Jump to section

What is Lily Plant Poisoning?

Ingesting lilies causes renal (kidney) failure in cats. The kidneys may begin to shut down as soon as six hours after the plant is consumed. Eating a portion smaller than one leaf may be enough to cause significant kidney damage. Kittens are especially vulnerable due to both their small size and their heightened curiosity. If left untreated, a cat poisoned by lilies will be dead within three to six days. If you suspect your cat has eaten a lily, immediate veterinary attention is required to save the cat’s life.

Lilies are plants that are very common in both gardens and floral arrangements across North America. The plant generally has a large trumpet flower that comes in a large array of colors. True lilies are from Lilium and Hemerocallis genuses. The entire plant including leaves, flowers, pollen and stem is extremely poisonous to cats. Even if pollen rubs off onto the fur of a cat, the cat may be fatally poisoned by grooming itself. 

Lily Plant Poisoning Average Cost

From 514 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,100

Symptoms of Lily Plant Poisoning in Cats

Within two hours of plant ingestion, your cat may begin to exhibit symptoms. Most symptoms develop from the kidney failure itself. It is imperative that your cat receives treatment as soon as symptoms start to manifest. Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Staggering
  • Disorientation
  • Aversion to food
  • Dehydration
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
  • Anuria (infrequent urination)
  • Pain or distention in the abdomen
  • Racing heart beat
  • Seizures
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Lily Plant Poisoning in Cats

The exact chemical or toxin in the lily that affects cats so negatively is unknown. Studies suggest that the way a cat metabolizes food may contribute to the problem. What is known is that every part of the lily plant is lethal when ingested by a cat. The toxin within the lily is water soluble and causes renal tubular epithelial cells (TECs) to die. These cells are responsible for causing or controlling kidney inflammation.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Lily Plant Poisoning in Cats

If your cat has ingested any part of a lily plant, locate the nearest veterinary clinic or animal hospital and rush your cat to it as soon as possible. Once you arrive, the veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination of the cat. The vet will feel for the presence of enlarged or swollen kidneys. You will be asked about any possible interaction your cat may have had with lily plants. If you witnessed your cat eating a plant before symptoms appeared, but are unsure if the plant was a lily, bring the plant, or a sample of it, with you for the vet to confirm. 

To identify sudden kidney failure by lily ingestion, various tests will be needed. Blood work including a biochemical profile can show increases in blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, phosphorus and potassium, all which point to lily plant poisoning. Urinalysis can establish if casts, glucose, or protein is present, and if the urine is diluted. An ultrasound may be performed to show enlarged kidneys and to see how much damage has already been done. A fine needle aspiration biopsy of the kidney may also be taken for further testing.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Lily Plant Poisoning in Cats

There is no known antidote for lily poisoning. Treatment effectiveness has to do with time passed since ingestion and the amount of kidney damage that has occurred. Starting treatment within six hours provides the best possible prognosis. If over 18 hours has passed since ingestion, there may be no way to save the cat. 

Activated Charcoal 

When ingested into the stomach and digestive tract, activated charcoal can help reduce the amount of toxins that are absorbed into the body.

Medication 

Certain medications may be administered to promote the expelling of plant material and toxins by vomiting. This is most effective when done soon after ingestion has taken place.

Fluid Therapy

Fluid may be supplemented intravenously to help the cat recover from dehydration. Dilution can also help slow down the absorption of toxins into the bloodstream. Blood work will need to be routinely performed throughout the intravenous administration. This is done in the hospital over several days. 

Dialysis 

A small number of veterinary centers may offer dialysis to help clean the blood while the kidneys recover. A machine does the job of the kidneys, removing waste and toxins from the bloodstream. This allows the cat to survive long enough for the kidneys to heal to the point where they can begin to start purifying the blood. The process is extremely expensive and does not guarantee the survival of the cat.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Lily Plant Poisoning in Cats

If lily consumption is noticed and treated quickly, the cat will likely survive. If even one day goes by without treatment, the outcome becomes very dire, with most cats dying of kidney failure within days. Many people are unaware of how deadly these common plants can be to a cat. Share this knowledge with other cat owners to prevent an event of lily poisoning from happening. 

Keep lilies out of your garden if you allow your cat outdoors. As you cannot control your neighbors’ gardens, it may be wise to keep your cat indoors. Remove lilies from floral arrangements that enter the home and keep the phone number of an animal poison control center in an accessible location.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Lily Plant Poisoning Average Cost

From 514 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,100

arrow-up-icon

Top

Lily Plant Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Domestic cat

dog-age-icon

Seven Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None Yet

My cat licked a lily leaf (he didn’t chew any of it, just licked it.) I know lilies are extremely poisonous to cats (im not The one that brought it in the house 😡) What symptoms should I look for? Will he be okay because he just licked the leaf and none of the pollen? Thank you

July 20, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If he genuinely only licked leaf, and didn't chew any of it or get any pollen on him, he should be okay. I would monitor him very closely over the next 48 hours for signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or loss of appetite, and if he shows any of those signs, I would have him seen by a veterinarian immediately. I hope that all goes well for him!

July 20, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Bizzie

dog-breed-icon

dsh

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

My cat chewed on a lily leaf 3 hours ago, but did not eat. She she is eating & drinking well & there is no vomiting or diarrhea. What do I need to watch for? She is acting normal.

June 17, 2018

Bizzie's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

You should keep an eye on Bizzie for any of the symptoms listed on this page, however ingestion of lilies, pollen or the water they stand in may result in kidney failure so it would be advisable to visit your Veterinarian to be on the safe side especially if you have any doubts. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 18, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Inky

dog-breed-icon

long hair

dog-age-icon

13 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Initial Vomiting

My cats ate the leaves of what may have been lilies. They threw up several times, but other than that, have appeared to be back to normal. (They are 13 and 16 years old). It has been more than 48 hours since they ate the leaves and we realized what had happened. If the leaves were from lilies, what would be the benefit of having their kidney values checked now?

Feb. 15, 2018

Inky's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Kidney failure isn’t immediate in these cases but may take a few days to present; you should have their kidney function checked especially if no emergency care was given after ingestion. You should discuss this with your Veterinarian and monitor accordingly. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/lilies/

Feb. 15, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Miley

dog-breed-icon

Unknown

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

My cat ate a lily leaf. We took her to the vet for treatment within a few hours. She's been receiving fluids via IV for over 24 hours. Her blood work has been clear each time they've taken it. The vet wants to keep her for 48 hours total (to the tune of $400 additional hours). Given the clear blood tests, is it fairly safe to bring her home tonight and save a great deal of money?

Feb. 7, 2018

Miley's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Kidney failure due to lily toxicity can occur up to 48 hours after ingestion. We typically do keep them for 48 hours, and recheck at the end of that time frame. It would be best to keep her there, and make sure that she is okay. I hope that all goes well for her.

Feb. 7, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Rocky

dog-breed-icon

Unknown

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Drooling

I bought a lily plant a few weeks ago not knowing that they are toxic to cats.. my brother called me a day or two after i bought it telling me that he noticed the cats had bit into the leaf of the lily plant - none of the leaf has actually been consumed, it just has a bit mark. One of my cats started to drool a little bit the other day, is this something to be concerned about? she has never drooled before so it is unlike her and i believe strange if she hasnt been effected but all the posts i have read, have advised their animals have eaten or properly consumed part of the plant. Any help or advice would be great!

dog-name-icon

Jacob

dog-breed-icon

Domestic shorthair

dog-age-icon

8 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

No Symptoms

My boyfriend bought me a beautiful bouquet filled with lilies! Today I noticed that one of them had bloomed at that there was a tooth mark puncture in the leaf. None of the actual leaf was missing. Jacob usually doesn’t eat a lot anyways, and he has a history of throwing up due to previous injuries (attacked by a dog). I’m not sure if I should take him to the vet because the leaf is almost fully intact, with a minor puncture from where his tooth obviously went through. So far he hasn’t shown any of the symptoms listed.

dog-name-icon

Roxy

dog-breed-icon

Russian Blue mix

dog-age-icon

8 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

My husband brought me home a bouquet of gorgeous Lily’s on Valentine’s Day yesterday. Our cat ate 2 leaves and we watched her do it, but didn’t think anything of it. I started reading and that’s when I felt my heart drop. We immediately took her to the vet based off of what I was reading (the entire plant is extremely toxic to cats and results in death if not handled in a timely manor). They tried to get her to throw up but didn’t happen. They are keeping her for 48 hours and gave her activated charcoal within 4 hours of ingestion and started IV fluids. Also, they have to take bloodwork 3 times a day to monitor her kidneys. I am heartbroken and hope my fur baby will be ok without any permanate damage. The thought of losing her, I can’t stop tearing up. What are the chances we could lose her or she could have permemant damage?

dog-name-icon

Ronnie

dog-breed-icon

grey tabby

dog-age-icon

4 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

My kitten Ronnie has possibly ingested part of a small lily. He’s was sick a fair few times yesterday and has been off his food, I’ve took him to the vets this morning and they’ve got him hooked up to fluids, his blood tests have come back ok, but he’s going to stay in a few days I think. I’m hoping I’ve got him to the vets in enough time that he’ll be ok, he looked so sad.

dog-name-icon

Finley

dog-breed-icon

Ragdoll

dog-age-icon

6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

My 6 month old cat ingested about 1/3 of a orange Lilly. About an hour later he vomited up stomach fluid as well as chunks of the flower petals. I took him into the emergency vet where they want me to keep him on IV fluids 24/7 for 4 nights. Since the vet I took him to isn’t 24 hour they have me transporting him back and forth between two animals hospitals every morning and night so he can be monitored 24/7 with his fluids. He has been urinating and also ate some food and he has only been in for about 16 hours. Is it necessary to keep him in for two additional days? The treatment is extremely costly especially with paying two different animal hospitals.

Lily Plant Poisoning Average Cost

From 514 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,100