Definitely keep these flowers away from your cat!
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cat sniffing daffodil plant
Credit: Дима Попецко / Adobe Stock

It's official: spring has sprung! As we welcome the sunshine and smell of fresh blooms with our best friends fur-ever, it's important to know which they can sniff and frolic in safely, especially when it comes to daffodils—the popular flowers representative of the season.

But are daffodils poisonous to cats? Or are these beautiful spring blooms safe to keep around our feline friends?

Unfortunately, daffodils and our feline friends are not a good combination, as these bright flowers are poisonous to cats and can cause some serious harm if ingested.

Why Are Daffodils Poisonous To Cats?

The daffodil, known by its scientific name Narcissus, is a popular spring bulb often seen in cheery colors such as yellow and white. While a beautiful flower, the daffodil is not safe to keep around cats—or any pets for that matter.

"If a cat were to ingest a few bites of the leaves, stems, or petals, stomach upset may be seen. Ingesting leaves, stems, and bulbs can result in low blood pressure, heart rhythm abnormalities, respiratory depression and difficulty breathing, and neurologic abnormalities including ataxia, tremors, and seizures," says Renee Schmid, DVM, DABVT, DABT, and Senior Veterinarian Toxicologist at the Pet Poison Helpline.

She continues, "These signs are generally seen when the bulbs are ingested, as the toxic components are more concentrated in the bulb. Also, a foreign body obstruction is possible if large pieces of the bulb are ingested." Yikes!

So, what is it exactly that makes daffodils a recipe for disaster?

Schmid says daffodils are poisonous to cats (and dogs and horses!) due to "calcium oxalate crystals that cause oral and GI (gastrointestinal) pain/irritation" as well as "phenanthridine alkaloids that are in the leaves, stem, and bulbs that cause severe GI distress, hypotension, and respiratory effects."

With that being said, it's definitely best to avoid keeping daffodils inside and removing them from your yard to make sure your cat doesn't interact with them.

Signs and Symptoms of Daffodil Poisoning in Cats

Not sure what signs to look for? We've got you covered.

Common symptoms of daffodil poisoning in cats include:

Schmid explains that the more daffodil is ingested, the higher the risk for the more serious side effects such as low blood pressure, heart rhythm abnormalities, respiratory depression, seizures, and others.

What To Do If Your Cat Eats A Daffodil

Did you find your kitty eating daffodils in the backyard and aren't sure what to do next?

If it's only a few nibbles, Schmid recommends monitoring at home for signs of gastrointestinal stress like diarrhea, vomiting, or anorexia. However, if you're unsure of the amount or discover it was a lot, you'll need to seek immediate help from an expert to treat your cat.

"If bulbs or a larger amount of the stem and leaves were ingested, your pet should be taken to a DVM for decontamination and monitoring," Schmid says.

You can call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 to ask for advice. (A consultation fee may apply.)

Other Flowers and Plants To Keep Away From Your Cat

With so many types of flowers and plants in existence, it can be difficult to know which are OK to keep in your home and yard, and which plants are toxic to cats. Here are a few of the big ones:

Infographic showing the top ten toxic plants for pets
Credit: Kailey Whitman

A few other flowers and plants to steer clear of, according to Schmid, include:

  • Japanese yew
  • Azaleas
  • Rhododendrons
  • Lily of the valley
  • Oleander

Lilies in the Lilium and Hemerocallis sp. families are particularly dangerous, as Schmid warns ingestion of any part of these plants can cause acute kidney failure in cats.

If you're a passionate pet parent and plant parent, learn more about pet-friendly plants that are safe for cats or visit the Pet Poison Helpline's common poison list to check to see if you have any potential toxins in your home or yard.