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Lily Poisoning in Cats

Do you mean the plant like the Christmas lily?
Yes. Many of the lily species are toxic if eaten by cats

Which parts are poisonous and would a cat eat them?
All parts of the plant are poisonous. Cats are inquisitive and will nibble on plants out of curiosity.

How much do they need to eat to get into trouble?
A surprisingly small amount. They only need to eat part of one leaf to be poisoned. There are also reports of a cat that was poisoned simply by brushing against a plant and licking the pollen off. Even drinking the water from a vase of lilies is thought to be a risk.

What are the symptoms?
Initially vomiting depression and loss of appetite. After a few hours they appear to recover  but unfortunately the toxin also damages the kidneys.  1-3 days later the cat goes into kidney failure and they will usually die within 5 days.

Is there any treatment?
If they are put on intravenous fluids within 6 hours of eating the lily then they do have a small chance of survival. Unfortunately there is no specific treatment.

How can you diagnose lily poisoning?
There is no way to diagnose it unless the owner notices the cat has nibbled some of the plant. We can run tests for kidney failure but there is no specific test for the toxin.

So what can owners do?
Prevention is always the best approach so I would advise cat owners to remove all lilys from their house and garden if the cat has access to them. Also if your cat shows signs of vomiting and lethargy you should take them to the vet for a check up. If you see your cat eat part of a lily you need to get them to the vet straight away.

Are lilys poisonous for dogs too?
No. Cats seem to be unique with this sensitivity. Cats livers metabolise things differently to dogs and there are certain substances they cant cope with. Paracetamol for instance is deadly to cats as it damages the liver.