Are Paper Whites Poisonous to Cats?

Keep paper whites out of your kitty's life.
i Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images

When it comes to pet ownership, not many things are scarier than the thought of your little one accidentally getting her paws on a toxic plant. If you're ever in a garden with paper whites, make sure your kitty stays far away. Although pretty, the plants are poisonous to felines.

About Paper Whites

Paper whites, also known commonly as daffodils, are bright, perennial flowering bulbs that are part of the Amaryllidaceae family. The attractive plants are a favorite in landscapes and gardens all across the world, although they are native to parts of Africa, Asia and Europe. Due to the ubiquitous presence of paper whites, it's very important to be aware of their serious danger to felines.


According to the ASPCA, paper whites are, indeed, poisonous to cats, and to dogs and horses as well. One of the prominent harmful components of the plant is its lycorine, which is a crystalline alkaloid that has emetic capabilities. The bulbs of the plant pose the biggest threat to animals.


If your precious kitty for any reason consumes any part of a paper white, whether the bulb or a petal, she may exhibit signs of toxicity, so keep your eyes peeled. Some common, telltale signs of paper white poisoning are diarrhea, nausea, stomachache, excessive drooling and vomiting. If your pet for some reason eats an inordinate amount of the plant, the effects may be more severe, such as heart rhythm issues, quivering and seizures.

These symptoms can be extremely dangerous, so don't hesitate even for a second to take your cat to the veterinarian if you notice anything at all, whether vomiting or convulsions. Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.


The easier you can recognize paper whites, the easier it will be for you to keep your cat away from them, especially if you're in an unfamiliar place. In general, the plants reach heights of between one and 2 feet. The showy, softly-scented flowers come in a variety of different colors, including orange, red, apricot, cream, white and yellow. The leaves are linear, with a deep green color. If you spot any flowering plant that you feel fits this description, make sure your cat doesn't approach it under any circumstances.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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