With Easter just around the corner, many of us like to decorate our home with a beautiful, fragrant Easter lily plant. What many don’t realize however is that the lily plant (true lilies of the Lilium or Hemerocallis species including Easter lily, Day lily, Asian lily, Stargazer lily and Tiger lily) can be extremely toxic to cats. It is not completely understood how or why the Lily is toxic to cats but it has been known to cause lethargy, vomiting, poor appetite, tremors and seizures within a few hours and it can progress to kidney failure and death. It appears that the flower is the most toxic part of the plant but it is believed that all parts of the plant including the pollen can be toxic. Other “lilies,” such as Peace, Peruvian and Calla, are not true lilies and cause only minor symptoms in cats.
So what should a cat owner do to keep their pet safe? The simplest thing to do is not have lilies in your house! If you absolutely must have a lily, make sure your cat does not have ANY access to it. Even if you are fairly confident that your cat would not chew on the flowers or leaves, a cat can be exposed to the toxic effects by getting some pollen on them and then grooming themselves or drinking water from the vase – it’s probably not worth the risk!
If your cat has been seen or you suspect your cat has been in contact with or chewing on any part of the lily plant you should seek veterinary advice immediately.