bouquet of white and pink tiger lilies

Lilies and Cats: A Deadly Combination

Lilies are popular as cut flowers and in gardens all over Toronto. 

However, if you have cats, it’s important to keep these blooms away from them, as they’re very toxic to felines. For cats, ingesting or chewing on a tiny amount of the petals, leaves, stem or pollen can cause kidney failure.

What Types Of Lilies Are Dangerous?

All types of lily are dangerous to cats. However, the most toxic species include Asiatic lilies, Oriental lilies, tiger lilies and trumpet lilies. While the exact toxin is unknown, it’s clear that the dangerous component is water soluble and present in all parts of the plant and flower.

Signs of Poisoning

Symptoms of lily poisoning can be immediate or take six to 12 hours to develop. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration

If left untreated, symptoms will worsen as kidney failure progresses, and some cats will experience disorientation or seizures. Lily poisoning can kill cats within a week. It may take less time if the cat ingested large amounts of the toxin.

What To Do Next

If you suspect that your cat has chewed or eaten any part of a lily, it’s imperative that you bring it to an animal hospital as soon as possible for emergency treatment. As with all cases of potential poisoning, it’s a good idea to bring a sample of what you believe your cat ate or drank so it can be tested. This will make it easier for the veterinarian to diagnose and treat your pet.

Treatments for lily poisoning include flushing out the stomach and digestive tract to remove all traces of the plant. In some cases, activated charcoal may be used to neutralize the toxin. Intravenous fluids will also be administered for at least 24 hours to rehydrate your cat and prevent kidney failure.

Protecting Your Cat

The best way to protect your cat from lily poisoning is to keep them away from the plant. It’s best to keep your cat indoors at all times, but if it does go outside, be sure not to plant any in your garden. Never buy bouquets of flowers that include lilies. If you receive them as a gift, keep them out of reach of your cat or remove them from your home altogether.

Call Us for Emergency Veterinary Care In Toronto

If you think your cat has been in contact with lilies or is otherwise sick, the veterinary team at Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital in Toronto can help. We offer emergency walk-in care, and our cat clinic was designed to keep cats calm and comfortable. Contact us today to find out more about our services or to book an appointment.