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Why lilies can be deadly to your cat

Humans aren’t the only ones who find the delicate beauty of lilies alluring — your whiskery four-legged friends at home do too. And while us humans have little to fear from lilies (because we don’t eat them), the same cannot be said for cats, which can be severely harmed if they ingest pollen or drink the water from lilies.

Remarkably, the ASPCA list 407 plants that are toxic to cats, and lilies seem to be the least feline-friendly flowers in the world, and are deathly poisonous.

Depending on the family of lilies your plant is part of, the risk ranges from mildly toxic to fatal. And because there are so many types of lilies available, it’s vital to do some research before you bring one home. Here’s what you need to know, according to a leading group of florists and vets in Sydney.


Highly toxic plants

True lilies belonging to the Liliaceous family are the most deadly. Anything from this family is hazardous to cats. The Day Lily, which is classified under the Hemerocallis family, is also extremely toxic.

The list of dangerously toxic lilies includes the Stargazer lily, the Oriental lily, the Asiatic lily and the Tiger-lily.


Moderately toxic

Other types of lilies that are moderately toxic and which will cause a cat to become sick are peace lilies, Peruvian lilies, and the Calla lily. While mildly toxic, if ingested, these plants rarely produce serious complications.


Symptoms to look out for

If you suspect that your cat has been poisoned by ingesting part of a lily plant, carefully observe your cat for the following symptoms and contact your vet immediately:

  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Frequent thirst

Medical treatment for lily toxicity

The treatment available is dependent on how long ago your cat consumed the lily plant. The first step is to get rid of the toxins by flushing them out with the use of intravenous liquids. If severe damage has occurred, especially to the kidneys, dialysis or a kidney transplant will need to be performed.

It is important to note that all parts of the lily plant are toxic to cats including the water in which the plant is grown. If you need more information on lily toxicity, please contact South Eastern Animal Hospital today and speak to a member of our knowledgeable team.