Lilies and Cats
The lily is a truly spectacular flower. Unsurpassed in beauty by most other flowers, it is often the central flower in floral arrangements that we keep in our houses. We often bring stunning Easter lilies into our homes in the spring, as they are one of the most popular flowers of this season. However, if you have a cat in the house be warned! Lilies eaten by cats can kill them and this article will completely change the way you think about your cat and house-flowers.
Did you catch your cat in the act of crunching on a lily leaf? Or do you have lilies in the house and are now thinking, “Oh my gosh! How do I know if my cat has taken a bite?” Here are the symptoms that result from eating any part of the plant: vomiting, depression, kidney failure, and death. Let’s expand on these symptoms. Vomiting occurs within approximately an hour of eating any part of the lily plant. Depression is the next stage that takes place for about a half a day. Around two to four days later an untreated cat may show signs of kidney failure. You can tell when there are problems with the kidneys when your pet begins urinating more frequently, is dehydrated, depressed, has no appetite, and has an upset stomach. Your pet’s body cannot survive without its kidneys, so sadly, death is the next step. As you can see, there are very serious consequences when your cat eats a lily so if you suspect your cat has been eating one of these plants, rush it to the veterinarian immediately. Chances for recovery diminish with every passing second; with chances for recovery being good if caught within 6 hours of consumption. However, do not delay because after 18 hours, chances of recovery are slim even when aggressive treatment is initiated.
Here are some common lilies that can cause the aforementioned kidney failure in grazing cats: Easter Lily, Tiger Lily, Rubrum Lily, Japanese Show Lily, and Day Lily. If you happen to have a different variety of lily, DO NOT assume it is safe for cats. These are only some examples of the more common ones; many more varieties of lily are poisonous to cats.
Why would my cat eat a lily? Isn’t my cat smarter than that? We would all like to think so, but it is not simply a matter of smarts, but rather curiosity. Cats are touchy creatures by nature. They like to taste and chew on things. They may learn from their mistakes after chewing on a particularly un-tasty item, however with lilies they usually do not get a second chance. It has not been confirmed how much ingested lily is necessary to cause kidney failure, so it is possible that even just one nibble can be serious or even prove fatal to your cat. You may also think that keeping a lily up very high where your cat cannot reach it is safe but this could be a deadly mistake. You would be surprised where a cat can get to if it really wants to. How many times have you heard of cats getting stuck in trees? This suggests that they can often climb anything if they set their minds to it. Additionally, if your cat likes to keep its feet on the ground, lily leaves and petals can fall to the ground where they are available for easy consumption. Even pollen can rub off the plant onto your cat, and if by chance they should ingest it when they lick themselves it could be fatal.
Protect your cat from this unnecessary danger. It is a terrible thing to blame yourself for something that could have been prevented. The next time you see a lily and are thinking about how spectacular it is, remember, lilies can be as deadly as they are beautiful, at least as far as your cat is concerned.
By Laura Platt – Pets.ca writer