Lily Toxicity

Lilies are common flowers found in bouquets and arrangements but they are highly toxic to cats.  All parts of the plant, from the leaves to the pollen, can cause fatal kidney failure.

What should I do if my cat has eaten a lily or got pollen on their fur?

Black and White cat being bathedIf you notice lily pollen on your cat’s fur, the first step is to stop them licking any (more) off.  Although not easy, thoroughly washing your cat with soap and water should remove the pollen.  You should then contact your vet immediately.

If your cat has recently eaten the lily or pollen, the first step is for your vet to make them vomit and then give activated charcoal which binds the toxic molecules in the intestines and removes them in the faeces.  Your cat will then need high rates of intravenous fluids and close monitoring of kidney function (blood tests and urine samples) over the next 24-72 hours.  If this is started early, the chance of survival is pretty good.

What are the signs of lily poisoning?

Old ginger catA cat might have vomiting and/or diarrhoea within a few hours of eating the lily, but this does not always happen.

Acute kidney injury starts 24-48 hours down the line and once this has started, the chance of survival is poor.  Signs of acute kidney injury include:

  • reduced appetite/off food
  • lethargy
  • vomiting
  • not producing any urine

If you notice any of these signs, contact your vet as soon as possible.

How can I prevent lily poisoning?

Pink lily in bouquet of other flowersDon’t allow any lilies in your house if you have a cat!  They may look pretty but they are deadly.

Educate friends and neighbours about the dangers of lily toxicity.  Campaign for florists to make it clear about the dangers when making up bouquets and arrangements.

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