Lilies are popular flowers and commonly used in arrangements due to their appealing fragrance. Many pet owners are, however, unaware of the danger they pose to cats.
It can be extremely dangerous if a cat eats any part of a lily, or drinks the water from a vase with lilies in it. Once ingested, a toxin can cause severe damage to the kidneys and, in some cases, the kidneys can fail completely and lead to death.
All species of the Lilium and Hemerocallis plants are poisonous to cats. Their common names include the Day lily, Asiatic lily, Madonna lily, Japanese Show lily, Stargazer lily, Oriental lily, Rubrum lily, Western or Wood lily, Tiger lily and Easter lily.
Other plants that have lily in their name such as Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), Peace lily (Spathiphyllum species) and Calla or Arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) may have still lead to toxic effects if ingested (such as a gastrointestinal upset) but it is specifically Lilium and Hemerocallis that cause kidney failure.
Signs of lily poisoning include:
- Refusing food
- Lethargy and depression
Examination may reveal painful and enlarged kidneys, and the confirmation of kidney failure is made via blood and urine tests.
Treatment involves intensive hospitalisation and intravenous fluids, yet this may not always be successful, with some cats succumbing to kidney failure.
Please help us spread the word to help keep cats safe. Tell your local florist that lilies can be lethal and if you are gifted a bunch of lilies, the lilies are better off in the bin than around your cat!