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Lilies and cats...

12 June 2015

Lilies and cats


Many items in the household can be harmful to cats, but only a small number of people know that lilies can be very harmful (toxic) to our feline friends.

A number of lilies have been associated with the toxicity seen in cats; these include Easter and Tiger lilies as well as Day lilies.

The exact reasons for the toxicity are unknown but the majority of symptoms are due to kidney (renal) failure. Cats are very sensitive to any part of the plant they contact, so much so that some cases have developed clinical signs after they were exposed to the box that the flowers were delivered in.

Clinical signs include increased salivation (drooling), vomiting, anorexia (not wanting to eat) and lethargy initially and can progress to abdominal pain and increased drinking and urination. The prognosis is excellent if the problem is recognised quickly and treatment begins before the kidneys are affected, however if it is not treated promptly it could be fatal. The treatment often includes decontamination of the fur to remove any lily pollen in direct contact with the cat, intravenous fluids and hospitalisation.

If you share your house with a feline friend please don't have lilies present in the house or garden, as any contact would require immediate veterinary attention.

For further information on other dangers within the home please see our Poisons/household dangers Information sheet.