As spring approaches, lilies will become more common in households as potted plants or in bouquets. Unfortunately, several types of lilies can be deadly to cats. Easter lily, tiger lily, rubrum lily, Japanese show lily, some species of day lily, and certain other members of the Liliaceae family can cause kidney failure in cats.
Within only a few hours of ingestion of the lily plant material, the cat may vomit, become lethargic, or develop a lack of appetite. These signs continue and worsen as kidney damage progresses. Without prompt and proper treatment by a veterinarian, the cat may develop kidney failure in approximately 36-72 hours.
All parts of the lily plant are considered toxic to cats and consuming even small amounts can cause severe poisoning. Cat owners should be aware of the dangers of lily ingestion and remove them from their cat's access.
Lilies that have been shown to cause kidney failure in cats include:
Note: This list is not all inclusive.
|Common Name||Scientific Name|
|Easter Lily||Lilium Longiflorum|
|Tiger Lily||Lilium Tigrinum|
|Rubrum Lily||Lilium Speciosum|
|Japanese Show Lily||Lilium Lancifolium|
|Day Lily||Hemerocallis Species|
Easter Lily - Lilium Longiflorum
Toxicity rating: HIGH
Animals affected: The only reported toxicity is in cats.
Dangerous parts of plant: Leaves primarily, stems and flowers may also be toxic.
Class of signs: Gastrointestinal irritation (vomiting), depression, lack of appetite.
Signs: Upon consumption of Easter lily (the exact amount is unknown), the cats begin to vomit within an hour or so. The cat then becomes depressed over the next half day, presumably as the toxin begins to affect the kidneys. Within 48 to 96 hours after consumption, the cat will tend to show signs of clinical kidney failure: increased urination, depression, stomach upset, dehydration. Death tends to occur within 5 days.
First Aid: If a cat is seen eating Easter lily, contact a veterinarian immediately. If emergency treatment is begun within 6 hours of consumption, the chance are good that the cat will recover. This generally consists of emptying the gastrointestinal tract of the affected cat and intravenous fluid therapy in a hospital setting. If more than 18 hours has elapsed, the cat may not survive, even with emergency care.
Prevention: Easter lily is a popular plant at certain times of the year, and extra caution must be used when bringing these plants into the house where cats can get at them. Make sure the plant is kept away from cats, especially ones that like to nibble on things. If nibbling plants is unavoidable, have a selection of safe plants available (grass or catnip are two possibilities).