-Angela Hick-Ewing, RVT – St. Albert Animal Clinic
Lilies and cats should never meet. All parts of the plant are extremely toxic to cats. Even nibbling 1 leaf or grooming off pollen from a paw can be lethal.
Clinical effects of lily toxicosis appear to follow a pattern of vomiting, anorexia, and depression within 2 to 6 hours of ingestion. Vomiting may cease within 6 to 12 hours, then recur anywhere from 24 to 72 hours after ingestion. Some cases symptoms of head pressing, disorientation, ataxia, facial and paw edema, dyspnea, and seizures have also been noted.
Damage to the kidneys becomes clinical within 12 hours of exposure. Owners may see increased urination (polyuria); but changes have already occurred to show problems on blood chemistry and urinalysis.
Treatment is aimed at preventing absorption of the plant as we do not know the toxic principles of the plants. Where recent ingestion has occurred (less than 4 hours), vomiting maybe induced by your veterinarian and activated charcoal used to prevent further absorption. If exposure was more than 12 hours’ immediate supportive care is needed, and after the 18-hour mark prognosis maybe poor for your cat.
Given the severity of the toxic effects of lilies in cats it is best to not have anything from the lily family in the house. Gardeners watch what garden debris you may be bringing in with you. Keep your cats safe in your yard or a cat run to prevent accidental exposure; if your kitty needs his fresh air enrichment.
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Easter lily Lilium longiflorum
Tiger lily Lilium tigrinum
Rubrum Lilium speciosum
Japanese show lily Lilium lancifolium
Stargazer lily Lilium oreintalis
Daylily Hemerocallis species
If you suspect your cat has been exposed to lily, the earlier you get your cat to the vet the better your kitty has as a chance for survival.