If you already have snowdrops in your backyard, or you are considering bringing them in, you may be questioning whether your cat(s) or neighboring cats will be safe in their presence. Or will they pose a risk due to any inherent poison they may carry? I’ve laid out everything that you need to know below.
So, are snowdrops poisonous to cats? Snowdrops are poisonous to cats if ingested. In fact, the entire plant poses a considerable risk, but it’s the bulb in particular that causes the most harm. The symptoms that your cat will experience could well be as serious as seizures, a lack of coordination, or, worst of all, death.
Below, you’ll find more information on the symptoms, alongside tips on how to keep your cat away from your snowdrops.
That is, if they’re even attracted to them in the first place.
Will Cats Eat Snowdrops?
Cats are unlikely to eat Snowdrops, instead seeking out other plants/flowers if available. That being said, Snowdrops may pose a risk if your cat brushes up against them (and later lick their fur).
Cats may be curious by nature, but they’re equally intelligent.
Thus, generally speaking, they do a pretty good job of staying away from poisonous plants.
Come springtime, when your snowdrops are in full bloom, there is a range of alternative flowers that, if present, your cat will naturally be much more attracted to.
However, in lieu of alternative plants of interest, your cat may find itself drawn to your snowdrops.
Additionally, your cat could unintentionally brush up against your snowdrop plant, in turn transferring its toxic pollen onto its fur and then licking it off in an effort to clean itself.
However, whether your cat consumes your snowdrops with intent or not, there’s no question that it’s dangerous turf either way.
What Would Happen To A Cat If They Ate Snowdrops?
A cat that ate Snowdrops, or ingested them, can experience drooling, vomiting, seizures, a lack of coordination, or a drop in blood pressure. In extreme cases or high enough doses, cats can die.
Snowdrops contain a toxic alkaloid called galantamine, which is what makes them so poisonous to cats.
Of course, it’s the dose that truly matters here.
In small doses, ingestion will likely cause one or two of the following symptoms: drooling, vomiting, seizures, a lack of coordination, or a drop in blood pressure.
With prompt medical attention, the symptoms should be treatable, even in the more severe cases.
Nonetheless, there’s no telling which cats will suffer from which side effects.
It’s worth noting that the more snowdrops a cat eats, specifically the bulbs, the more severe the symptoms and the greater risk of death.
How To Keep Cats Away From Your Snowdrops
Given the risk to their health, it’s imperative to make efforts to keep your cat away from your snowdrops and avoid a dreaded emergency trip to the vet.
Below, I’ve highlighted a few prevention techniques that are certainly worth considering.
Install A Physical Barrier
If your cat can’t access your snowdrops, it won’t be able to consume them.
Installing a physical barrier such as a fence or even chicken wire around your snowdrops is one of the more traditional yet no less effective ways to go about warding your cat away from your plants.
You could even place gravel or mulch on the ground around the snowdrops to make their vicinity as uncomfortable and unappealing as possible.
Your cat won’t be able to easily access your snowdrops, and it may become fed up with trying to.
Sufficient Alternative Food
Your cat may be eating your snowdrops out of genuine hunger as opposed to from a place of curiosity, so it’s worth reflecting and thinking about whether or not you’re giving your cat the amount of food that it needs.
If you feel that it could eat even more, be sure to dispense additional food during feeding time or even increase the frequency of feeds.
Keeping your cat full up may well prevent it from seeking fuel elsewhere, such as your beloved snowdrops.
Scent deterrents are yet another tried and true approach.
By placing scents that your cat dislikes around your snowdrops, you’ll likely repel your cat from going anywhere near them, let alone eating them.
Snowdrops have a sweet scent, but it’s an extremely delicate one.
Thus, it’s not too difficult to overpower their fragrance with a much less enticing scent.
Luckily, cats dislike a wide range of smells, from citrus notes to vinegar, rosemary, mint, and many more!
You could create a repellent from the comfort of your own home or pick up a readymade commercial one at your local pet or garden store.
Keep Your Cat Occupied
Finally, if you can, it’s worth trying to make an effort to spoil your cat with extra mental and physical stimulation.
This could take the form of more toys, more playtime, or, more generally, an increase in one on one time with you.
Making efforts to prevent your cat from becoming bored may well subsequently hinder it from nosing around your garden, stumbling upon the snowdrops, and wreaking havoc.
Plus, if you’re outside playing with your cat, you’ll be able to keep an eye on its behavior and manually keep it safe too.
Of the solutions listed above, this one definitely takes the most effort and isn’t exactly the most futureproof, but even just a couple of trips out to the garden with your cat may just pay off.
Other Suggestions When Keeping Snowdrops Around Cats
Consider Alternative Plants
If you’re a proud cat parent and haven’t yet purchased the snowdrops, hopefully, this post has given you some food for thought.
You may want to reconsider which plants you introduce to your garden next, and if snowdrops transpire to be a must-have, you could look to plant them alongside plants that naturally repel cats, such as that of lavender and lemon thyme.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Contact Your Vet
If your cat has ingested snowdrops, you’ll need to take it to the vet immediately.
This way, you can be sure that any symptoms that arise will receive prompt medical treatment, and you’ll be doing all that you can to encourage the best possible recovery.