Cats and Lilies Don’t Mix

Lilies are extremely poisonous to cats.

Lilies are extremely poisonous to cats.

The Easter Bunny may be on his way, but he doesn’t just bring candy. Lilies are often a big part of Easter celebrations or just part of spring in general. If you have a cat at home though, watch out. Lilies are extremely toxic to cats and can cause serious problems or even death if ingested.

Here are some tips to keeping a happy, healthy cat:

  1. Don’t underestimate your cat’s curiosity. Dogs get most of the blame for eating things they shouldn’t in the house, but cats are known to nibble on your fresh flower arrangements. Definitely avoid including lilies in your arrangements and don’t include them in bouquets you plan to give as a gift to another household with a cat.
  2. Ingestion of many types of lilies can be fatal but all varieties are poisonous. Some of the most poisonous varieties include Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter, and Japanese Show lilies. Less toxic but still poisonous are Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies.
  3. It doesn’t take much. Just a nibble of 2-3 leaves or ingestion of pollen groomed off the fur is enough to start ball in motion. Early signs of poisoning begin in 6-12 hours and can include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, and dehydration. If left untreated, kidney failure ensues marked by urinating too little or too frequently, excessive thirst or no thirst at all, tremors, disorientation, and even seizures.
  4. If you notice any of the above symptoms in your cat, or even if you don’t notice any symptoms but notice that your flowers have been munched on, immediately contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680 for immediate advice. If you make a trip to your veterinarian’s office, take the flowers in question with you.
  5. There is no antidote. Treatment for lily poisoning can include what is called decontamination, meaning induced vomiting or a type of charcoal which binds the poison in the stomach. IV fluids are administered as well and kidney function will be monitored. As with anything else, the sooner you seek treatment, the more likely you’ll receive a happy outcome.

The Pet Poison Helpline has many good articles on poisons which pose dangers to pets in the home. If you are concerned about what additional plants in the home or yard which could pose a danger, check out our Poisonous Plants fact sheet on our website. It’s always best to be prepared!


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