Lilies: A Danger to Cats

Lilies are extremely toxic to cats

With Easter just around the corner, many people are bringing home beautiful flowers such as Easter Lilies to decorate the house for the holiday.  Unfortunately, as beautiful as these flowers are, Easter Lilies and other lilies are extremely dangerous to cats. Ingestion of even a small amount of the plant can be fatal to cats if immediate treatment is not received.

All parts of the lily, including the pollen, are toxic to cats, but the flower itself is especially toxic. The initial signs in a cat that has ingested lilies include vomiting, loss of appetite, drooling and lethargy.   Eventually the toxins will affect your cat’s kidneys, causing increased thirst, depression, dehydration and eventually leading to kidney failure, which can occur within 36-72 hours.

If you suspect your cat has ingested even a small amount of a lily plant, it is crucial to contact your vet immediately. If you notice yellow staining on your cat’s fur from the pollen, you should assume that your cat has ingested some of the lily. The sooner treatment starts, the better. While there is no cure for lily toxicity, treatment usually involves inducing vomiting, and supportive care such as intravenous fluids.

Because cats are curious and many like to nibble plants, the safest course of action is to simply avoid bringing any type of lily into your house.

Remember: March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month. Be sure you know what to do in the event your pet ingests something poisonous.

About author

Erin Gleeson

Erin Gleeson is the Outreach Specialist at 1-800-PetMeds® and works with the 1-800-PetMeds Cares donations program. She has loved animals as long as she can remember and has worked in several veterinary offices in the past as a veterinary technician. She has one cat, Kitsy, and frequently fosters kittens for a local rescue group. You can also find Erin on Google+.

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