We don’t want to discourage anyone from going out and getting a beautiful Easter lily because that is the thing to do right now, but do Easter Lilies and cats mix?
The short answer is no!
Please use EXTREME caution when bringing in flowers, bouquets, and new plants into your cat-friendly household. Easter lilies are extremely poisonous to cats, and just 1-2 leaves (or even the pollen) can kill a cat! Even small ingestions can result in severe kidney failure.
The sources of poisoning? Many plants of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species are very poisoning. Commonly known as the Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter, or Japanese Show lily, these plants result in severe acute kidney failure.
The exact toxin has not been identified, but is known to be water soluble. All parts of the plant – the leaf, pollen, stem, flower are considered poisonous. Kidney damage (specifically, renal tubular necrosis) occurs within 24-72 hours of ingestion.
Signs of poisoning often develop within 6-12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, inappetance, lethargy, and dehydration. Untreated, signs worsen as acute kidney failure develops, and signs of not urinating or urinating too frequently, not drinking or excessive thirst, and inflammation of the pancreas may be seen with lily poisoning. Rarer signs include walking drunk, disorientation, tremors, and even seizures.
Sadly, there is not antidote for lily poisoning. That said, prompt veterinary attention is necessary. The sooner you bring in your cat, the better and more efficiently your veterinarian can treat the poisoning.
What about other types of lilies? Other types of lilies like Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies don’t cause deadly kidney failure, but they also can be mildly poisonous too, as they contain oxalate crystals which result in tissue irritation to the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and esophagus – resulting in minor drooling. If your cat is seen consuming any part of a lily, bring your cat (and the plant) immediately to a veterinarian for medical care.