Cat World > Cat Health > Lily Poisoning In Cats

Lily Poisoning In Cats

These  flowers are now very popular in floral arrangements but while we may admire their beauty, they are deadly to cats. Cat owners need to be aware that having these flowers in your home can prove fatal. Lily poisoning causes acute kidney failure and if you suspect your cat has eaten any, prompt veterinary attention is of utmost importance.

There are several species of lily which can be poisonous to cats, including:

Tiger Lily - Lilium Lancifolium syn. (Lilium Tigrinum) Easter Lily - Lilium Longiflorum  
Common name Scientific name
Tiger lily Lilium Lancifolium syn. (Lilium Tigrinum)
Rubrum lily Lilium Speciosum
Asian lily Lilium Asiatica
Stargazer lily Lilium Orientalis
Easter lily Lilium Longiflorum

Any part of the plant is poisonous and only a tiny amount (less than one leaf) needs to be eaten to cause poisoning.

What are the symptoms of lily poisoning in cats?

The first signs of lily poisoning occur 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingestion and include  vomiting, depression and loss of appetite.

Vomiting usually subsides a few hours after exposure but this doesn't mean your cat is making a recovery. As the toxin starts to affect the kidneys depression, excessive thirst (polydipsia) and lethargy will occur.  Acute renal failure usually occurs between 1 - 3 days after ingestion, and death will follow within 5 days.

How is lily poisoning diagnosed?

Your veterinarian will require information on your cat's history, including any possible exposure to poisons  it may have ingested. He will perform a complete physical examination of your cat.

He will want to run several tests to determine the condition of the kidneys, which may include:

  • Biochemical profile will be taken for testing. Elevated blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine are both indicative of renal failure.

  • Urinalysis will be able to provide additional information on the extent of kidney damage and urine-concentrating ability.

  • Kidney biopsy.

How is lily poisoning treated?

Prompt medical treatment is absolutely vital, the sooner your cat sees a vet, the better. Even with veterinary attention there is no guarantee that your cat will survive, but the chances greatly decrease if treatment isn't commenced within 6 hours of exposure.

Treatment is supportive and includes intravenous fluid therapy.

Also see:

Poisoning in cats   Plants poisonous to cats