Lily plants can be poisonous to cats. According to Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, veterinary toxicologist at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, all parts of these lilies are toxic to cats and can be life threatening if not treated right away. Lilies do not seem to be toxic to other pets. Symptoms of lily poisoning in cats are vomiting, lethargy and lack of appetite. The poisoning can cause acute kidney failure within 36 to 72 hours of ingestion. It is best to remove the lilies from the cat's environment and find a safer alternative like Easter cactus or Easter orchids.
Easter lily or Lilium longiflorum originates in Japan. It grows 12 to 36 inches tall. It has 6-inch long leaves scattered around the stem and white trumpet-shaped flowers with two to six blossoms. Easter lilies bloom in the early spring. This popular holiday lily can be toxic to felines.
Tiger lily or Lilium tigrinum is an old-fashioned species. In the summer it has orange blossoms; the petals are covered with dark brown dots and bend backwards. Shiny black bulbils nestle in the joint where the leaf meets the stem. Bulbils can be harvested and sown for lilies next year. Tiger lilies can make a common flower bed hazardous to nibbling cats.
Japanese Show Lilies
Japanese show lily or Lilium lancifolium has lance shaped leaves. This perennial lily grows 3 to 6 feet tall with hairy stems. This lily has 4-inch orange flowers with backward bending petals that are dotted with purple spots. These bloom in the summer along roadsides and in yards. Japanese show lilies can poison unsuspecting cats.
Rubrum lily or Lilium speciosum is 3 to 5 feet tall with a purplish stem and red trumpet flowers. The petal tips are bent backwards. Rubrum lilies bloom in late summer to early fall. They are highly toxic to cats.
Daylilies or Hemerocallis species range between 6 to 36 inches tall. Blossoms come in a variety of colors and are trumpet shaped with tips that bend backward. They have long green leaves and bloom from July to August. These are the most common lily in home gardens and the flower buds are edible to humans. Cats can not eat these lilies since they are toxic to them.
Keep these lilies out of the cat's environment. Do not bring these lilies indoors if your cat is a house pet. Keep cats indoors if lilies are growing in the garden. Discourage cats from nibbling any plant belonging to the lily family since they can cause stomach upset in felines.
If you think your cat has eaten a lily plant, check the plant for chewed pieces. Take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment. Immediate treatment is required to prevent kidney damage and death.