Don’t gild the lily in a house of cats

Don’t gild the lily in a house of cats

by Kate Thompson

Who knew?  Lilies of all kinds are highly toxic to cats. Ingesting a small amount can cause kidney failure in our feline friends within two to three days. There’s enough grief going around with the pandemic, why impose more.

Arriving for lunch recently at a veterinarian’s home with itty bitty chocolates, sunflowers and some great big, beautiful, fragrant lilies didn’t go over quite the way I had expected.

One look at the lilies and it was: “Thank you for the beautiful flowers but can you take them out of the house? Lilies are horribly toxic to cats.”

Two cats reside in this particular household alongside one large and growing gangly shepherd cross.  While dogs are also susceptible to some types of lilies, it’s cats that fare worst.

The lilies were packed off to the car.

As a former cat owner I was stunned, how did I not know this?  Lilies are so common; and renal issues in cats are common.  Oooh boy.

Lilies are blooming all over the city, big, bright, fragrant toxic lilies.  The actual toxin has not yet been identified according the US Food and Drug Administration, but just drinking water from a vase of lilies can do irreparable damage to your cat.

Interestingly, I have never heard a florist mention a danger to animals when lilies are now common to so many arrangements and bouquets. If you or your friends have cats, simply stay away from them.

The list of symptoms cats can suffer includes drooling, vomiting, and a loss of appetite. By the time increased urination and dehydration are setting in the damage may be irreparable.

One commercial veterinary site includes pictures of the worst offenders if you aren’t sure of your lilies.

Even species that aren’t true lilies can be dangerous. Lily-of-the-Valley and so-called Flame Lilies or gloriosa will make both cats and dogs sick. Some of these so-called lilies can “burn” the mouth and cause swelling in the throat, others cause stomach upset and diarrhea.

Let’s keep our feline friends happy and healthy.  Lilies are beautiful – in photography and needlework.

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