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Why are lilies extremely toxic to cats?

Article ID: 667
Last updated: 27 Apr, 2016
Revision: 10
Views: 2581

Various plants are toxic and potentially fatal to cats. Check with your veterinarian first before your cats have access to any plants. 

Lilies (Lilium spp and Hemerocallis spp) are extremely toxic to cats and can kill them.

The entire plant is toxic. Ingesting any part of the plant can cause complete kidney failure in 36-72 hours. The toxicity may occur by ingestion of, or by mouthing, very small amounts of lily material. 

Owners should make sure their cats never have access to Lilies of any kind.

Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting (often contains pieces of lily) and,
  • Signs associated with kidney failure including disinterest in food, lethargy, depression and no urination.

If your cat has had access to a lily plant take them to your nearest vet immediately (even if you didn’t see your cat contact the plant or if you just suspect they may have had access to lilies).

The key to successful treatment is early recognition of possible ingestion and veterinary management of the ensuing kidney failure.

There are some excellent resources including Posters and Stickers and more information available here at the Centre for Veterinary Education, The University of Sydney.

Please also see the linked articles below for more information about poisonous plants.


This website provides general information which must not be relied upon or regarded as a substitute for specific professional advice, including veterinary advice. We make no warranties that the website is accurate or suitable for a person's unique circumstances and provide the website on the basis that all persons accessing the website responsibly assess the relevance and accuracy of its content.
Also read
document Where can I find out about plants that might be poisonous for my pets?
document What garden dangers must I protect my pet from?

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