if you do not take it to the veterinarian right away. 

Although it is unusual for your cat to consume tulips, most of the tulip poisoning cases are resolved without causing liver damage, and they recover at home in no time. Your cat may have a boredom nibble and have only minor symptoms. Kitten’s tend to play and bite flowers, so be sure to watch your kitten when they are out and about in the garden.

Senior cats, who have naturally become frail over the years, can also struggle to recover from the effects of poisoning completely. So keep a watchful eye on your older cat in case of any munching of flowers.

The easiest way to keep your cat from suffering from tulip poisoning is to keep them indoors. Indoor cats do not face hardly any hazards from other animals, traffic, or abusive humans. If you let your cat outside, keep an eye on it and take proper measures to keep it away from tulips and other toxic plants.

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