Toxic plants

Are Flags or Irises Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
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Is Flag or Iris Toxic To Cats? 

Flag plant is more commonly known as Iris, and its other common names are Snake Lily, and Water Flag. Flag plants or irises contain substances known as a glycoside termed iridin, irisin, or irisine, which are harmless to humans. This plant also contains pentacylic terpenoids such zeorin, missourin, and missouriensin. These compounds are irritating to cats and can result in a wide range of symptoms. The chemicals are found in the highest concentrations in the flag plant’s rhizomes, roots, and bulbs. Nonetheless, the leaves, flowers, and stems of this plant are all poisonous.

What Is Flag Plant or Iris?

Snake Lily with a cat looking at it

Flag plants, often known as Irises, are perennial plants that grow from rhizomes or bulbs in dry conditions. Their flowering stems are long and erect, and they can be simple or branching, solid or hollow, flattened or circular in cross-section. Three to ten basal sword-shaped leaves occur in dense bunches on the rhizomatous species. The basal leaves of bulbous species are cylindrical.

From several colors of blue to violet, a pale delicate white or yellow, earthy tans and browns, to a flaunting copper-red, a majestic deep maroon, and a brilliant yellow, they exhibit a variety of vibrant patterns and hues. A rainbow represents Iris in mythology. These forest, meadow, and marsh blooms live up to their legendary nickname. These beautiful blooms are native to North America and parts of Australia.

Clinical Signs of Flag Plant or Iris Poisoning in Cats

Snake lily and cats

The degree of your cat’s poisoning symptoms will largely depend on how much of the plant your cat has consumed and which portion. Symptoms can cause your cat a lot of pain, even if they aren’t life-threatening. The following are signs that your cat may be suffering from flag plant or iris poisoning:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Ulcers of the mouth
  • Skin irritation or dermatitis

First Aid and Treatment of Flag Plant or Iris Poisoning in Cats

Snake Lily and a cat nearby

Bringing your cat to the veterinarian is vital to prevent developing worse symptoms. The vet will provide treatment to your feline based on his diagnosis. The typical process may include flushing your cat’s mouth with water, intravenous fluid therapy, inducing vomit, and giving activated charcoal. Medications may be also prescribed depending on the symptoms that your cat is experiencing. 

Recovery from Flag Plant or Iris Poisoning in Cats

Most cats will recover entirely from iris poisoning if they are given proper veterinary care as well as plenty of rest and hydration. If your cat has been poisoned, your veterinarian should keep an eye on him or her overnight or for as long as significant symptoms linger. To guarantee a quick recovery, you may need to take your cat to the vet for follow-up appointments.

Prevention of Flag Plant or Iris Poisoning in Cats

Avoid growing or bringing in flag plant or iris inside your house. Consider building a plant terrarium with cat-friendly plants. Minimizing your cat’s outdoor activities will also lessen the risk of exposure to flag plants and other toxic plants growing in your neighborhood.

If you love plants but have cats at home, check out these lists:

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