I’ve heard that Easter lilies are toxic to cats. Should I reconsider buying one for my home this Easter, since I have a cat? Are they also toxic to dogs?
Hosting Easter lunch in the Heights
Dear Hosting Easter,
You’ve heard right: Easter lilies pose a real threat to your cat. Since many cats enjoy eating grass and other plants on occasion (science suggests that greens settle an upset stomach), any flower or plant that you bring into your home has the potential to be a feast for your cat. For some plants, this isn’t an issue — aside from the regurgitation of leaves — but when it comes to Easter lilies, this could spell death to your cat.
Small amount can be deadly
Just one bite of a petal, leaves, the stem, or even the pollen of an Easter lily can wreak havoc on your kitty’s digestive system and, if left untreated, can lead to kidney failure and death. And while a common culprit, Easter lilies are not the only type of lily that affects cats. Tiger lilies, rubrum lilies and some species of daylily also are poisonous to our feline friends. Even the water that your Easter lily has been sitting in can pose a hazard if consumed by your kitty.
Symptoms of lily toxicity
The early symptoms of lily toxicity are vomiting, lethargy and lack of appetite.
When it comes to treatment of lily toxicosis in cats, time is of the essence. You will need to seek emergency veterinary care immediately. If treatment is administered within six hours, chances are good that your kitty will survive. After 18-24 hours, however, the prognosis is not as hopeful, even for cats that receive treatment.
Treatment includes emptying the gastrointestinal tract by getting the affected cat to vomit. Veterinarians may also administer activated charcoal to neutralize the toxins. Intravenous fluid treatment is indicated for at least 48 hours in order to prevent or treat renal (kidney) failure. Your kitty will need to be hospitalized and have his or her blood chemistry and urine values closely monitored to determine if treatment has been successful.
Dogs in clear with lilies
As for dogs, Easter lilies don’t pose a risk. Aside from a mild upset stomach if your dog eats too many Easter lilies, these plants don’t pose the same risk as they do for cats. So, if you’re hoping to brighten up your Easter table with flowers that won’t harm your feline friends, consider one of these other beautiful Easter flowers that are safe for your cat: Easter orchids, daisies, violets or Easter Cactus.
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