Toxic plants

Is Meadow Saffron Toxic To Cats?

Is Meadow Saffron Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

Meadow saffron can be predominantly grown in your neighborhood’s gardens. The colchicine poisons and other alkaloids present in this plant make it particularly dangerous to cats. The largest levels of toxins are found in the leaves and fruit of meadow saffron, although all portions of the plant should be considered dangerous. Colchicine causes the body’s red blood cells to clot, causing blockages that can cut off blood flow to vital organs. This can cause complete organ failure, which can be fatal.

What Is Meadow Saffron?

Meadow saffron, scientifically known as colchicum autumnale, grows from a bulb and emerges from the ground in late summer. It has resemblance with the true crocuses, however it is a member of the plant family Colchicaceae, unlike the true crocuses, which belong to the family Iridaceae. Meadow saffron has dark green leaves can reach a length of nearly a foot. Gardeners adore this flowering plant for its colorful purple, pink, or white blossoms that bloom throughout the fall. This North African native is also commonly called autumn crocus and naked ladies.

Clinical Signs of Meadow Saffron Poisoning in Cats

If your cat is showing symptoms of meadow saffron poisoning, seek veterinary assistance right away. Common symptoms that your cat may manifest may include:

  • Oral irritation
  • Vomiting with blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Shock
  • Multi-organ damage
  • Bone marrow suppression

First Aid and Treatment of Meadow Saffron Poisoning in Cats

The sooner meadow saffron poisoning is treated, the better the cat’s chances of recovery from the incident are. If the cat is not attended to right away, it may result in death because of the colchicine’s poisonous reaction. 

Toxins may be removed from your cat’s system by the veterinarian inducing vomiting. The vet may also use activated charcoal to absorb any residual colchicine in your cat’s system. If days have gone by since your cat consumed meadow saffron, the vet may opt to perform gastric lavage to eliminate the poisons from his stomach.

Other supportive treatment may also be provided such as intravenous fluid therapy and oxygen support. This may depend on the symptoms that your cat is experiencing and the severity of his condition.

Recovery from Meadow Saffron Poisoning in Cats

Though fatalities from meadow saffron poisoning have been reported, the result for a cat poisoned by meadow saffron is entirely dependent on how much of the plant was consumed and how promptly treatment was administered. If organ damage has occurred, it is almost certainly irreversible. This could necessitate the cat to receive lifetime medication or procedures to improve the function of the afflicted organs.

Prevention of Meadow Saffron Poisoning in Cats

As a cat owner, avoid growing meadow saffron and other toxic plants in your garden. Cats that live in an area where meadow saffron can thrive are at risk. To protect your cats from meadow saffron and other harmful plants, it may be advisable to keep them 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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