Easter Lilies and Your Cat

Easter is just around the corner which means Easter bunnies, chocolate eggs and of course those beautiful fragrant Easter lilies. It’s hard to resist welcoming the signs of spring into our homes but many pet owners are unaware that lilies are extremely toxic to cats.

Cats are curious creatures by nature and are drawn to anything new that enters their home. Cats also love to graze and will try pretty much any new plant. Ingesting even a small amount can make your cat extremely ill; even cause death from acute kidney failure within days if left untreated.


What are the signs and symptoms of lily toxicity?

Lily toxicity primarily affects the kidneys. Early signs can include loss of appetite and vomiting which usually occur within minutes to hours after eating part of the lily plant. Once the toxin has entered the kidneys, cats become lethargic and will experience acute kidney failure. Generally death can occur within 5 days if not caught early enough to treat. If you suspect your cat has eaten part of a lily, seek medical help immediately. Call us at 250.334.8400. Time will make the difference between life and death. If treatment is started early enough, your cat has a chance at survival. However the damage to the kidneys has already been done.


How will my vet diagnose and treat lily toxicity?

Lily toxicity is generally diagnosed based on the symptoms such as acute lethargy, dehydration, vomiting and a history of exposure to the plant. Your veterinarian will also run a blood sample to check the kidney values and access how much damage has been done. Your cat will also need to be hospitalized for several days for IV fluid therapy and in some cases anti-nausea medication is given. Blood tests will also be repeated throughout the process to re-evaluate the kidneys.


How do I prevent my cat form lily toxicity?

The simplest answer if you have cats is not to bring lilies into your home. If you do, make sure they are kept in a separate room that your cat cannot gain access to. Keeping them up on a high surface is not enough. Try choosing a different spring flower to decorate your holiday table or even consider silk flowers. Prevention is key and as always if you suspect your cat has been exposed to lilies; don’t waste any time in seeking advice from your veterinarian


Written by Van Isle Veterinary Hospital