With spring fast approaching and flowers begin popping up in yards and landscaping, now seemed like a good time to warn you that lilies and cats don't mix.

Spring time brings to mind new life and beautiful colors. For many people the flower bulbs that they planted in their beds and landscaping last spring (or many springs ago) are just starting to think about peaking their heads out of the ground and often those first to bloom in spring include flowers in the lily family.

But you may want to think twice before you snip off any of those blooms and bring them in the house, especially if you have cats. Lilies are often seen in flower beds, landscaping and are very popular in bouquets and arrangements as they are quite beautiful and incredibly fragrant but they can be deadly for our feline friends.

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Flower varieties known as "True Lilies," as well as those known as "Daylilies" are not only toxic to cats but down right deadly. In fact, according to the FDA, every single part of a lily plant, even the water in the vase, can be lethal for a cat.

Lilies in the “true lily” and “daylily” families are very dangerous for cats. The entire lily plant is toxic: the stem, leaves, flowers, pollen, and even the water in a vase. Eating just a small amount of a leaf or flower petal, licking a few pollen grains off its fur while grooming, or drinking the water from the vase can cause your cat to develop fatal kidney failure in less than 3 days.

The FDA does point out that while lethal to cats, lilies do not have the same reaction in their canine counterparts. Dogs may exhibit some stomach upset if they ingest part(s) of a lily but their kidneys are unaffected.

The toxin, which only affects cats, has not been identified. Dogs that eat lilies may have minor stomach upset but they don’t develop kidney failure.


The FDA warns that if you have cats that you avoid bringing lilies into your home. You may even want to avoid planting them outside if there are neighborhood cats. If you are planning to send flowers to a friend or loved one, you may want to request that the florist avoid including lilies in the arrangement. To see the full list of lilies known to cause kidney failure in cats, including their scientific names, visit FDA.gov.


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