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Why are lilies extremely toxic to cats?

Lily toxicity in cats is an emergency. If you suspect lily toxicity, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Lilies (Lilium spp and Hemerocallis spp. – common names include Easter, Asiatic, Tiger, Stargazer lilies and Daylilies) contain substances that are extremely toxic to cats.

All parts of the lily plant are toxic, even the water in a vase of cut lilies, and the pollen, which can fall onto the cat’s hair and be ingested via grooming. Ingesting even just small amounts can cause rapidly fatal kidney failure (generally within 36 to 72 hours of ingestion).

Symptoms of lily toxicity in cats include vomiting (may contain bits of lily), and signs associated with kidney failure including disinterest in food, lethargy, and no urination.

The keys to successful treatment are early recognition of lily toxicity, and prompt veterinary management of kidney failure.

Make sure your cat never has access to lilies of any kind, including cut flowers, pot plants, or in garden beds.

For more information, see the resources below.

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Updated on January 25, 2023
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