Are Tulips Toxic to Cats?

Tulips are beautiful flowers, so there is no question why they are so popular. They are common inside and outside. Many cut flower boutiques include tulips, for instance. However, tulips are toxic to cats and many other pets.

Credit: StarFlames, Pixabay If your cat eats a tulip, they will likely develop symptoms very quickly. Eventually, your cat will develop a rapid heart rate, labored breaking, seizures, and appetite loss.

Credit: sandrafdzh, Pixabay When your feline sees the vet, their treatment will depend mostly on what symptoms your cat has. Furthermore, flushing your cats system with fluid can support the liver and help remove the poison from your felines organs.

What happens if my cat eats tulips?

But unfortunately, tulips are toxic to cats. The bulbs are the most toxic part but any part of the plant can be harmful to your cat, so all tulips should be kept well away. They contain allergenic lactones which, if swallowed, can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea and depression.

What part of the tulip is poisonous to cats?

All parts of the tulip (Tulipa gesneriana) are toxic to cats: the stems, the leaves, the flowers and even the pollen are toxic but the bulb is particularly poisonous. The causes of this toxicity are two compounds, known as tulipalin A and tulipalin B, which are particularly concentrated in the bulb.

What is the most toxic flower to cats?

Narcissus (including Daffodils). Most plants that fall into the genus Narcissus, including daffodils (also called jonquil, paper white or Narcissus), are flowering spring perennials. All parts of the plant contain the poisonous agent lycorine, but the bulbs are the most toxic, according to the Pet Poison Helpline.

Are tulip petals poisonous?

Bottom line. Yes, tulips are edible. The petals, if not treated with chemicals, make good garnishes. The bulbs can be poisonous — and it doesn’t sound like they’re worth the trouble.

Tulips are one of the first flowers to pop up in early spring. We all love the bright pops of color that they can bring to our gardens, even if its just for a short while. But be carefulif you have cats that you allow outdoors, you need to watch them closely around your tulips.

Any plant from that family, including lilies and hyacinths in addition to tulips, is toxic to cats. But because humans are larger than cats and dont typically eat tulips, the toxin doesnt pose as much risk for us.

The flower, leaves, and stem all contain smaller amounts of the toxin, but it is still enough to cause respiratory issues for small animals such as cats. Even if you didnt see your cat eat the tulip, noticing any of the following signs are good indications that he did. If your cat took a small bite out of the less toxic part of a tulip, including the flower, leaf, or stem, he or she may exhibit minor symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive drooling.

Although these symptoms are considered minor compared to what your cat will experience when eating a large amount of tulip, it doesnt mean that he will recover on his own. Image Credit: Vladkosss, Pixabay The exact treatment pathway that your vet may take depends on how much of the tulip your cat ate as well as the seriousness of his symptoms. Your vet may wish to pay particular attention to your cats oxygen level and heart rate so that he can intervene if a serious problem arises.

Asters Bamboo Basil Cilantro Dill Freesia Gerber Daisies Lemon Balm Orchid Rosemary Roses Sage Snapdragons Spider Plant Sunflowers Although eating small amounts of tulip is less harmful, your cat can still experience symptoms and it is important to seek treatment immediately. Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway.

A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

If you suspect your pet may have ingested a potentially toxic substance, call the APCC at (888) 426-4435 or contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible.*

Theres no denying the beauty of freshly-cut tulips or a garden bed of lilies, but flowers like these can make cats sick or even be fatal. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center reports that both indoor and outdoor plants are among the top 10 toxins pets most frequently ingest.

Plants produce toxins as a survival mechanism, says Dr. Karyn Bischoff , a board-certified veterinary toxicologist at the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center in Ithaca, New York.Plants cant run away, so they have to come up with other ways to prevent getting eaten by insects and animals. Because cats dont have hands that can manipulate objects like we do, they default to using their mouths, which gives some toxins immediate access to their body, adds Kelley.

Depending on the type of flower and amount ingested, symptoms can vary from mild to fatal, says Kelley. Other plants can damage the liver or kidneys, sometimes irreversibly, or cause cardiac arrhythmias or neurologic side effects, including seizures and even death, adds Kelley. When reviewing any list of non-poisonous or poisonous plants for cats, keep in mind that some names can be misleading.

One of springs most aromatic flowers, the common lilac ( Syringa vulgaris ) is a violet-colored shrub that can also come in shades of lavender, burgundy, white, yellow, and blue. Orchids are part of the highly-diverse Orchidaceae family, a group of fragrant, flowering plants that most often present in various shades of pink. In a worst-case scenario, a cat who ingests orchids might experience mild vomiting and diarrhea, says Bischoff.

The common prickly-stemmed rose (of the Rosa genus) is a perennial shrub that typically yields flowers in red, pink, and yellow. One of early springs typical flowers, tulips actually belong to the lily family ( Liliaceae ). True lilies ( Lilium ) and daylilies ( Hemerocalis ) are so incredibly toxic to cats that they arent ever allowed in my house, says Bischoff.

Early symptoms of lily poisoning include excessive salivation or drooling, vomiting, and lethargy, which can range from mild to noticeable, says Kelley. Any exposure is considered a severe emergency, and decontamination and detoxification with supportive care is key to long term survival and minimizing damage, he says. Mums are some of autumns most widely-grown flowers, presenting in deep orange, burgundy, purple, and yellow.

They contain multiple toxic compounds that can cause vomiting, hyper-salivation, diarrhea, incoordination, and even skin inflammation from contact with some varieties, explains Kelley. Pyrethrin is a natural insecticide that can cause some skin irritation, increased salivation, nausea, and vomiting in cats, both because of the effects on nerves and because they have a very bitter flavor. Sunflowers are also generally considered non-toxic for cats, but veterinarians say they may cause minor stomach upset or vomiting if ingested.

Hydrangeas are woody plants that yield rounded clusters of flowers in colors like white, lavender, and blue. Some of the compounds in hydrangeas can theoretically break down to cyanide gas in the stomach, I would definitely advise against letting your cat eat these, says Bischoff. Always research the flower youre planning to purchase, whether its an indoor or outdoor plant, recommends Dr. Tina Wismer, senior director at ASPCAs Animal Poison Control Center and a board-certified veterinary toxicologist.

If you have larger houseplants, sometimes putting rocks or other deterrents on top of the soil can limit cat access and prevent your plants from becoming another litter box.

Why are Tulips Toxic?

Tulips are toxic because they contain tulipalin A and tulipalin B. These toxins are prevalent in the actual flower part and the bulb. These are also the parts your cat is more likely to eat, as they will fall off as the flower ages. However, the leaves and stems are also toxic, though in larger amounts.Tulips are genuinely poisonous, which means they have a direct effect on your cat’s organs. Without treatment and after eating enough, this will cause their organs to fail.


If your cat eats a tulip, they will likely develop symptoms very quickly. The severity of their symptoms will depend mainly on how much they eat. It only takes a little bit to put cats in a problematic situation. They usually get worse before they get better.It is essential to get your cat to the vet as soon as you notice any of these problems. This can get serious very quickly.The most common symptoms are drooling, diarrhea, and vomiting. Their body will attempt to expel the toxin from their body, first and foremost. These symptoms are a result of that reflex. However, the cat will likely not be able to dispel enough of the poison on their own. The toxin will quickly work on their system and cause other symptoms.The first significant symptom you’ll notice is central nervous system depression. They likely won’t pay much attention to their surroundings, and their reactions will be delayed. Their pupils will not dilate properly.Eventually, your cat will develop a rapid heart rate, labored breaking, seizures, and appetite loss. If the cat is not treated, multi-organ failure is possible. The toxins will damage the liver. Without the liver, the other organs will fail.

Ingesting Large Amounts of Tulips

If your cat eats a large amount of tulip or even a small amount of the more toxic bulb, he may experience more serious symptoms. Some of these symptoms include tachycardia, which is an increased heart rate, and an increased respiratory rate, which means that he is breathing quicker and heavier than normal.Eating large amounts of a tulip or tulips can also cause cardiac arrhythmia, which is essentially an irregular heartbeat. Your cat may also have difficulty breathing, tremors, and pain in his abdomen. In the worst-case scenario, he could even go into a coma or die suddenly.It’s important to note that a lot of the more serious symptoms can’t always be seen. But they can be present along with minor symptoms. That’s why if you notice any of the above symptoms, you should get your cat to a veterinarian for treatment as soon as possible, especially if you aren’t sure how much of the tulip your cat ate.