Lilies make beautiful cut flowers and have become really popular in our homes over the past few years. But cat owners beware, these plants are highly poisonous and can kill your cat!
This lesson was cruelly brought home to us all at our clinic not long ago when a gorgeous cat belonging to a young couple died after eating part of the lily flower. Milly was only 9 months old and had been adopted from our clinic by the couple, so we were all pretty attached to her. Her owner had been given a mixed posy of flowers for her birthday. Milly, being a young adventurous cat, ate some of the posy and vomited up a small amount of the lily but no-one realised that it was toxic. Within two days she started to act strangely and vomit.
Of course, Milly was brought straight in to be examined and treated but she had already developed irreversible kidney failure and, despite being treated intensively for 2 days, had to be euthanaised. Her owners were distraught at losing such a wonderful pet in such a traumatic fashion.
This is not an isolated incident. Every year throughout Australia and the rest of the world cats get very sick or die from ingesting lilies. The lilies pictured above are just a small sample of many lilies that are poisonous. Your cat only needs to eat just a couple of leaves or gets some pollen on its coat which it then grooms off, to get enough of the toxin to kill it. Treatment can be effective if started really early and intensively but cats can still die despite the best of care.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!! DO NOT KEEP LILIES IN OR AROUND YOUR HOME!
If your cat stays indoors, they are even more likely to explore a new flower arrangement so remove any lilies from your posies and clean up the pollen afterwards.
IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR CAT HAS INGESTED SOME LILY:
1. Take it straight to your vet, so that vomiting can be induced to get rid of the plant toxin before it has been absorbed.
SIGNS OF LILY POISONING:
1. Vomiting, not eating, lethargy – it can start within an hour or two after eating the lily part.
2. Increased drinking, possible dehydration then starts. The vomiting may stop but the cat will still be quiet.
3. Collapse, signs of pain, vomiting may return, drinking may stop.
This is an emergency situation and, if you notice any of these signs, and your cat had possible access to lilies then please take it straight to a vet.