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Are cats allergic to Cardinal Flower or is it toxic to them?

Byzantine-style illustration of a Cardinal Flower.

The Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is a beautiful red wildflower native to the Americas. While visually stunning, this plant is actually quite toxic to cats. The Cardinal Flower contains a substance callelobeline which can cause serious health issues if ingested by felines.

This perennial is commonly found in wet environments such as stream banks, swamps, and low woods throughout the eastern United States and Canada.

Toxicity level

High

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Additional image of the plant

Symptoms your cat may have

If a cat ingests any part of a Cardinal Flower plant, it may experience a range of uncomfortable and potentially dangerous symptoms. Common signs of Cardinal Flower poisoning in cats include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Heart rhythm abnormalities
  • Weakness
  • Collapse

Potential diagnosis your Vet may give

If you suspect your cat has eaten Cardinal Flower, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately. Your vet will likely perform the following steps to diagnose plant poisoning:

  1. Thorough physical exam
  2. Blood tests to check organ function
  3. Urinalysis
  4. Fecal examination
  5. Possible abdominal x-rays or ultrasound

Treatment may include inducing vomiting, administering activated charcoal, IV fluids, heart monitoring, and supportive care. With prompt treatment, most cats recover from Cardinal Flower poisoning.

An illustrative banner depicting an anthropomorphic cat in a vet's office, alongside a call-to-action message that reads: 'If you suspect your pet may have ingested a potentially toxic substance,' accompanied by a prominent button stating 'Find A Vet Near Me!
An illustrative banner depicting an anthropomorphic cat in a vet's office, alongside a call-to-action message that reads: 'If you suspect your pet may have ingested a potentially toxic substance,' accompanied by a prominent button stating 'Find A Vet Near Me!

FAQ

Q: Are cats allergic to Cardinal Flower?

A: Yes, cats can be allergic to Cardinal Flower. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include itching, sneezing, and skin irritation.

Q: Is Cardinal Flower toxic to cats?

A: Yes, Cardinal Flower is toxic to cats. Ingesting any part of this plant can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling.

Q: What are the symptoms of Cardinal Flower poisoning in cats?

A: Symptoms of Cardinal Flower poisoning in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and abdominal pain. Immediate veterinary care is recommended if ingestion is suspected.

Q: How can I prevent my cat from coming into contact with Cardinal Flower?

A: To prevent contact, ensure that Cardinal Flower is not present in your home or garden. Keep your cat indoors or monitor outdoor activities closely to avoid exposure.

Q: What should I do if my cat ingests Cardinal Flower?

A: If your cat ingests Cardinal Flower, contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed by a veterinary professional. Immediate medical attention is necessary.

Q: Is Cardinal Flower commonly found in gardens?

A: Yes, Cardinal Flower is commonly found in gardens and as an ornamental plant. It is important to ensure this plant is kept out of reach of cats to prevent accidental ingestion.

History of the Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower is named for the bright red robes worn by Roman Catholic cardinals. This showy wildflower was introduced to European gardens in the 1620s after being discovered in the Americas. Native Americans used root tea medicinally as an antispasmodic and emetic.

Hummingbirds are the primary pollinators of Cardinal Flower. Although it has a long history of medicinal and ornamental use, all parts of this plant are considered toxic to humans and animals if ingested.

Further reading and sources

Please note: The information shared in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as veterinary medical advice.

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