🐱 Easter lilies can kill cats

🐱 Eating less than one leaf can cause kidney failure within hours of ingestion

🐱 Look for the signs and get the cat immediately to a vet for a course of treatment

With Easter quickly approaching, you may be thinking of filling the house with flowers or presenting a spring floral piece as a hostess gift.

Whatever you decide, be sure not to have Easter lilies, or any lilies for that matter in the floral bouquet if cats are present in the home.

What is the danger?

Lilies can kill cats, said Dr. Samantha Mammen, medical director at the Monmouth County SPCA in Eatontown. It's that simple.

Eating less than just one leaf of the flower can cause kidney failure in cats within 6 to 12 hours of ingestion, she said. It happens very quick. It’s not just Easter lilies. Any species of lilies like Tiger lilies, and Japanese lilies are lethal for our feline friends.

“It causes severe, acute kidney failure very fast and there is no antidote for it, which means there is no medication or injection or anti-venom that can be given to correct it,” Mammen said.

However, this does not automatically mean a death sentence for a cat. She said veterinarians can try aggressive fluid therapy and aggressive hospitalization to combat acute renal and kidney failure. The best chance of saving a cat from lily poisoning is to seek treatment within 12 to 24 hours of infection.

white funeral flowers

What are the signs of lily poisoning in cats?

Mammen said the early signs that a cat may have ingested a lily leaf include lethargy, vomiting, inappetence (refusal to eat), and dehydration.

As the disease progresses, you’ll see clinical signs of drinking a lot, urinating a lot, disorientation, abdominal pain, tremors, and seizures.

There is no home remedy to try before getting the cat to a vet that would make a difference, Mammen said.

The animal must be taken to a vet or an emergency animal clinic immediately for there to be any hope of saving its life.

"We need to start coating the stomach with things like activated charcoal. We need to start some decontamination efforts. We need to get them on IV fluids. We need to get blood work running. That's very, very important," Mammen said.

All parts of the lily plant are toxic to cats, she said. Even if a cat doesn’t eat the leaves, just grooming the pollen from the flower off a cat’s fur can lead to poisoning, as well.

Mammen said it’s best to not have any lilies of any kind in the home where cats reside, to be safe.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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