Toxic plants

Is Barbados Pride or Peacock Flower Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Barbados Pride or Peacock Flower Toxic To Cats?

Barbados Pride or also known for its common names peacock flower, dwarf poinciana, Barbados flower fence, and red bird of paradise, is a flowering shrub known to be Barbados’ national flower. It is a common ornamental and medicinal plant however, it is poisonous for some animals including cats. While it looks beautiful in gardens, Barbados Pride’s seeds contain tannins which cause symptoms of gastrointestinal disorder in cats. On the other hand, its leaves contain hydrogen cyanide that may cause breathing difficulty in cats. Cats who ingested Barbados Pride leaves and seeds usually experience vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

What Is Barbados Pride?

Cat sits near Barbados Pride

Barbados Pride, scientifically known as Caesalpinia pulcherrima, is a thorny little shrub with vivid red, orange, and yellow sunset-colored flowers that blossom most of the year in the tropics. It is a spectacular and lovely flowering plant native to the West Indies or the Americas’ tropics and subtropics. It has bipinnate leaves and blooms that grow in 20-centimeter-long racemes. Depending on the temperature and season, it might reach a height of three to five meters. The fruits, which resemble pods, appear after flowering. When the pods ripen, they split open, dispersing the tiny seeds. The seeds contain tannic acid, which is toxic and can cause gastrointestinal irritation if consumed.

Clinical Signs of Barbados Pride Poisoning in Cats

Barbados Pride and cats

The symptoms of Barbados Pride poisoning in cats are mostly gastrointestinal and vary from mild to moderate in severity. If your cat has ingested a large portion of Barbados Pride, more serious symptoms may occur. Take your cat immediately to the veterinarian if he or she shows any of the following clinical signs:

First Aid and Treatment of Barbados Pride Poisoning in Cats

Barbados Pride with a cat trying to sniff it

Flushing out the toxins from your cat’s system is a priority in treating poisoning. The veterinarian will provide immediate supportive care to your cat, which may include intravenous hydration, oxygen therapy to treat respiratory symptoms, and necessary cardiac medication or medicine to treat other organ system dysfunctions. Administering activated charcoal may also be recommended by the vet depending on the severity of your cat’s condition. The vet may also perform gastric lavage to eliminate any remaining toxic substances from your cat’s stomach.

Recovery from Barbados Pride Poisoning in Cats

Your cat will fully recover quickly as long he or she was given proper care and treatment immediately. Rest, plus possibly a particular diet and medication, will be required for your cat to recover from any organ system damage. It is advisable to follow up with your veterinarian to ensure that your cat recovers completely.

Prevention of Barbados Pride Poisoning in Cats

Since Barbados Pride is usually found in floral arrangements, ensure that any floral arrangements containing this or other hazardous plants are out of your cat’s reach. Remove Barbados Pride and any other hazardous plants from your house or garden to keep them out of reach of your cat.  As much as possible, keep your cat safe indoors to prevent exposure to toxic plants in your neighborhood.

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

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