Although tulips may indeed be pretty as a picture, the possible effect they may have on cats is anything but. If you're ever in doubt regarding a plant's safety for your pet, keep your little one far away from it. Beware that tulips are toxic to felines.
Tulips, which are part of the Liliaceae family, are perennial flowering plants appreciated for their vivid flowers, which emerge from the beginning of spring until the end of the season. The ornamental bulb plants originated in central Asia, though they're tightly linked to the Netherlands, where they appeared in 1593 and still enjoy immense adulation.
Danger to Cats
The ASPCA warns pet owners that tulips are toxic to cats, along with dogs and horses. The risky component of the plants are tulipalin A and tulipalin B, toxins especially common within the bulb. Keep tulips out of your cat's access at all times. If necessary, protect your cat from tulips by screening the plants with mesh netting, for example.
If a cat eats a tulip plant, particularly in large amounts, it could trigger unpleasant and serious consequences. Some signs that a cat is experiencing tulip poisoning are excessive drooling, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, nausea, throwing up, rapid heart rate, labored breathing, seizures and appetite loss. Seek out urgent veterinary care for your kitty at the first sign of any of these dangerous symptoms. If you catch your curious cat in the act of eating a tulip, take her to the veterinarian immediately regardless of the presence of any symptoms.
If you spot any plant that you think may be a tulip but still aren't 100 percent sure, make sure your pet doesn't go near it under any circumstances. In general, the plants range between 5 inches and 30 inches tall. The showy flowers typically are shaped like stars or ovals and appear in bright pink, purple, orange, yellow, white and red shades. Multicolored tulip varieties also exist. If you know exactly what a tulip looks like, you'll be able to better protect your cat against one -- definitely a good thing.
- University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources: Tulip
- ASPCA: Tulip
- Merrick Veterinary Group: Common Poisonous Plants and Fungi
- Pet Poison Helpline: Tulips and Hyacinths
- Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: Planting Tulips
- University of Minnesota: Tulips
- US National Park Service: Tulips