Are Lilies Poisonous To Cats?
I would hazard a guess that there aren’t too many people that say that they don’t like receiving a bouquet of flowers, but sometimes, that bouquet might contain lilies and sadly, lilies are poisonous to cats.
Unfortunately, it seems that many people including those that work in flower shops, garden centres and gift merchants are totally oblivious to the fact that lilies are poisonous to cats.
Lilies are beautiful flowers that are often used in ornamental floral arrangements for holiday celebrations, weddings, and funerals. Lilies of the genera Lilium and Hemerocallis (Day Lilies) have been shown to cause nephrotoxicity in cats.
It isn’t just a bouquet of flowers that can be deadly, our gardens can also prove hazardous to our cats. I know my parent’s garden contains many plants that are poisonous to pets including Day Lilies, Christmas Lilies and Easter Lilies. Neighbouring cats and dogs often enter the garden at free will, posing a deadly risk to their lives.
Below are some examples of poisonous lilies:
Day lily, Japanese lily, Christmas lily (not flowering here), Red lily, Easter lily, Tiger lily.
Christmas Lily prior to flowering
What Happens If My Cat Eats A Lily?
The exact toxin in lilies that is poisonous to cats hasn’t been identified yet. What we do know is that this toxin causes acute kidney failure in cats.
Cats are extremely sensitive to lilies where even the smallest ingestion of any part of the plant can result in severe, acute kidney failure. Cats have known to be poisoned by ingesting vase water or even licking pollen that has brushed onto their fur.
All parts of the plant are poisonous including the pollen, leaves, flowers and bulbs and can result in kidney failure within 24-72 hours of ingestion. Although the exact toxin is unknown, we do know that it is water soluble.
What Are The Signs Of Lily Poisoning?
The signs that indicate that your cat may have eaten a lily are not particularly exclusive to lily toxicity. These signs are more indicative to a problem with the kidneys.
Signs that you may notice include:
- Inappetence (not eating)
- Increased drinking
- Decreased or no urination at all
The most important thing is if you have a suspicion that your cat has had contact with a lily, you need to seek veterinary attention immediately.
Can Lily Poisoning Be Treated?
It is crucial that if you think your cat has ingested or come into contact with a lily plant that you get them to a veterinary clinic immediately. Without aggressive treatment, many cats do die.
There is no antidote for lily poisoning, however prompt veterinary intervention can improve prognosis and some cats will survive.
If you witnessed your cat eating a lily leaf or petal your veterinarian may start with decontamination i.e. they will induce vomiting and give a substance called activated charcoal to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines.
However, the most important part of treatment is aggressive fluid therapy. Your cat will be placed on an IV drip and likely have their bladder catheterised so that urine output can be monitored.
Blood tests for kidney function and monitoring of urine output will help determine if treatment is working.
It can take a few days before signs of kidney damage show, but treatment needs to be started very quickly to help improve the chances of recovery.
Minke’s Story – Why Lilies Are Dangerous
Who knows what plants and flowers are poisonous to cats and dogs?
Watch the video to learn more about lilies and cats and hear the story of Elle and her kitty Minke.
Please forward this to all your friends that own cats. Save a kitty.
You can read more about lilies here: https://www.yourvetonline.com/lilies-poisonous-to-cats/
And download your guide to 10 common poisonous plants found in our gardens (includes pictures of plants and symptoms): https://www.yourvetonline.com/poisonous-plant/
Posted by Your Vet Online on Monday, 19 November 2018
Are All Lilies Poisonous?
Not all lilies are deadly, however, they all can cause toxicity issues. Some lilies contain oxalate crystals that cause irritation and swelling to the mouth, pharynx (throat) and oesophagus that may make it difficult for the cat to swallow or breathe.
While they might not cause deadly kidney failure, your cat will still require treatment from a veterinarian
Examples of lilies that don’t cause kidney failure are below: Anthurium Lily, Arum Lily, Peace Lily and Canna Lily.
What Do I Do If My Cat Eats a Lily?
Because of the potentially deadly nature of lily toxicity, it is very important that you get to a vet immediately. If you are ever unsure what to do our online vets can help you immediately. The sooner treatment is started, the more favourable the outcome.
Take a sample of the lily plant with you, so that the vet can identify what kind of lily your pet has eaten.
Luckily for dogs, lilies are not so deadly.
Lilies can still cause gastrointestinal upset and make dogs ill if they ingest enough, but they don’t get kidney failure. They can also be affected by the oxalates and get an inflamed mouth.
Lilies are poisonous to cats
Lilies are poisonous to cats.
Cats require emergency treatment by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Lilies cause kidney failure.
Many cats die after ingestion of lilies if they don’t receive aggressive treatment within the day after ingestion.
If you are worried about your cat please don’t hesitate to contact our online vets, we are available 24/7.