Q: I have a two- year-old cat and was recently given a lily plant as a gift. I heard somewhere that lilies might be poisonous. Is that true?
A: Yes, many lily species including the Easter Lily, Stargazer Lily, and Asian Lily are extremely toxic to cats, but not dogs. Any part of the plant, flower, or pollen, is toxic when licked or ingested. Even small ingested amounts can lead to kidney failure. Within a few hours, the cat will start vomiting and become lethargic and anorexic. There are so many causes of vomiting in cats, that a history of ingestion is very important to to institute appropriate, aggressive therapy. This usually involves intravenous fluid therapy and possible oral administration of activated charcoal to absorb the toxins.
The kidney damage can progress to failure within 36-72 hours. Clearly, lilies should not be in a house where cats live.
If you have any questions, you can contact Dr. Lavac at 310-828-4587.
By Dr. Frank Lavac, MS, DVM