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Each year , the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center handles more than 100 cases of poisoning when cats ingested a species of lily, including the Easter lily, Tiger lily, Rubrum lily, Japanese show lily and some species of Day lily.
Consuming even a small amount of these plants can be life threatening to a cat. The leaves are particularly toxic, although all parts of the lily plant including the flowers and the stems should be considered dangerous.
Symptoms of Poisoning
Symptoms begin within 30 to 60 minutes of eating any part of the plant. A cat who has eaten any part of a lily will usually:
- Vomit within the hour
- Lose its appetite
- Begin to act depressed or lethargic within 12 hours
Within 48 to 96 hours after consumption, the cat will tend to show signs of clinical kidney failure including:
- Increased Urination
- Severe Depression
- Stomach Upset
Between 50-90% of cats who ingest Easter lilies die from the poisoning
If left untreated, death occurs within 5 days.
If you suspect that your cat has ingested any part of an Easter lily, contact your veterinarian immediately. Without prompt and proper treatment by a veterinarian, the cat may develop irreversible kidney failure within 36 to 72 hours.
The veterinarian will remove any plant from the stomach and gastrointestinal tract and flush the toxins from its system by giving intravenous fluid therapy.
Speed Is Essential!
Time is of the essence.
General supportive therapy, especially giving fluids, has been shown to be very effective if the cat is treated within six hours of ingestion.
It is extremely important that early treatment is given before acute renal failure sets in.
If emergency treatment is started within 6 hours of eating the lily, the chances are good that the cat will recover completely.
If more than 18 hours has elapsed since the cat ingested the plant, the cat may not survive even with the best emergency care.
Easter lilies are popular plants, especially in April. Extra caution must be used when bringing these plants into a house where cats reside.
Make sure the plant is kept away from cats, especially ones that like to nibble on things. If nibbling plants is unavoidable, have a selection of safe plants available to give your cat a healthy option. Grass or catnip are two possibilities.
Lilies to avoid if you have a cat in your home include:
- Easter Lily (Lilium Longiflorum)
- Tiger Lily (Lilium Tigrinum)
- Stargazer Lily (Lilium Orientalis )
- Rubrum Lily (Lilium Speciosum)
- Asiatic Hybrid Lily (Lily Asiatic Delicious & Lily Asiatic Montreaux )
- Japanese Show Lily (Lilium Lancifolium)
- Day Lily (Hemerocallis Species)
The best way to protect your cat is to never bring a Lily plant into your home
Never give an Easter Lily as a gift to anyone who owns a cat
Dogs or laboratory animals such as mice and rats
are reportedly not sensitive to Easter lilies
Safe Easter Plants
Cat owners do not have to forgo all Easter florals. Instead of lilies, consider decorating with Easter orchids, Easter cactus, Easter daisies or violets. Have a happy AND safe Easter!
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