The Dangers of Easter Lilies

Although beautiful, Easter lilies are a real health threat to your cat. Just one bite of a petal, leaves, the stem, or even the pollen of an Easter lily can cause problems with the digestive system, and can even lead to kidney failure and death.

Early signs (approximately 2-4 hours after ingestion) of lily poisoning
in your cat include:

Vomiting
Lethargy
Lack of appetite

Later signs (approximately 24-72 hours after ingestion) include:

Initially, increased thirst and urination. Then, decreased urination if the kidneys fail.

You may not actually see you kitty ingest the lily, but if you see suspicious symptoms and there are lilies around, seek out a veterinarian.  When it comes to treatment, time is of the essence! If treatment is administered within the first few hours, chances are good that your kitty will survive. After 18-24 hours, however, the prognosis is not as hopeful, even for cats who receive treatment.

The best way to keep your cat safe is to make sure your cat doesn’t have Easter lily access to begin with. Instead, choose one of the other beautiful Easter flowers that are safer for your cat, for instance: Easter orchids, violets, or Easter Cactus.
Easter Lily Danger

Easter Hazards

Photo: bob in swamp / Foter.com / CC BY

Photo: bob in swamp / Foter.com / CC BY

It’s that time again when Spring is upon us and we look forward with great anticipation to the upcoming Easter holiday and nice, long days of summer ahead.   With 10 to 12 million lily plants produced annually, the lily is a very popular plant to receive as a gift, especially during this time of year.

Cat owners must be aware when bringing lilies into their homes. The following species are known toxins to cats: The Easter lily, Tiger lily, Day Lily, Rubrum lily, Japanese Show Lily, as well as other members of the Liliaceae family can all cause kidney failure in cats. In most plants, the leaves are known toxins along with the stems and flowers in certain species. With some species, cats can eat as little as two or three leaves which can result in liver failure and, if left untreated, can cause death if not caught in time.

Photo: flores do meu jardim / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo: flores do meu jardim / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

If you catch your cat eating a lily plant, contact your veterinarian immediately. Should your cat ingest lily plant material, he may vomit, have diarrhea, became dehydrated and lethargic and develop a lack of appetite. As internal damage progresses, symptoms can become more intense without prompt, appropriate treatment by your veterinarian. Take the plant along when you take your cat to the veterinarian to make it easier for your veterinarian to prescribe the proper care and treatment.

If you receive a lily plant, take extra caution to make sure that the plant is out of reach and kept away from your cat, especially if he likes to nibble on things. Rather than struggle with the problem of where to put the plant, you may decide that cats are more fun and more decorative than a plant and just ban them from your home.