Dangerous beauty: keeping cats clear of Easter lilies

Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Apr 05 2012

The Easter lily is a beautiful flowering plant, and has long been associated with the arrival of spring (and more specifically, the Easter holiday). It originally comes from Japan and is meant to bloom in the summer, but has been tricked to bloom just in time for Easter by crafty florists.

While it is a beautiful and fragrant harbinger of springtime, if you have cats in your house, the Easter Lily is best enjoyed elsewhere. Like all lilies, this one is toxic and potentially deadly to cats. Both the leaves and flowers contain toxins, and even the pollen can pose problems.

Lilies cause acute kidney failure in cats. Clinical signs include vomiting, lethargy, decreased appetite, and increased water intake coupled with increased urination. These symptoms tend to worsen over time as the kidney disease progresses.

If you suspect your cat has ingested Easter lilies (or any lily – even those from the yard), contact your veterinarian immediately. If you catch it quickly, your veterinarian can induce vomiting to hopefully bring up most of the deadly plant and lessen the severity of the problem.

If your pet has progressed to acute kidney failure, though, expect her to be hospitalized for several days. During this time, you can ring up quite a bill as well, so having your pet protected by Petplan pet insurance can help manage the costs. Blood tests will be used to monitor kidney function, and intravenous fluids will be used to hydrate your cat and flush out the toxins from her system. In addition, other medications may be given to help with your pet’s nausea and other symptoms.

Acute kidney failure can resolve with medical intervention, but sometimes the kidneys are so damaged that some degree of chronic kidney insufficiency persists. So this spring, keep the lilies out of your house – you don’t want to have to rely on an Easter miracle to save your favorite furry friend!