Are Lilies Poisonous to Cats?

Mar 21, 2022 | Cat Health

Considering bringing a lily into your cat-loving home? You may want to think again. Lilies are gorgeous flowers that can bloom from early spring into late summer. They can add an exotic look and a delicious aroma to any home or garden. However, you may be wondering “are lilies poisonous to cats”? The answer is a resounding YES. Your cat will need immediate help if they have ingested any part of a lily.

Are True Lilies Poisonous to Cats?

As a cat lover, have you ever found yourself wondering, “is this lily poisonous to cats”? Lilies are so beautiful and fragrant. We discuss whether it is a good idea to bring a lily into your home when you have cats.

Not every plant that is called a “lily” is a true lily. True lilies grow from bulbs and are of the genus Lilium. Are true lilies poisonous to cats? Yes, they are very poisonous to cats. If any part of the true lily is ingested by your cat, call your veterinarian immediately. That includes the flowers, the stem, the leaves, the pollen, and the water in the vase with the lily.

According to the FDA (source), the following lilies are true lilies and should be kept away from cats:

  • Asiatic Lily (and its hybrids)
  • Easter Lily
  • Tiger Lily
  • Stargazer Lily
  • Japanese Show Lily
  • Oriental Lily
  • Rubrum Lily
  • Wood Lily

While the toxin has not yet been identified, ingestion of even a tiny piece of a lily can cause kidney problems and even kidney failure in cats. If your cat is not treated within 18 hours of ingestion, kidney failure may be irreversible.

What About Other Types of Lilies?

As a cat lover, have you ever found yourself wondering, “is this lily poisonous to cats”? Lilies are so beautiful and fragrant. We discuss whether it is a good idea to bring a lily into your home when you have cats.

True lilies are not the only type of lilies out there. Are other types of lilies poisonous to cats? Yes, all types of lilies are poisonous to cats. This includes:

  • Daylily
    Daylilies can cause kidney problems much like true lilies.
  • Lily-of-the-Valley
    Lily-of-the-Valley contains toxins called cardiac glycosides (source), which can cause heart arrhythmia in cats.
  • Gloriosa (or Flame lily)
    Gloriosa has roots that can cause multi-system organ failure in cats.
  • Peace Lily
    Peace lilies contain calcium oxalate crystals, which don’t dissolve in water. These directly irritate the cat’s mouth, tongue, throat, and esophagus and can cause diarrhea.
  • Calla Lily
    Calla Lilies can cause also contain insoluble oxalate crystals. These cause the same problems as the Peace Lily.
    This is not an exhaustive list of lilies. If you are wondering “is this lily poisonous to cats”? The answer is yes and caution should be exhibited.

Symptoms of Lily Poisoning in Cats

What happens when a cat has ingested a lily? Symptoms may begin right away or could take up to 12 hours to begin. At 12 – 24 hours after ingestion, there may be signs of kidney damage. Within 24 -72 hours after ingestion, kidney failure could occur. Some of the symptoms that you may be able to observe include:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness

Symptoms can vary based on which type of lily was ingested. It is also important to point out that dogs react differently to lilies than cats do. Lilies are much more toxic to cats.

Getting Help For a Poisoned Kitty

As a cat lover, have you ever found yourself wondering, “is this lily poisonous to cats”? Lilies are so beautiful and fragrant. We discuss whether it is a good idea to bring a lily into your home when you have cats.

If you believe that your cat has ingested any part of a lily, including the water the lily is sitting in, call your veterinarian immediately. Alternatively, you can call the Pet Poison Hotline (1-855-764-7661) but be advised that they charge $75 per incident. It is helpful to have a photo of or a piece of the suspected plant.

The earlier that you get your cat in to see the veterinarian the better. There are steps that they can take to help keep your cat from having life-threatening problems. Dialysis may be needed to help save your cat’s kidney function.

Prevention Is The Best Medicine

Don’t take any chances with lilies around your cats. Cats are very curious and can find their way into places where they shouldn’t be. A little bit of chewing or dipping a paw and then licking it could be hard on your wallet and even harder on your heart. There are no inexpensive remedies for helping a cat that has ingested a lily. If you find yourself finding a unique lily and asking yourself “is this lily poisonous to cats”? Know that all lilies are poisonous to cats.
As a cat lover, have you ever found yourself wondering, “is this lily poisonous to cats”? Lilies are so beautiful and fragrant. We discuss whether it is a good idea to bring a lily into your home when you have cats.

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15 Comments

  1. Charles Huss

    If in doubt, keep it out. I bought a mixed bouquet for my wife and the next day Chris became somewhat ill and lethargic. I ended up bringing him to the vet but they couldn’t get a blood sample because Chris was resisting too much. He was sick for several days and I never found out for sure if he ate flowers but now, if I bring flowers home, they are usually just roses.

    Reply
  2. Ellen Pilch

    Excellent post. Best just to avoid having any of them in the home. XO

    Reply
  3. Mary McNeil

    Good reminder ! It can’t be emphasized often enough !

    Reply
  4. Kamira G

    Thank you for sharing this informative and helpful post. I remember when my cat Dusty was living and I was dating my boyfriend( now husband) I had to make sure to put roses up high and out of the way out of her reach. Eventually, we just avoided having real flowers in the house as a preventative measure for my cat’s safety. I had no idea there were so many different types of lilies!

    Reply
  5. Brian Frum

    Great information and that’s why we only have fake flowers here, we take no chances!

    Reply
  6. Sandee

    We have fake flowers here too. Don’t want any babies getting sick or worse.

    Have a fabulous day and week. ♥

    Reply
  7. databbiesotrouttowne

    GUYS !!!!!!!!!! how total lee kewl two sea ewe bak thiz way !! hope all iz well with everee one….. 🙂 ♥

    Reply
  8. Summer

    This is all such important information! My human always keeps a careful eye on any flowers in hospital rooms at this time of year when we go on our therapy cat visits.

    Reply
  9. meowmeowmans

    That’s exactly why we never have them in the house.

    Reply
  10. Michelle & The Paw Pack

    Lilies are poisonous to dogs too! Although, I don’t think dogs react to them as strongly as cats do. It sucks, because they’re such beautiful plants. I avoid keeping them, though, just to be on the safe side.

    Reply
  11. jana rade

    Lily-of-the-Valley is toxic to dogs too. Amazing how such pretty flowers can be so poisonous.

    Reply
  12. Marjorie Dawson

    I schedule my lily post every week because you never know if if a cat lover has not heard or genuinely does not realise that lilies can kill and do so very quickly! The more people share about the danger of lilies the better. You will reach people and you will save lives.

    Reply
  13. Beth

    I wish that florists would ask people if there is a cat in the home when they order bouquets. I received a lovely bouquet this year from my mom, but it had three lilies. I removed those immediately since I have a kitten. (And the bouquet was still gorgeous.) My mom knows that lilies are toxic to cats, but she forgot I have a cat.

    Reply
  14. Terri

    This is very good information. Lilies, while pretty, are very dangerous. Not just to cats, but also dogs, and some humans. I don’t think people are aware of how dangerous lilies can be for our pets or people. My mom was very asthmatic and lilies are horrible for those that have asthma or heart issues. I was always shocked when she was in the hospital and someone would send her flowers, they’d always have lilies in the bouquet. Really, florists and nurseries should be educated as well.

    I’m sharing this will all my pet friends.

    Reply
  15. Dorothy "FiveSibesMom"

    Excellent reminder, especially since many folks get and give Lilies for Easter.They are also very toxic for dogs, too. I always had fake plants with five Huskies and two adopted feral kitties. Definitely Pinning to share!
    PS – Robin, LOVE your profile pic with that cutie cat!

    Reply

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