It’s that time of year again. Every time you walk into a grocery store, you will be met with lilies alone in floral arrangements, lilies mixed in with other cut flowers, lilies as potted plants, and lilies in corsages for Easter. And not a single lily will carry a warning about its toxicity to cats. While these flowers are a traditional symbol of Easter and springtime, they are not safe to have around your home if you have cats. Did you know that all parts of the plant, including the pollen (meaning this plant is so toxic that simple grooming after contact with the plant when the pollen has transferred to the coat), can lead to irreversible kidney failure when ingested by a cat? Early signs of lily toxicity include decreased activity level, drooling, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Cats will then likely go on to develop acute kidney injury and sadly, die without immediate treatment. Therefore, ingesting pollen from a lily, or ingestion of any other part of the plant, requires an immediate visit with your vet or emergency veterinarian. When exposure is caught quickly and veterinary care is begun immediately, steps can be taken to ward off life-threatening problems. Spread the awareness! You may have seen this information before but please continue to share it with people you know and maybe even some you don’t know. Each time we write about lilies and cats, there are always a number of people owned by cats who are unaware of the fact that lilies are incredibly toxic to cats (and cats appear to be the only species know to develop renal failure from lilies.) We treat lily ingestion year round, but see it most often around Easter. Cats needlessly suffer and some lose their lives because too many people simply do not know about the dangers of the lily plant. We can all work together to spread the word and advocate for warning labels to become mandatory on lily plants, or arrangements containing lilies. If this information saves even one cat or kitten, it is definitely worth sharing again, and again, and again. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…when pet emergencies happen, we are honored to be here for you and your pets.
By: Shana D Richardson, PhD