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Are Lilies poisonous to Cats?

    Are Lilies poisonous to Cats?


    This is the third installment of what plants are poisonous to your cat. Today we are going to talk about lilies. As stated previously, cats are very apt to eat or at least bite just about anything, plant or otherwise. So what happens if a cat ingests lilies? Are they poisonous? Are they safe? If they are poisonous, how dangerous are they? Read below for what you need to know about cats and lilies.

    Are Lilies poisonous to cats?

    First things first and last. Lilies are lethal to cats, not just poisonous but deadly. Just a small bite can lead to kidney damage in a matter of hours. Kidney failure and death can result in a matter of days if not treated promptly and properly. The lily toxin is not known meaning it has not been identified as to exactly what poisons cats. Anything from biting a lily leaf or petal to drinking water from a vase with cut lilies can poison a cat. If you even suspect your cat may have ingested or interacted with lilies at all, seek     veterinary care immediately.

    What are the signs of lily toxicity in cats?

    So how can you tell if your cat may have been poisoned by lilies? If your cat is vomiting, lethargic, drooling or has a loss of appetite those are all signs something is wrong with your cat. More frequent urination and dehydration occur around 12 to 24 hours after ingestion. Those symptoms are signs of kidney damage which if left untreated can lead to kidney failure. The sign that the kidneys have failed is when your cat no longer has urine output. Kidney failure can lead to death within 36 to 72 hours if not properly treated. If you cat is experiencing any of the symptoms above, get them to a vet immediately.

    Other signs besides symptoms in your cat might be if there is a chewed piece of the plant lying around. Let the vet know what you think it is when you get there so they can provide the correct treatment.

    How is lily toxicity treated in cats?

    So now that I have explained how you can tell if your cat may have ingested lilies, you’ll need to know what to do about it. Once you get to the veterinarian, there are several options depending on how long it has been since ingestion. They may induce vomiting to rid the cat of the toxic plant if it was ingested within a few hours. Activated charcoal may be used to bind the remaining toxin in the stop and prevent it from harming the kidneys. IV fluids could be given to help support proper kidney and to protect the kidneys from any remining toxins in the body. If kidney function deteriorates, dialysis can be used to keep the cat alive while the kidneys hopefully repair themselves.

    The best course of action is to get your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Any delay in treatment after 18 hours usually leads to irreversible kidney failure.

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    What lilies are harmful to cats? Are there less harmful lilies?

    Just like roses, there are many different types of lilies. So which ones are more harmful than others? Are there any safe lilies for cats? Any flower that is a part of the lily family can cause the symptoms above and are highly toxic to cats. This includes but is not limited to daylilies, Easter lilies, tiger lilies, wood lilies, Japanese show lilies and stargazer lilies. Other plants with the “lily” in their name are not true lilies and do not cause kidney failure in cats. They do have other health hazards associated with them so it is best to avoid theses as well. These include lily-of-the-valley and the gloriosa lily. 

    Calla lilies, peace lilies and Peruvian lilies are not as toxic as other lilies but they do have health risks for cats. Irritation to the mouth, tongue, throat and esophagus, drooling, vomiting and diarrhea are all common symptoms associated with these lilies. The best thing that you can do as a cat owner is to keep your cats away from all these plants if possible. 


    It is best to say this as many times as possible, lilies are highly poisonous to cats and can lead to death if untreated. As cat owners, it may be best to not plant or have lilies around the house to prevent this from happening. If lilies are a big part of your life for any reason, do what ever you can to keep them out of reach of cats. Spring time is the time to be extra cautious as this is when lilies are most prevalent. Between Easter and Mother’s Day, lilies can be a great flower to give as a gift to be prepared around this time of year.

    If even after being so careful your cat does ingest lilies of any kind, get them to a veterinarian immediately. Any delay in treatment will only make the symptoms worse and maybe even irreversible. Any treatment after 18 hours is usually too late to save the cat. The lily toxin works extremely fast targets the kidneys so do not delay if you are unfortunate enough to be in this situation. 

    Keep following along on what other plants may not be safe for your cat if this post was helpful to you.     

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