Once a friend of mine jokingly asked “Are lilies toxic to cats?” because her arsehole cat chewed on the flowers someone had given her after a bad day.
I kind of freaked out at her. Dramatic caps locked exclamations freaked out.
LILIES ARE ALL OF THE TOXIC TO CATS.
Her cat is fine. But I promised her I would spread the word a little about the dangers of lilies with a blog post.
Here’s the deal: the whole plant is toxic. Stem, leaves, petals, every little bit. The actual toxin is unknown, and it caused gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) and acute renal failure. This is cats only, not a concern for dogs, and there is a very high mortality associated with ingestion of lilies. We treat symptoms and provide supportive care and cross our fingers and hope for the best.
So what do you do if you so much as suspect your cat has chewed on some part of a lily? Call your vet. There is no home remedy here. Call. Your. Vet.
If your vet happens to be me, this is what will happen: I will tell you that you should come in, we should do blood work to immediately assess kidney health and hospitalize your cat for observation and IV fluids. After a couple days, I would recheck the blood work and with any luck everything is fine and you can bring your cat home. I will be sympathetic to the fact that this plan costs several hundred dollars that you might not have laying around. . . so I will discuss the option of waiting to see if symptoms develop, making sure you understand the BEST option is to be proactive. If you chose to wait and monitor at home, I will advise you that the very first THOUGHT of vomiting, you need to bring that cat in. There is no ifs ands or buts about this: if your cat so much as chewed on any part of a lily and so much as urges, it needs to be seen. You cannot live without your kidneys. If you wait until the cat is definitely super ill it will be too late.
I can’t be over dramatic about this. Lilies and cats are the worst.
Personally, as a cat owner, I just don’t ever have lilies in my house. There are plenty of very pretty, non-cat-killing flowers. Like roses. People can give me all the roses they want. Just saying.