Toxic plants

Is Jonquil Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
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Is Jonquil Toxic To Cats? 

Jonquil is a variety of daffodil which also contain the same toxic principles that can harm cats. Lycorine, galantamine, glucoside scillaine, narciclasine, and calcium oxalate crystals are the toxins found in a jonquil plant. When a cat consumes a jonquil plant, it typically causes gastrointestinal upset, lethargy, tremors and can eventually lead to kidney damage. 

The jonquil plant’s stems and leaves are poisonous, but the bulbs are the most dangerous portion of the plant. Cats are less likely to consume huge amounts of jonquil, but they could be poisoned if they dig up and eat the bulbs.

What Is Jonquil?

Paperwhite with a cat in the background

Scientifically known as narcissus jonquilla, jonquil is a member of the Amaryllidaceae plant family and is actually a variety of daffodil. Most narcissus species are commonly called daffodil and sometimes jonquil or paperwhite. The two plants that are most commonly referred to as jonquils are:

  • The official jonquil species, narcissus jonquilla, which has rounded leaves, clusters of yellow flowers, with a particularly sweet scent.
  • On the other hand, narcissus pseudonarcissus, is a classic daffodil species with short pointed leaves and a solitary bloom on a head.

Because of its fragrant and gorgeous blossoms, jonquil is widely grown as a garden flower. Jonquils are a Mediterranean flower that is grown in comparable temperatures all over the world.

Jonquil has long, slender leaves that look like rushes. It develops heads of up to five perfumed yellow or white blooms in late April. The fragrant jonquil flowers are usually utilized to produce oil that are used in perfumes.

Clinical Signs of Jonquil Poisoning in Cats

Paperwhite and cats

Jonquil intake by pets is uncommon, and serious daffodil poisoning is even rarer. The bulbs were consumed in the majority of documented cases of severe poisoning, however poisoning has also occurred after ingestion of the jonquil flowers or leaves. Here are the signs that typically occurs in cats suffering from jonquil poisoning:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Sedation,
  • Loss of appetite
  • Convulsions
  • Shivering
  • Abnormally low blood pressure
  • Kidney damage
  • Muscular tremors
  • Cardiac arrhythmias

First Aid and Treatment of Jonquil Poisoning in Cats

Paperwhites with a cat in the background

The importance of veterinary treatment cannot be overstated. If the poisoning occurred within the recent several hours, the veterinarian will most likely induce vomiting or do gastric lavage. To minimize the absorption of poisons, activated charcoal can be also administered to your cat. The vet may prescribe medications to protect the stomach lining and minimize gastrointestinal irritation.  In severe situations, intravenous fluids and electrolytes may be required to prevent dehydration. Until the poisons are eliminated from the cat’s body, the veterinarian will monitor cardiac rhythms and modify medicine doses.

Recovery from Jonquil Poisoning in Cats

Recovery from jonquil poisoning is likely with mild cases. Large doses can be fatal so this is best evaluated by a veterinarian. Once your cat is back at home, keep him or her comfortable and minimize physical activities while he or she is recuperating.

Prevention of Jonquil Poisoning in Cats

Avoid growing jonquils in your garden and bringing jonquil flowers inside your home. Be mindful of the bouquets you receive and always check if they contain toxic plants that may cause harm to your cat. If jonquils are growing within your community, always keep an eye on your cat or confine them in a cat cage or playpen.

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

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