Are Hyacinths Poisonous To Cats: Our 2022 Guide

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Cat owners may wonder, are hyacinths poisonous to cats. The answer is yes; they can be poisonous to cats. 

Let us discuss the symptoms of poisoning in cats and how to treat them. 

The perennial hyacinths are (for the most part) outdoor plants. The bulbs tend to be planted in the fall; hyacinth flowers bloom in the spring and then go dormant in the summer. 

However, there are also some varieties of hyacinths that are grown as indoor plants. 

These are generally smaller varieties, often forced to bloom indoors during winter.

What Causes Hyacinth Plants to be Poisonous to Cats?

According to the ASPCA, the bulbs of hyacinths are the most poisonous part of the plant to cats.

The toxicity level of these plants is considered to be moderate. If a cat ingests the bulbs, it may experience gastrointestinal upset and drooling. In some cases, it may also cause vomiting and diarrhea.

If a cat ingests a large amount of the plant, it could lead to more severe problems such as difficulty breathing, an irregular heartbeat, and even seizures.

However, what causes them to be poisonous…

Several different compounds are found in hyacinth bulbs that are toxic to cats. These include lycorine alkaloids, allergenic lactones, and calcium oxalate raphides. 

Let us take a look at these compounds more in-depth:

  • Lycorine Alkaloids: These are the most toxic compounds found in hyacinth bulbs. They can cause vomiting and diarrhea. They may also cause an irregular heartbeat and difficulty breathing in severe cases.
  • Allergenic Lactones: Found in the bulbs of hyacinths, they are known to cause an allergic reaction in some cats. Symptoms may include skin irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Calcium Oxalate Raphides: Found in all parts of the plant but are most concentrated in the hyacinth bulb. They can irritate the mouth, tongue, and lips. In severe cases, they may also cause difficulty breathing.

Now that we know the hyacinth bulbs are poisonous to cats, let’s take a look at what to do if your cat ingests them.

What Are Symptoms Of Hyacinth Poisoning?

The symptoms of hyacinth poisoning will vary depending on how much of the plant your cat ingests.

If they eat a small amount, they may experience gastrointestinal upset, drooling or abdominal pain. In more severe cases, they may vomit or have diarrhea.

If your cat ingests a large amount of the hyacinth plant, they may experience more serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, an irregular heartbeat and even seizures.

The following are severe symptoms to watch out for:

  • Gastrointestinal upset (drooling, vomiting, diarrhea)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Oral irritation
  • Tremors

Treatment of Hyacinth Poisoning in Cats

Veterinarians will treat hyacinth poisoning in cats on a case-by-case basis. If a cat has only ingested a small amount of the plant, it may be monitored for a few hours. 

If a cat has ingested a large amount of the plant, it may need to be hospitalized for treatment. Treatment may include:

  • Intravenous fluids treatment: Given to prevent dehydration
  • Activated charcoal: Helps absorb the toxins in the digestive system.
  • Removal of Plant Matter: Any plant matter remaining in the mouth or digestive system will need to be removed.

Timely treatment is essential when it comes to hyacinth poisoning. Call your veterinarian immediately if you think your cat has ingested the plant.

Tips on Protecting Cats from Hyacinth Poisoning

For indoor toxic plants:

  • Keep plants out of reach of cat (on a high shelf or in a room that your cat does not have access to)
  • Cayenne pepper: Sprinkle cayenne pepper around the base of the plant. Cats do not like the smell, and it will deter them from going near the plant
  • Consider hanging the plant from the ceiling.
  • Citrus spray: You can make your own by mixing one part lemon juice with three parts water. Spray the plant with this mixture every few days
  • For cats that like to dig, consider adding a layer of stones

For outdoor plants: 

  • Keep cat indoors
  • Consider fencing off the area where the plant is located
  • Regularly check the plant for any signs of damage
  • By following these simple tips, you can help
  • Cayenne pepper: Sprinkle cayenne pepper around the base of the plant.
  • Citrus spray: You can make your own by mixing one part lemon juice with three parts water. Spray the plant with this mixture every few days.

Conclusion

While hyacinths are beautiful plants, they can be dangerous to cats. Call your veterinarian immediately if you think your cat has ingested the plant. Following the tips above can help protect your cat from hyacinth poisoning.

Sean Green

Owner & PetCareAdvice.com

PetCareAdvice.com was founded by Sean Green, a leading developer of several pet-related websites and devoted pet owner. Sean is supported by a knowledgeable team of pet-loving writers who work together to provide you with a wealth of information about training and caring for your dog.

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