Banning lilies from a home with cats is such a no-brainer that I haven’t written about it here before. But even though you know not to bring lilies into your home if you have a cat, you may not know the details about why they are deadly, and just how urgent it is to rush a cat to the vet if you even suspect they have been in any sort of contact with lilies. So I wanted to fill you in.
Most Lilies Will Kill a Cat
The list includes, but is not limited to:
- Easter lily
- Stargazer lily
- Japanese snow lily
- Asian lily
- Day lily
These, and related lilies from the genera Lilium and Hemerocallis will cause renal failure and death.
Lilies of the valley have toxins that affect the heart and could cause seizures or even coma. Ingesting these are definitely a veterinary emergency and your cat needs immediate attention.
Other lilies are not as toxic, but still need veterinary attention if ingested. These include peace lilies and calla lilies. They contain crystals that are extremely irritating to the mouth and digestive system. They will make your cat very sick.
All Parts of the Lily Are Toxic… and More
Your cat does not have to eat a lily to die from it. She could just bite into it, or brush up against it. All parts of the lily — flowers, leaves, stems, roots and pollen — are deadly. In fact, it is deadly if your cat just laps water from a vase that contained lilies. They are that toxic.
Rush Your Cat to the Veterinary Clinic Immediately if You Even Suspect She Has Been in Contact With a Lily in Any Form.
Time is crucial if your cat has ingested anything from a lily. The more time her body has to absorb the toxins, the less likely it will be that she will survive. If you wait before symptoms show up, the prognosis is not good.
Symptoms of lily poisoning include drooling, vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite and diarrhea. Within 12 to 24 hours, you will see dehydration and increased urination. If a cat is showing these symptoms, it may already be too late to save her.
If the unthinkable happens, and your cat runs afoul of a lily, it will be very helpful to bring along a photo of the plant to show the vet.
There Is Actually No Antidote to Lily Poisoning
The only thing the vet can do is flush the toxins out of your cat before they have a chance to do damage. That includes stabilizing the cat, inducing vomiting, and using activated charcoal to bind to the toxins. Then the cat will need IV fluids, probably for several days, to clear out the kidneys.
You Cannot Treat a Cat Who Has Lily Poisoning at Home
Even if you have taken a class in cat first aid, you do not have the skill or ability to properly treat a cat with lily poisoning. Do not try to induce vomiting on your own. Just call the veterinary clinic or emergency vet and rush down there right away. The vet will know that this is something that needs to be addressed immediately.
If Treated in Time There Are No Lasting Health Issues
If you get your cat to the vet promptly and treatment is successful, she probably won’t have lasting kidney damage. You should still keep an eye on her urinary habits, however, and any change in frequency especially should be looked into.
There will also be severe damage to your pocketbook because this type of medical emergency requires a lot of attention from the veterinarian and staff.
Most of you reading this already know not to ever have lilies in your home, or anywhere near your cat. But now you have more details, and you can pass them along to people who may not even know how toxic and deadly lilies are to cats. Paws crossed that you never have to deal with this emergency.
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