Toxic plants

Is Amaryllis or Belladonna Lily Toxic To Cats?

Is Amaryllis or Belladonna Lily Toxic to Cats
Written by Clair Chesterman

Amaryllis which is also known for its other names such as Belladonna lily, Saint Joseph lily, Cape Belladonna, and Naked Lady is considered toxic to cats as it contains lycorine which is poisonous not only to cats but even for humans.

What is Amaryllis Plant?

Amaryllis which is part of the Amaryllidaceae family is a popular indoor plant that produces pretty bell-shaped flowers in a variation of colors such as red, pink, white, and orange. It is known to be native to South America but also grows in countries with a tropical and sub-tropical climates.

The principal toxin found in the amaryllis leaves, stems, and bulbs is lycorine, an alkaloid compound that is deadly to both pets and people. This toxin can be found in most members of the Amaryllidaceae family, which includes the amaryllis, and is largely concentrated in the bulb.

Clinical Signs of Amaryllis Plant Poisoning in Cats

The severity of amaryllis poisoning is determined by two factors: whatever portion of the plant your cat consumed and how much of it she ate.

While the amaryllis is normally regarded as mild to moderately poisonous, major adverse effects could arise if the cat swallows a great amount of the said plant, particularly the amaryllis bulbs. The common symptoms of amaryllis plant poisoning that you have to watch out for are the following:

  • Vomiting 
  • Respiratory depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypotension
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hypersalivation
  • Anorexia
  • Tremors

First Aid and Treatment of Amaryllis Plant Poisoning in Cats

Expelling the plant from your cat’s system is important. If your cat is found to have ingested an amaryllis plant, you should remove the residues from his or her mouth. Should the symptoms that your cat manifests are severe, contact a veterinarian right away to ask for medical assistance. The veterinarian can assist in the removal of plant residues from your cat’s stomach as well as give symptomatic relief for vomiting or diarrhea. Your cat may need IV fluids to recover from dehydration if he or she lost a lot of fluid due to vomiting.

Recovery from Amaryllis Plant Poisoning in Cats

Unless your feline consumed a large amount of the amaryllis flower, the chances of making a full recovery are extremely high, even without veterinary intervention. Prompt treatment is important to prevent the worse effects of toxicity.

Prevention of Amaryllis Plant Poisoning in Cats

Amaryllis is very common so you cannot totally avoid it. It is highly possible to receive amaryllis as a gift. Make sure to put them in a high place or in an off-limits room. If amaryllis grows within your neighborhood, keep an eye on your cat when he or she is outdoors or better if you can keep him or her busy indoors.

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

About the author

Clair Chesterman

Clair Chesterman is a professional cat breeder having her own cageless CFA and CCA Registered cattery & fostering company FluffyMeowPaws in Eugene, Oregon. Clair is a plant enthusiast too and she made in-depth research on toxic and non-toxic plants for cats.

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