Toxic plants

Is Cardinal Flower or Indian Pink Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Cardinal Flower or Indian Pink Toxic To Cats? 

Cardinal flower, also known as Indian pink is poisonous for cats as it contains lobeline which can affect the nervous system of a cat. This substance disrupts the communication process of nerve cells from the brain to the spinal cord and other parts of the body thus, contacting a veterinarian is vital for prompt treatment of cardinal flower poisoning.

What Is Cardinal Flower or Indian Pink?


Cardinal flower or Indian pink is scientifically known as Lobelia cardinalis, is a perennial shrub that is distinctive with its showy, vivid red flowers. The name cardinal flower was based on the robes of Roman Catholic cardinals which is the same shade as the cardinal flower. 

This plant member of the Campanulaceae or bellflower family is found to be native in the Americas and mostly grows in marshes, stream banks, and low woods. However, because of their beauty and distinct features, cardinal flowers are also grown indoors as houseplants.

Clinical Signs of Cardinal Flower or Indian Pink Poisoning in Cats

Lobelia and cats

Any signs of poisoning should be addressed immediately to avoid the development of severe conditions. Note that cardinal flower poisoning may show the following symptoms:

First Aid and Treatment of Cardinal Flower or Indian Pink Poisoning in Cats

Lobelia with a cat in the background

Typical treatment of poisoning will be administered by the veterinarian which includes IV fluids, inducing vomit, and activated charcoal. The veterinarian may also prescribe medications to relieve diarrhea, vomiting, and other symptoms as needed. For severe liver damage, modification of diet may be required for your cat.

Recovery from Cardinal Flower or Indian Pink Poisoning in Cats

As long as your cat has no other underlying health condition and was given prompt medical attention, he or she will fully recover quickly. Continue giving support care at home while he or she is still regaining strength. Let your cat rest in a quiet and cozy environment as he or she may still be distressed from the poisoning incident.

Prevention of Cardinal Flower or Indian Pink Poisoning in Cats

If you have a cardinal flower at home like a house or garden plant, you should remove it immediately. If your cat got the poisoning from encountering cardinal flowers while out in your neighborhood, you should restrict their outdoor access to avoid reoccurrence of poisoning in the future. Try to do some research before buying or growing plants to make sure they are not hazardous to cats.

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

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