A beautiful flower steeped in history, lilies are most often seen in the spring and celebrated as a symbol of joy, hope and life. But did you know that they are actually extremely dangerous to cats? With Easter just around the corner, we wanted to warn you about this lovely (yet extremely deadly) plant!
Toxicity in Cats
You may have heard that lilies are toxic to cats, but do you really know how toxic?
As little as ingesting 1-2 leaves, drinking the water from a vase or even licking the pollen off their coat can put a cat into acute kidney failure in as little as 24-72 hours with little chance of recovery without prompt, and I mean prompt, medical attention. Signs of poisoning usually occur within 6-12 hours after exposure.
Types of Lilies and Their Affects
The most dangerous lilies are specifically of the genus Lilium (Lilium sp.) or Hemerocallis (Hemerocallis sp.). This includes the tiger lily, Asiatic lily, Japanese lily, stargazer lily, wood lily, Easter lily, daylily, rubrum lily, and Western lily, to name the most common.
Other species of lilies have certain toxicities as well, although not causing acute kidney failure.
Calla, peruvian and peace lilies are irritating to a cat’s mouth and digestive tract. They can cause drooling, pawing at the mouth, foaming and vomiting.
Lily of the valley can affect the heart, causing low blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. These affects can progress to seizures, coma and even death in both dogs and cats.
If your cat is seen or you suspect they have ingested any part of a lily plant, please bring them and the plant to your nearest veterinarian immediately. There is no time to spare. Aggressive IV fluid therapy and supportive care must be initialized as quickly as possible for the best chance of your cat recovering.
With Easter and Mother’s day around the corner we also encourage you to tell your friends and family about these dangers and to dispose of any lilies you may receive in a bouquet or be sure to keep them well out of reach of your cat.