Thursday, March 24, 2016

The plant that is actively trying to kill your cat.



There are a lot of plants that are toxic to cats, but none is more so than the lily.

You hear warnings about mistletoe and poinsettias around Christmas, you hear warnings about daffodils and even peonies in the spring.  When you see an image on the internet of a cat with any sort of plant that is on the toxic list, you inevitably get someone piping up warning you that plant is toxic.

Generally, that toxicity means they have to eat a majority of the plant, and then they'll get some mild to moderate GI distress. It is by no means something you want to happen, but generally, the fears are quite overblown.

This is not true with the Lily.

The lily is the one plant where the fear mongering is actually quite warranted.  Every little thing about this plant is deadly to a cat (and a dog) and can kill your cat fairly quickly. Even with quick medical intervention a cat can still be at serious risk of death, and most cat owners have absolutely no idea.

This is one plant that you really should fear. This is one plant where you should speak up if you see it in the home of a cat lover as it can kill within hours.

Why do I make the pronouncement that the lily is actively trying to kill your cat? 

Because every single thing about it is deadly.  If your cat chews on the leaves. If your cat knocks over a vase of flowers and licks the water (or walks through it and then cleans the water off its paws). And then there is the pollen.


Most florists will pull the pollen stamens off a lily plant when they put it in a floral arrangement, but they can't pull them off the closed buds. The reason they do this is because this pollen is very sticky and it stains, and there is a lot of it.  As the plant goes through its cycle, the pollen naturally wants to fall off the stamen and spread itself in hopes of pollinating something.  So even if your cat doesn't eat your flowers, and even if it doesn't knock your plants over, your cat is still at serious risk if you bring lilies into your home. Cats just walking by lilies can die.

Sadly, most people do not know this and the giving and sending of flowers is a very popular way to celebrate, or sympathize, with a loved one. Florists appear not to be aware of this danger and since lilies are a wonderful statement flower that adds a lot of scent and pop to a bouquet they are quite favored in bouquets. I actually received a bouquet with lilies in it after specifically asking that there not be any added.

Because lilies are so toxic to cats and dogs, it would be so nice if the lily came with a warning label. Stores that sell them should put up a sign that says keep away from pets. Florists and websites that sell flowers should ask if these are being sent to a household with pets. Something. Anything.


Please, never be afraid of overreacting to seeing lilies in a pet lover's home. This is something that we need to take quite seriously.


Now, it should be said there are three very common forms of 'lily' that aren't toxic to cats or dogs, and those are the Peace, the Peruvian and the Cala lily, but if you are ever in doubt, err on the side of caution. Take the plant and the pet directly to the vet. The longer you wait, the lower your chances of survival.


17 comments:

  1. That is actually one of my human's biggest worries for me as a therapy cat - humans are always giving sick humans flower and she does not want me near any of them (roses and daisies excepted), lilies extra especially! She probably would not even let me go into a patient's room with lilies in it. She is VERY cautious.

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  2. Thank you for the reminder! Our mom won't have any flowers or plants in the house, even if she knows they aren't toxic to us because she worries we will eat them.

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  3. The head peep's favorite flower is a stargazer lily, but she gave them up for us. It's too dangerous to risk otherwise!

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  4. We didn't know that lilies were quite this bad, but Mom refuses to have any live plants or flowers at home. Just in case.

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  5. We don't really allow many flowers into our house. . except things like roses.

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  6. When my father passed away, the office sent a lovely basket full of plants...which I promptly gave away because I knew some were dangerous to kitties, and any plant that I wasn't sure of...I got rid of it too! We are very aware of the dangers of plant poisoning, and will help spread the word about lilies. Good post!

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  7. Great post! Our vet office has a prominent sign in the waiting area about lilies. And I agree, they should come with a warning.

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  8. Great post! Our vet office has a prominent sign in the waiting area about lilies. And I agree, they should come with a warning.

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  9. Great post ! That's a lot of useful information about lilies. Purrs

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  10. Lilies are such pretty flowers, it's a shame they are poison for kitties. Mommy loves Lilies, but she loves us more.

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  11. Thanks for reminding everybuddy about the dangers of lilies. There are no lilies in our house.

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  12. This is specifically why I asked for no flowers at my dad's funeral. We still got lilies! I gave them to family members with no pets.

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  13. I knew they were toxic, but I had no idea how awful they can be. I will spread the word.

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  14. I found out the hard way many years ago. I had taken my cat, Daisy with me to my parent's for Easter. Daisy found their lily and ate it. Luckily, at that point in time their small town had a vet and she was able to see us immediately. Daisy survived even though she had extreme irritation of her esophagus. She was able to fully recover but we were very lucky!

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  15. Thank you for posting this information. Mom saw 4 kitties at the hospital she works for this week with Easter Lilly poisoning. It's very sad. We try to inform everyone about killer plants/flowers to animals. Please, everyone help in sharing this information. Purrs

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  16. This is such an important post and needs to be shared. A LOT.

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  17. thanks for sharing this. I didn't know!

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