Are Lilies Poisonous To Cats? Find The Answer Here

Do you love lilies? These are beautiful flowers and can be parts of many gardens. But did you know that when you combine them with cats, you can create a harmful mix? You adore your cats and have the best toys, cat trees and posts for them, but it is more important to keep them safe! Every cat owner knows that our feline friends are curious creatures by nature. Because of their inquisitive personalities, they can sometimes face some serious dangers, like coming in contact with some of these flowers.

While lily flowers are very popular and lovely to smell and see, they pose a significant safety threat to your cat. That’s why it is vital to be able to spot the toxic ones, to keep them far away from your 4-legged friend. Wanna know all you can do to protect your kitty? Keep on reading to find out which of these flowers are poisonous, what signs to watch for and what to do if your cat comes into contact with them! 

Are all lilies poisonous to cats?

Wondering if lilies are bad for cats and which parts of them? Well, from their petals and leaves to their stamens and roots, even sniffing their pollen or drinking water in a vase holding lilies can be harmful.

What is lily toxicity?

We don’t know what makes this flower toxic, but we do know that all parts of the lily plant can be harmful to cats. The most dangerous lilies for cats are those of the genus Lilium and Hemerocallis. If you have a cat pet, we recommend keeping these plants out of your house:

  • Asiatic lily
  • Day lily
  • Easter lily
  • Peace lily(Spathiphyllum)
  • Japanese Show lily
  • Rubrum lily
  • Stargazer lily
  • Tiger lily
  • Wood lily

Although Lily of the Valley is not a member of the genus Hemerocallis, it is highly toxic to our feline friends, and you should also keep it out of your home and garden. Other flowers having “lily” in their names may not be true lilies, but they can cause their own problems and sometimes be fatal for cats. They can irritate a cat’s throat and mouth or even cause heart abnormalities. These are:

  • Calla lily
  • Glory lily
  • Kaffir lily 
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Peace lily

Less harmful “lilies” for cats

Calla and peace varieties contain insoluble crystals of calcium oxalates. When a cat chews on or bites these plants, crystals are released and irritate the pet’s mouth, tongue, throat, and oesophagus. The Peruvian variety has a toxin that causes mild stomach upset if your cat ingests a significant amount. The alarming signs usually go away on their own. “Lilies” that are not considered toxic to cats (since they are not true lilies) include the following: 

  • Peruvian lily
  • Sand lily
  • Corn lily
  • Ginger lily
  • Sego/mariposa lily
  • Canna lily
  • Saint Bernard’s lily
  • Red palm lily
  • Resurrection lily
  • Scarborough lily

Symptoms of lily poisoning in cats

Do you suspect that your cat has eaten any part of a lily, lily pollen or has drunk water from a vase containing these flowers? Within 2 hours of plant ingestion, your cat will begin to exhibit symptoms. Most of these symptoms develop from acute kidney failure itself. It is vital that your cat receives treatment as soon as symptoms start to manifest. The clinical signs indicative of poisoning include: 

  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Severe diarrhoea
  • Skin irritation 
  • Drooling
  • Weakness
  • Staggering
  • Disorientation
  • Excessive thirst
  • Pain or distention in the abdomen
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Lethargy and general malaise
  • Increased urination, followed by lack of urination after 1 or 2 days
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Coma

Lilies can kill cats without aggressive treatment. If cat owners suspect their pet may have chewed on lily, they need to seek veterinary care immediately! 

Diagnosis-Lily toxicity treatment

When it comes to poisoning, diagnosis is critical! If possible, take a sample of the plant along to the veterinarian when you take your cat for treatment. This will help your doctor diagnose the reaction much easier. The earlier you take your cat in for treatment, the better chance they have for survival and for full recovery with no long term kidney damage. Delayed treatment, meaning by more than 18 hours after ingestion, generally leads to irreversible kidney failure.

Immediate care-What you need to do if your cat has digested parts of the plant

If you think your cat has ingested a lily plant, it is a life-threatening emergency. Here’s what you should do as soon as possible:

  • Seek pet care immediately. Call your veterinarian to know if you should induce vomiting before bringing the cat to an animal hospital.
  • Have the veterinarian contact an animal poison control centre.
  • Call your nearest animal hospital or the Animal PoisonLine at 01202 509000.
  • It will be helpful if you know which type of lily they were exposed to and the amount they consumed. If possible, take a sample or a picture of the flower.

Antidote and treatment

Unfortunately, there is no antidote for lily poisoning. This is why prompt veterinary attention is essential. Here is the treatment your cat will need:

  • In the early stages of poisoning, the veterinarian may perform a procedure known as decontamination. The doctor will give your cat a thick oral liquid that will bind to the toxins and move them out of its body through the gastrointestinal tract. Aggressive fluid therapy within 24 hours of ingestion may prevent anuric renal failure.
  • In some more severe cases of poisoning, dialysis is the only effective treatment. You’ll need to have your cat hospitalised for several days. In this more aggressive fluid therapy, IV fluids may support kidney function and protect the cat’s kidneys from the circulating toxins. Hemodialysis assumes the role of kidney function while allowing the kidney to recover from severe poisoning

How to prevent lily toxicity

If you have a cat and want to protect it, consider saving yourself the trouble of identifying which lilies are which. 

  • It’s for their best to keep them all out of the house and the yard if your pet ever ventures outdoors. 
  • Can you not live without flowers with “lily” in the name? Pet Poison Helpline suggests the Peruvian lily, as long as your cat won’t eat a large quantity of it.
  • Make sure to keep away the toxic types of lilies! You should instruct florists not to include lilies in the Lilium species when buying or ordering flowers for delivery. 

Safer alternatives

Are you looking for a safer but also attractive option for lilies? Here are a few that will not cause harm to your feline friend: 

  • Blue daisy
  • Marigold
  • Gloxinia
  • Camelia
  • Nasturtium
  • Roses
  • Canna
  • Persian violet
  • Snapdragon
  • Viola
  • Gerber daisy
  • Petunia
  • Star jasmine
  • Zinnia
  • Sunflower

Other household plants to beware of

Lilies may be the most common culprit behind cat poisonings, but other household plants can also pose a threat to felines. Visit ASPCA’s list of plants or Pet Poison Helpline‘s free database to find out more about poisonous plants for pets. The most common ones include:

  • Foxglove
  • Philodendron
  • Azalea and Rhododendron
  • Cyclamen
  • Oleander
  • Sago Palm
  • Castor Bean
  • Yew
  • Marijuana 

Are lilies toxic to other animals?

Do you have some more pets you want to protect? Certain lilies are also poisonous to dogs and horses. Dogs must not ingest bush/Clivia lilies, calla lilies, Lilies of the Valley, or plantain/Hosta lilies. Horses should not consume plantain/Hosta lilies or Lilies of the Valley.

Cost of treatment

Treatment for cat lily poisoning can be quite expensive. Hospitalisation may cost hundreds of pounds. It’s essential to speak openly to your vet about the cost of treatment, depending on what you think is suitable for your cat. You should consider pet insurance for your cat as soon as you get them to be sure you have the support you need if they ever become unwell.

Cats and lilies are a terrible combination! Some of these flowers are a big ‘no-no’ for feline-friendly gardens and homes. Just a tiny bite of a petal or two can make your kitty very sick, and if you don’t treat it within a reasonable amount of time, it can be fatal. Since there is no antidote for poisoning by lilies, it is vital to know as much as possible about this plant and the effects you may see if your cat is exposed to it. Just follow our instructions to keep your kitty safe and close to you for many years to come!

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