Easter Lilies Can Harm Cats

As Easter approaches, the ASPCA warns cat owners about the potential dangers of popular lilies.

Posted: March 12 2008 2 a.m. EDT

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Easter Lilies Can Harm Cats
Several lily varieties are known to cause kidney failure in cats.
Easter comes early this year, on March 23, and the popular Easter lily is beginning to appear in markets. The ASPCA reminds cat owners that the popular plants can harm their feline friends, and urges them to substitute safe flower varieties in their springtime decorations, such as Easter orchids, daisies, roses and violets.

“All lilies belonging to the plant genus Lilium are considered highly toxic to cats,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, director of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, adding that certain species of the daylily genus Hemerocallis can also be toxic to cats. “The consumption of small amounts can produce a life-threatening situation.”

Common lily varieties that pose dangers to cats include:

  • Easter Lily
  • Tiger Lily
  • Rubrum Lily
  • Japanese Show Lily
  • Daylily (certain species)

Symptoms cats show after ingesting these plants can include vomiting, lethargy and lack of appetite. A cat may develop kidney failure within 36 to 72 hours of ingestion if not treated promptly.

“Time is of the essence for treatment,” said Dr. Louise Murray, director of medicine at the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. “If an owner suspects that his or her cat may have ingested any part of a lily, he or she should seek medical care immediately.”

For more information about toxic flowers and what to do if a pet ingests such plants, visit the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center website or call 888-426-4435.

For more Easter safety tips for cats, click here.

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Reader Comments

S    Knoxville, TN

6/12/2009 3:55:29 AM

Well an 800 emergency vet bill later my 2 cats seem to be ok. Still have to take them to my regular vet for bloodwork. These things should come with a toxic warning sticker on them!

Worried Mother    Nesquehoning, PA

5/11/2008 6:14:08 PM

I wish more people would have read this article, especially my son. He brought me a Stargazer lily plant for Mother's Day today when I notice some of the leaves on the plant were ragged. He explained his cats were chewing on them. I told him about them being toxic to cats & we quickly called animal poison control & he immediately took them to an Emergency Vet. They took bloodwork, are flushing their kidneys and will do more bloodwork again in the morning. He didn't know the beautiful plant was poisionous to cats. We are praying they will be ok. The emergency vet bills will be close to $2000. We don't mind as long as the cats are doing well. No more plants or flowers for us. Say a prayer for their recovery.

Heather    Enid, OK

3/23/2008 1:43:12 PM

I didn't know this!

Laurie    Erie,, PA

3/23/2008 1:38:50 PM

I'm going to get a list of toxic plants and keep it handy...I always ask when I bring a plant into the house...Usually as a gift, but alot of sellers do not know this info about the plant. Thanks

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