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Are Hyacinths Poisonous to Cats? Vet-Approved Facts

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer


Vet approved

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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We humans enjoy decorating our yards and home with beautiful flowers throughout the year. Flowers bring everything to life and add splashes of color that can turn any drab room into a comfortable space to hang out. However, some types of flowers are poisonous to cats and could pose a serious threat to them both inside and out. One such type of flower is the hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis). This bulbed plant grows naturally in North America and produces clusters of vibrantly colored flower petals that are hard to resist. Hyacinths come in various colors such as purple, pink, blue, yellow, and red.

Unfortunately, the beauty of the hyacinth flower does not equate to safety for your cat. Hyacinths are toxic to cats, especially the bulbs. Signs of poisoning can range from drooling and nausea to even death if large amounts are consumed. Here is what you need to know about the dangers of hyacinths to your cat and how to keep your cat safe from this flower as time goes on.

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How Hyacinths Are Dangerous to Cats

All parts of the plant (leaves, stems, and flowers) are dangerous, but the bulbs of hyacinths contain higher levels of Narcissus-like alkaloid toxins that can irritate the cat’s mouth and digestive system and produce systemic poisoning. When ingested, the toxins can quickly create mouth irritation, causing drooling, which precedes more serious symptoms of poisoning, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart and respiratory rate
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors

If your cat gets near a hyacinth and starts to show any signs of poisoning, no matter how slight, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately and make an emergency visit to the vet as soon as possible.

hyacinth flower in jar
Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay

How to Keep Your Cat Safe From Hyacinth Poisoning

The best way to protect your cat from hyacinth poisoning is to eliminate the plant from your home and property altogether. You may consider hanging your hyacinths from the ceiling in planters where your cat cannot reach them, though this might not be 100% effective, and it is not worth taking the risk. 

water hyacinth close up
Image Credit: Pixel2013, Pixabay

Alternative Flowers That Are Safe for Your Cat

If you want to brighten up your home or garden with flowers, there are many to choose from that will not pose a threat to your cat at all. Mix and match the options available to create depth and drama in a room of your home or use just one type of flower to create a seamless modern look in your yard. The options are limitless! Here are just a few cat-safe flowers to consider growing in or around your home:

  • Sunflowers
  • Freesias
  • Orchids
  • Snapdragons
  • Asters

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Final Thoughts

There is no reason to compromise your yearning to grow flowers for the safety of your cat. There are many cat-safe flower options out there. It is worth noting that hyacinths are poisonous to dogs too, so the same information offered here applies to them.

Related Read: 

Featured Image Credit: epicantus, Pixabay

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Authored by

Rachael has been a freelance writer since 2000, in which time she has had an opportunity to research and write about many different topics while working to master the art of fusing high-quality content with effective content marketing strategies. She lives off the grid in Hawaii with her husband, her garden, and her rescue animals including 5 dogs, a cat, a goat, and dozens of chickens. She is an artist at heart and loves...Read more

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