We all love to receive flowers, but did you know that lilies are extremely toxic to cats?
All parts of the lily are poisonous to cats, the petals, leaves and even the pollen. A common way for cats to be poisoned is by simply brushing past a lily plant, and then grooming the pollen off their fur.
The main toxic effects are on the kidneys. Within minutes to hours after ingesting any part of the lily plant, the cat may start to vomit, drool and become lethargic. Without prompt effective treatment, this will progress to kidney failure within 36 – 72 hours, and unfortunately, this is invariably fatal.
If you see a cat eating lilies, contact your vet immediately. If treatment can be started within 6 hours, there is a good chance of recovery. There is no antidote to lily poisoning. Treatment usually involves emptying the gastrointestinal tract, intravenous fluid therapy and close monitoring, requiring several days of hospitalisation. Even then, not all cats will survive, and some may be left with long-term kidney damage. If more than 18 hours have passed since ingestion of the lily plant, the outlook is extremely poor, with a very low chance of survival.
The only way to prevent your cat from eating lilies is simply to not have any lily plants or flowers in your home. If you receive a bouquet containing lilies, either give them to a non-cat owner or dispose of them safely. Lily poisoning outdoors is less frequently reported, but it is probably safest to avoid growing lilies in your garden too.
If you think your cat may have eaten lilies, please contact your nearest Pennard Vets branch immediately.