Why Are Lilies Dangerous to Cats?

cat licks lilies

There are various types of plants and flowers that are considered to be toxic to cats. 

If you are going to let your cat roam around outside, it is important that you get this information. You don’t want your feline friend accidentally ingesting something that is potentially fatal.

There Are Different Types of Lilies

It is important to keep in mind that there are different types of lilies. Some of these flowers are more toxic than others to your kitty.

Some of the lilies that pose the most threat to cats include:

  • Daylily (Lilium asiaticum)
  • Oriental lily (Lilium orientalis)
  • Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum)
  • Asiatic lily (Lilium asiaticum)
  • Stargazer lily (Lilium Stargazer)
  • Japanese Show lily (Lilium speciosum)
  • Wood lily (Lilium philadelphicum or umbellatum)
  • Tiger lily (Lilium tigrinum)

It is crucial that you keep your cat away from any of these lilies, as they all pose a serious threat to their overall health.

Symptoms to Look for

You will also need to know which symptoms to look for when it comes to a toxic reaction from eating lilies in your cat.

Some of the symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of appetite

You’ll need to make sure that your cat receives immediate medical attention if you notice any of these symptoms. It doesn’t take long for the toxic effects of the lily to shut down a cat’s entire system.

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red kitten and lilies e1584773245185

Dangers of Lily Poisoning

There are lots of different negative effects of lily poisoning that can threaten your cat’s health in a big way. It doesn’t take much of this plant to cause kidney damage or even complete failure. It can also cause severe dehydration, which can also be a big problem.

There are ways of reversing kidney damaged brought on by lily poisoning, but you have to act quickly. The more time that goes by from when your cat eats this plant, the less likely it is that they will make a full recovery.

The fact is that nobody is really sure what exactly in lilies is so toxic to cats. It is, however, known that every part of the lily poses a threat to these animals. This includes the stems, leaves, flowers, and pollen.

Treating Lily Poisoning

When you take your cat to the vet after it has ingested a lily, they will likely administer activated charcoal. This will help with reducing the toxic effects of the flower on your pet. They’ll also likely want to give your cat IV fluids to treat their dehydration.

It might be necessary to leave your cat at the veterinary clinic for 24 hours so they can be monitored closely. The sooner you induce vomiting in your cat after it eats lilies, the better off they are going to be. 

The first thing you should do is to call your vet to see if they recommend this. You will be able to induce vomiting with some hydrogen peroxide. While it is not the most pleasant thing ever, it could save your cat’s life.

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You can also call the Pet Poison Helpline or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Both of these organizations can provide you with the helpful information in this emergency situation. It is a good idea to have these numbers stuck to your refrigerator just in case. This way you won’t have to frantically search for the number you need.

You will also need to make a point of monitoring your cat’s condition carefully for the next 72 hours. It can take up to three days for kidney damage to become apparent. You should do this even if you take them to the vet for treatment.

kitten and flowers

What Amount of Lily Is Toxic to Cats?

It only takes a couple of leaves from a lily plant to produce a toxic effect in your cat. Younger cats may be in danger after eating only part of a leaf. If enough of the pollen that is produced by this plant gets on your cat’s skin, it can cause serious problems.

If your cat walks through lilies when wandering around outside, you’ll need to make sure that you give them a bath and thorough brushing right away. You need to remove all traces of the pollen from your cat’s coat. This will help with minimizing the toxic effects of this plant.

How to Prevent Lily Poisoning with Your Cat

If you let your cat outside sometimes, make sure there aren’t any lilies in the area. If you have these flowers on your own property, you’ll want to dig them up right away. Make sure that you are very thorough so no trace of them is left behind.

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You may want to consider taking your cat outside on a leash if there are lilies nearby on someone else’s property or public property. This will allow you to control your cat so that it cannot get near any of this toxic flora.

You should also make sure that there are no lilies whatsoever inside of your home. This is imperative when it comes to keeping your kitty safe inside.


  • Lilies are inherently toxic to cats, but nobody is really sure exactly why.
  • All parts of the lily are poisonous to cats, including the stems, leaves, pollen, and flowers.
  • If your cat has walked through any lilies, you’ll need to give them a bath and thorough brushing immediately.
  • Even a small amount of lily pollen on your cat’s skin can cause a toxic reaction.
  • The average adult cat only needs to ingest a couple of lily leaves to be in immediate danger of kidney damage and other things.
  • Make sure that you remove any lilies from inside and around your home.
  • If you normally let your cat outside, make sure there are no lilies within the area.
  • You might want to keep your cat on a leash when you take it outside.
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