As we hop closer to Easter this spring, it's an excellent reminder to be aware of the danger Easter Lilies can pose for our feline family members. Despite being very beautiful, Easter lilies pose a substantial threat to households with cats and should be avoided! All parts of the lily are toxic to felines, with the flowers themselves being the most potent. However, exposure even to the pollen dust or the water from a vase that the lilies have been in, can be enough to causes toxicity. Ingestion causes acute kidney damage and subsequent kidney failure that is fatal.
Any potential minor exposure your cat may have had, should necessitate a visit to our veterinary hospital for emergency care and supportive treatment. Ingestion of the flowers can potentially cause death within a few hours, however smaller exposures can prove fatal within 3-5 days as kidney function declines. Common symptoms noted may initially be depression or lethargy, hypersalivation, vomiting and not wanting to eat. Progressively we can see changes with water intake and urination, abdominal pain, tremors, and seizures.
As lovely as these flowers can be, our veterinary team does not feel it is worth the risk of potential exposure and to avoid having them in your home if you have a cat. Cats are the only species reported at this time to have kidney toxicity associated with these lilies. Dogs are not at the same risk for Easter Lily toxicity and ingestion by this species typically causes oral and gastrointestinal side effects only.