are lillies bad for cats

The entire lily plant is toxic: the stem, leaves, flowers, pollen, and even the water in a vase. Eating just a small amount of a leaf or flower petal, licking a few pollen grains off its fur while grooming, or drinking the water from the vase can cause your cat to develop fatal kidney failure in less than 3 days.

Which Lilies Are Toxic to Pets?

are lillies bad for cats

By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard that lilies should be avoided around pets, especially your feline companions. Dogs and cats can both be poisoned by lilies, including daylilies and Asiatic lilies, but cats are much more severely affected. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) wants to make sure you have all the facts and information you need to keep your pet safe because these flowers are common at this time of year.

Easter/Asiatic Lily (Lilium spp.)

For pet owners, the numerous common names for plants—some of which even overlap with those of other plants—can be quite confusing. Many plants are called lilies, but not all of them are harmful to our feline companions. Lilium sp, are ones to keep your cats away from. They go by a number of common names, including Oriental lily, Stargazer lily, Easter lily, and Asiatic lily. All of these should be avoided by pet parents. The plant is poisonous in all forms, and even tiny amounts can seriously harm the kidneys. Additionally problematic behaviors could include drinking lily-infused water or brushing pollen from their fur.

Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.)

Daylilies are also another lily to avoid. Like Lilium sp, Daylilies can cause severe kidney injury. Since the cut flowers of these flowers only last a day or so, as their names suggest, they are most often seen outdoors and are not frequently used in bouquets.

Peruvian Lily (Alstromeria spp.)

Although native to South America, Peruvian lilies have naturalized in some parts of the United S. Peruvian lilies resemble Lilium sp. in appearance and are also frequently used in bouquets. Although Peruvian lilies may induce some gastrointestinal distress (diarrhea, vomiting), they are not anticipated to result in any organ damage that could be fatal.

Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllium spp.)

Large, waxy, green leaves characterize peace lilies, which also have a very distinctive white flower form that can also be green or yellow. They are commonly found as house plants. When chewed, the insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in peace lilies are released, which can result in mouth pain, drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea. In rare cases, mouth swelling can make breathing difficult. Despite their toxicity, peace lilies almost never result in major or fatal issues.

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria spp.)

Different from other lilies, lilies of the valley have a distinctive appearance. They have tiny, bell-shaped, pendent flowers that open in the spring. They are not typical houseplants, nor are they often used in bouquets. But lily of the valley plants are poisonous and can result in severe poisonings. Heart glycosides found in lily of the valley can upset the stomach and result in diarrhea and vomiting as well as an irregular heartbeat.

What Should I Do If My Pet Ingests These Plants?

Catching exposures to all toxic lilies quickly is critical. If kidney damage is a concern, a veterinary hospital can treat patients aggressively to prevent it. However, if treatment is postponed for more than 18 hours after ingestion, it frequently results in death.

In case you think your pet might have consumed or been exposed to anything harmful, please get in touch with your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center right away at (888) 426-4435.

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria sp.)

Typically, lily of the valley plants have two glossy, green leaves. They often give the impression of having a lot of leaves because they grow in close clusters. The flowers are white or pink and bell shaped. They emerge in the early spring and grow on a single stalk. Despite not being renally toxic, these lilies can nevertheless cause serious clinical symptoms. They contain cardenolides and are cardiotoxic. Every part of the plant is poisonous, and the toxin is incredibly strong. Arrhythmias, decreased CO, a weak pulse, hyperkalemia, vomiting, and possibly even death are possible outcomes. Treatment is largely symptomatic and supportive. If symptoms are severe, treatment with digoxin (Digoxin Immune Fab) may be considered.

Even though a small exposure may be enough to cause acute kidney injury, life-threatening complications can be prevented if the exposure is detected promptly. It should be mentioned that renal damage may not be reversible if treatment is initiated more than 18 hours after exposure.

To avoid acute kidney damage, any cat exposed to any part of a true lily should receive IV fluid diuresis for 48 hours. Renal values and electrolytes should be monitored. It’s important to keep an eye out for any signs of pancreatitis in the cat.

When GI distress occurs, additional supportive care should be taken into account. A biopsy can be performed on cats who suffer from acute renal injury to determine whether the basement membrane is still intact.

The cat’s renal function may be saved if it is intact, but until the kidney has had time to regenerate, it will need hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.

Unfortunately, due to its high cost and limited availability, dialysis is not always an option.

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FAQ

Can smelling a lily hurt a cat?

Lilies are bad for cats, from the petals and leaves to the stems and roots—even sniffing the pollen or drinking the water in a vase holding lilies can be harmful. Here’s why lilies are poisonous for cats and what to do if your cat has come into contact with some of these flowers.

Is it OK to have lilies in the house with a cat?

If you have cats, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to remind you that these particular flowers, as well as Tiger, Asiatic, Day, and Japanese Show lilies, are a safety threat to your feline friends. Eating small amounts of plants or grass may be normal for cats.

Which lilies are not toxic to cats?

However, not all lilies are poisonous to cats, while some species such as Calla, Peace and Peruvian lilies do not cause kidney damage, but can still cause irritation and gastrointestinal signs if ingested. To avoid your cat coming to any harm, it is a good idea to cat-proof your garden.

What is the survival rate for cats with lily poisoning?

Mortality is between 50-100%. Early, aggressive intervention (suspecting ingestion or prompt treatment when clinical signs are first noted) results in a 90% survival rate. So during this romantic, flower-giving time of year, please make sure your Valentine knows to stay away from lilies if you are a cat lover.