Lily Poisoning in Cats

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Lily Poisoning in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Lily Poisoning in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Lily Poisoning?

Lilies may seem like beautiful, fragrant and harmless plants to humans, but when it comes to your family pets they can be extremely poisonous and potentially fatal. Lily poisoning occurs when your cat consumes any part of the lily plant, including flowers, stems, pollen, leaves or the bulb if the plant is left out of ground and exposed. Kittens are particularly prone to lily poisoning given their curious nature and willingness to chew on plants as part of exploring their environments. If you believe your cat is suffering from lily poisoning, or has ingested a lily or lily plant, you should seek immediate veterinary care.

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Lily Poisoning Average Cost

From 587 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$3,000

Symptoms of Lily Poisoning in Cats

Symptoms of lily poisoning will typically develop quickly, within six to twelve hours after your cat has been exposed. Signs to watch for may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive thirst or lack of thirst
  • Excessive urination or lack of urination
  • Disorientation
  • Inability to walk
  • Seizures
  • Ulcerated gums
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Causes of Lily Poisoning in Cats

The exact toxin within lilies that causes poisoning in your cat is unknown. Poisoning occurs when your cat ingests the plant, either through curiosity or the desire to chew or eat the plant. Indoor and outdoor cats are both susceptible as lilies are common household flowers and are particularly popular decorations come spring. Varieties such as peace lilies, Peruvian lilies or calla lilies are of a different species than true lilies. While these plants are still harmful to your cat, they do not generally create life-threatening symptoms. Lilies of the genus Lilium or Hemerocallis are considered true lilies and are potentially fatal if your cat does not obtain immediate veterinary care after exposure. Types of true lilies include:

  • Tiger lilies
  • Day lilies
  • Asiatic hybrid lilies
  • Japanese show lilies
  • Easter lilies
  • Rubrum lilies
  • Stargazer lilies
  • Red lilies
  • Western lilies
  • Wood lilies
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Diagnosis of Lily Poisoning in Cats

Diagnosis of lily poisoning in your cat will begin with a thorough physical exam in your veterinarian’s office. Since it will be difficult for your vet to ascertain the exact type of poisoning from your cat’s symptoms, you should be prepared to describe in detail the approximate onset of symptoms as well as any worsening or improvement of the condition. If you witnessed your cat ingesting or coming into contact with a specific plant, you should carefully bring a small portion of that plant with you to the vet visit so that your vet can more accurately and quickly make a diagnosis. 

Suspected poisoning of any kind in your cat is a serious medical condition and your vet may need to  begin treatment prior to having complete confirmation of the condition. Your vet will obtain a blood and urine sample during your vet visit. These will test kidney function and assess for any damage caused.

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Treatment of Lily Poisoning in Cats

Treatment of lily poisoning in your cat will begin by your vet team stabilizing your pet if they are suffering from any life threatening symptoms. Your cat will be administered medications via the IV route to help reduce nausea and fluids to help promote kidney function. Your cat may be very sick after lily poisoning and will need to be admitted for overnight stay and observation at a minimum.

After your cat is no longer in critical condition, your vet’s staff will work quickly to help eliminate any remaining toxic substances that remain in their stomach. To do this, your vet will induce vomiting in your cat. A thin plastic tube will be placed into your cat’s mouth and down their throat directly into their stomach. This will be uncomfortable but is important to administer life saving treatment. A solution of water with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide may be given, which will induce vomiting in your cat. This procedure should never be performed at home without veterinarian instruction as vomiting may cause a variety of life threatening side effects.

Next, your vet may administer activated charcoal to your cat via the same tube method. Activated charcoal will absorb many toxic substances allowing them to pass harmlessly through your cat’s digestive system. Additional fluids will then be administered and your cat will be closely monitored to ensure healthy vital signs and proper organ function.

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Recovery of Lily Poisoning in Cats

In cases of lily poisoning that are caught early, your cat has a good prognosis of recovery. Some animals may have long or short-term organ damage as a result of poisoning. These conditions may be managed with the use of special medications and regular blood tests at your vet’s office. Unfortunately, lilies are incredibly toxic and some severe cases may result in death. Lily poisoning is a serious condition and your cat’s long-term recovery will depend on how quickly they receive veterinary care. 

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Lily Poisoning Average Cost

From 587 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$3,000

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Lily Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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dog-breed-icon

Tabby cat

dog-age-icon

Two Years

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9 found helpful

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9 found helpful

Has Symptoms

None

She bit a small piece of a peace lily but isn’t showing symptoms should I be more concerned?

July 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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9 Recommendations

Hello, So sorry to hear about your cat. Lillys are toxic to their kidneys. It would be best for your vet to run bloodwork to check your cat's kidney values to make sure that he did not eat to much. You may also notice vomiting and diarrhea. If you see anything off with your cat it would be best to take her to the vet right away. I hope all goes well with your cat.

July 29, 2020

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dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

TabbyCat

dog-age-icon

Three Years

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20 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

20 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Possible Poisoning

My cats sniffed a lily that was outside. I wiped both down immediately after. It happed about 17 hours ago no symptoms.

July 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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20 Recommendations

Hello, Lilly toxicity is only if your cat ate the lily. I would think that your cat would be perfectly fine, especially since you have not noticed any issues in 17+ hours.

July 26, 2020

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Lily Poisoning Average Cost

From 587 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$3,000

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