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Lilies are beautiful flowers, enjoyed by many of us, but unfortunately pose a significant risk to cats. For this reason, it is best to avoid lilies at all in houses and gardens where cats live.


Cats may be poisoned by flowers if they eat any part of the plant or flowers (all parts of the plant are considered toxic for cats).

Kittens are especially vulnerable to being poisoned in this way, as they are inquisitive, and more likely to chew at flowers as a way of exploring their environment. Adult cats are less likely to eat part of a plant, but can become poisoned when grooming, if they have brushed against the flowers and then lick the pollen off their fur.


The signs


The signs will appear a few hours after ingesting lily parts :

  • Vomiting – this may stop after a while, and re-start up to 3 days later
  • Anorexia (not eating)
  • Depression
  • Paralysis
  • Breathing problems
  • Seizures (fitting)
  • Swollen face or paws

The main effect of lily poisoning is Kidney Failure, which is a life-threatening condition. Even cats that survive lily poisoning may be left with kidney problems and sometimes pancreatitis.


What to do


If you suspect that your cat may have eaten any part of any type of lily, you should contact us immediately at your nearest branch.

In some cases we may be able to induce vomiting if the plant was very recently ingested, and activated charcoal can be given to help reduce the toxic effects.

The main treatment involves supporting the kidneys with intravenous fluids, and monitoring kidney function with blood samples.

Depending on the severity of the poisoning, affected cats may need to be kept hospitalised for some time.


Which lilies are poisonous?


The most dangerous types of lily are the Tiger Lily (Lilium Tigrinum), Day Lily (Hemerocalis), Stargazer Lily (Lilium Orientalis), Easter Lily (Lilium Longiflorum), Rubrum Lily (Lilium Speciosum), Japanese Show Lily Lilium Longiflorum), and Asiatic lilies. However, all lilies should be considered potentially toxic, so please take care when introducing any type of lily into your home or garden.