• J. Bowyer, DVM

Did you know... that Lilies are toxic to cats?


I thought I'd start my first vet blog with something that is really, really important. I'm always surprised to find out how many cat owners are unaware of the toxicity of lilies to cats. I will always remember a client from 15 years ago. Her older kitty passed away, and to help cheer her up, she was sent a bouquet of flowers from a caring friend. Unfortunately, the bouquet contained lilies, and her young kitty did what cats do best, and he investigated the flowers. He came to me critically ill, and unfortunately, she ended up losing both her cats in the span of a few days.

Lilies kill cats. ALL parts of the lily plant are poisonous, and it only takes a very small amount to do harm. Even a dusting of pollen or exposure to the water in the vase can be lethal. The toxin affects the kidneys, and like antifreeze, causes acute renal failure (sudden onset of kidney failure). It is not a pleasant way to go. These kitties are vomiting, lethargic, dehydrated and in severe pain.

IF YOUR CAT HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO LILIES OR YOU SUSPECT SO,

CALL YOUR VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY.

The more dangerous, potentially fatal lilies are true lilies of the Lilium or Hemerocallis species. These include tiger, day, Asiatic hybrid, Easter, Japanese Show, rubrum, stargazer, red, Western, and wood lilies. Other types of lilies may cause other types of toxicities.

Check out the website www.noliliesforcats.com. They have some great suggestions on how to keep your cats safe*:

(1.) Talk to your relatives, neighbors, co-workers and friends who have cats and tell them about the dangers of lilies. Refer them to this website. E-mail the link to this website to friends and family. (2.) When ordering flowers for delivery to homes with cats, specifically request that lilies not be included in the arrangement. Most on-line floral delivery services allow for "special requests" to be made. When the arrangement arrives, call the recipient and make sure that lilies have not been included. (3.) Do not bring lilies into your home. If you receive a floral arrangement with lilies in it, throw the lilies away or bring them to a location where there are no cats. Many cats have been poisoned by lilies that the family mistakenly thinks have been put "off limits" within the home. (4.) Remove day lilies from your yard or garden, if there are cats who wander outdoors. (5.) Talk to your local supermarket's floral department manager and area florists and inform them of lily poisonings and cats. (6.) Ask your cat's veterinarian to discuss lily toxicity with each cat client. (7.) Work with your local humane society to increase awareness of this problem. (8.) Talk with the person at your house of worship that handles decorations for the sanctuary and make sure that poisonous lilies are not given to members with cats. (9.) Talk with the local garden store manager and make them aware of the problem day lilies pose to cats. (10.) Know and share the toll-free number to the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center : 1-888-426-4435. The Center is staffed 24/7 by a team of veterinarians and support personnel. There is a $65 consultation fee (payable by credit card) for the use of this service.

*The above suggestions are from www.noliliesforcats.com

Please spread the news and help keep cats and lilies away from each other!


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