We have had a sad start to the New Year with the death of a kitten who ate Christmas lilies. Despite intensive treatment for kidney failure and neurological signs she didn’t respond.
All species of lilies are toxic to cats. Kittens and indoor cats with little choice in plant munching material are most at risk as they will try any cut flower that comes into the house. Any part of the plant – flowers, leaves or stems – is dangerous. Even lily pollen licked off the coat destroys cats’ kidney tubules.
Lilies proven to poison cats include: Easter Lily, Tiger Lily, Day Lily, Glory Lily, Stargazer Lily, Rubrum Lily, Asian Lily and the Japanese Show Lily.
If you see your cat with lily on her coat, in her mouth or in her vomit don’t wait for signs of poisoning. The sooner we get it out of her system and start treatment to protect the kidneys the greater her chance of survival.
Affected cats vomit and are depressed within hours of ingesting lily. Some then seem to recover before starting to show signs of severe kidney failure a day or so later. Others continue vomiting, go off their food and get more and more depressed.
If emptying the stomach and medications to prevent absorption of the toxin are effective, the chance of recovery is excellent. If your cat absorbs enough toxin to cause damage to her kidneys then her outlook is poor. It is essential to seek emergency care immediately after ingestion of the lily plant.