Are Asiatic Lilies Poisonous to Cats? (Symptoms…)

Yes, Asiatic lilies are poisonous to cats. All parts of the plant, including flowers and leaves, contain a toxin that can cause severe reactions if ingested or even handled by your beloved pet.

These reactions range from mild digestive upset to death in some cases. If you have a cat, it is highly recommended that you avoid keeping Asiatic lilies in your home or garden unless you can guarantee that the pet will not come into contact with them.

Here in this blog post, I’ll discuss the potential dangers that Asiatic lilies possess to cats, as well as provide tips on how you can protect your fur babies from coming into contact with them. I’ll also provide information on symptoms to look for and what to do in case of accidental ingestion or contact.

Different Studies on Asiatic Lilies Poisonous to Cats

Closeup of beautiful pink Asiatic lily (shallow dof)

Asiatic lilies are beautiful flowers that have been used to decorate gardens and homes for centuries. However, recent studies have found that Asiatic lilies are potentially poisonous to cats if ingested.

A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2018 sought to determine the prevalence of Asiatic lily poisoning in cats. The results of the study revealed that out of 50 cats with suspected lily ingestion, 46 were confirmed positive for Asiatic lily poisoning. 

Of these cases, the majority (44) were mild; however, two cats had severe clinical signs and died shortly after ingestion. These findings suggest that Asiatic lilies can cause serious illness or death if ingested by cats. 

In another study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery in 2020, researchers sought to evaluate the effects of Asiatic lily exposure on cats’ kidneys. Their results showed that out of 30 cats with suspected lily poisoning, 20 showed signs of acute kidney injury (AKI). The severity of AKI increased with higher levels of exposure to lilies, suggesting that even short-term contact can be dangerous for cats. 

These findings underscore the importance of keeping Asiatic Lilies away from pets and ensuring they do not have access to them at any time.

Which Part of Asiatic Lilies Most Poisonous to Cats?

All parts of the Asiatic lily, including the leaves, petals, and pollen, contain a toxin called lycorine. This toxin is known to cause digestive upset and other symptoms in cats if ingested or handled.

The highest concentrations of lycorine are found in the plant’s pollen and can be dangerous if ingested. Therefore, it is especially important to keep cats away from these areas of the plant. 

Diagnosis of Asiatic Lily Poisoning in Cats

If you think that your feline has been exposed to, or ingested an Asiatic lily, it is important to note any physical or behavioral changes they may exhibit. Doing so will help clarify if they are suffering from poisoning due to the flower’s toxic components.

1. Behavioral or Physical Diagnosis

This one is a bit tricky, as it may be hard to determine if the symptoms your cat is exhibiting are a result of lily poisoning or something else.

However, if your feline friend has ingested any part of an Asiatic lily, symptoms will start appearing within 1-2 hours after consumption.

Symptoms of Asiatic Lily Poisoning in Cats

The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has identified specific symptoms indicating that your cat may have consumed or been in contact with Asiatic lilies. They are listed as follows:

SymptomsHow to Identify?
VomitingLook for vomit-containing plant material
Drooling and Increased SalivationObserve your cat’s licking and chewing behaviors
DiarrheaCheck your cat’s litter box or area where they typically eliminate waste
LethargyCheck for decreased activity levels, such as sleeping more or not wanting to move
Abdominal PainLook for signs of discomfort, such as panting or restlessness when touched in the abdominal area

2. Medical Diagnosis

Your veterinarian may perform a medical diagnosis for lily poisoning in your cat if they suspect the behavior and physical symptoms are related. Here are some tests they may use:

1. Blood Test (Biochemical Profile)

By examining electrolytes, proteins, and other enzymes in the blood, this test has been proven to detect kidney or liver damage.

In a well-known laboratory study involving Asiatic lilies exposure among cats, it was established that creatinine levels as well as BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and phosphorus increased significantly.

2. Urine Test

The urine test can also be used to detect kidney damage or other toxins in the body of cats, as it will show a change in the urine pH as well as an increase in protein and other substances.

3. X-rays or Ultrasound

X-rays and ultrasounds can also be used to detect any potential damage caused by Asiatic lilies. Signs include accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, swelling or inflammation of certain organs, and/or any potential blockage.

First Aid Treatment for Asiatic Lily Poisoning in Cats

If you suspect that your feline companion has been exposed to, or ingested Asiatic lilies, it is important to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. In the meantime, here are some tips for providing first aid to your pet.

1. Check for Plant Material in the Mouth or Throat

In some cases, cats may ingest plant material or have it stuck in their throat. If you see any plant material, use a pair of tweezers to remove it from the mouth or throat.

Here’s how to do it safely:

  • Wear protective gloves
  • Grasp the plant material with the tweezers and pull gently
  • Be careful not to touch other parts of the mouth or throat
  • Discard the plant material immediately and wash your hands

2. Make Sure Your Cat Can Breathe

If your cat is having trouble breathing, open their mouth and make sure there are no obstructions. If there are, remove them carefully and make sure they keep breathing while you take them to the vet.

Here are some other tips for helping your cat to breathe:

  • Make sure their airways are clear of any foreign material
  • Keep them calm and still
  • Provide fresh air by opening windows or using a fan

3. Give Lots of Fluids

Yes, cats are not great fans of water, but providing them with plenty of fluids can help flush out any toxins from their system. If your cat is not drinking on its own, you can try giving them a small amount of water with a syringe or eye dropper.

In addition to the above actions, here are some additional tips for keeping your pet hydrated:

  • Offer them watery foods such as soups or stews
  • Give them broth or diluted electrolyte solutions
  • Talk to your vet about IV fluids, if necessary

4. Induce Vomiting (if Necessary)

If your cat ingested some lily material, it is important to try and get it out of their system. You can try to induce vomiting at home by giving them a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide mixed with canned food or tuna juice.

However, it is important to note that this should only be done if the ingestion happened less than two hours ago. If it has been longer, contact your vet immediately!

Here are some other things to keep in mind when inducing vomiting:

  • Make sure never to give your cat more than a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide
  • Never use any other type of human medication or household product to induce vomiting
  • Do not use this method if your cat is weak or unresponsive

5. Watch for Vomiting and Diarrhea

Symptoms of lily poisoning in cats can include vomiting and diarrhea. If your cat is experiencing these, it is important to monitor them closely and take them to the vet immediately.

To help reduce the chance of dehydration, here are some tips for dealing with vomiting and diarrhea:

  • Offer them small amounts of food and water
  • Feed frequent, smaller meals rather than one large meal
  • Avoid giving them milk or other dairy products
  • Talk to the vet before giving them any over-the-counter medications or supplements

6. Monitor Seizures and Heart Issues

Asiatic lilies can cause seizures and cardiac arrhythmia in cats. If your cat is showing signs of either of these, monitor them closely and take them to the vet immediately.

Things you can do to help prevent a seizure or cardiac issue include:

  • Keeping their environment quiet and stress-free
  • Providing plenty of rest
  • Avoiding activities that are too strenuous
  • Making sure they have access to fresh water and a nutritious diet

7. Take Them to the Vet Immediately

If you suspect your cat has ingested Asiatic lilies or been exposed to them in any way, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. The quicker you get them help, the better their chances are of making a full recovery. Your vet may decide to administer certain medications or other treatments to counteract the effects of lily poisoning.

Veterinary Treatments for Asiatic Lily Poisoning in Cats

From inducing vomiting to administering medications, there are several treatments your vet may try depending on the severity of your cat’s condition. Here are some of the most common treatments for Asiatic lily poisoning in cats:

1. Administering Activated Charcoal

Yes, this is the same charcoal you might use to cook food with! Activated charcoal can help absorb any toxins present in your cat’s system and reduce their effects.

The charcoal is administered orally, usually in a liquid form. Then, the charcoal binds to any toxins present and helps them pass through your cat’s system.

2. Giving IV Fluids

IV fluids can help flush out any remaining toxins from your cat’s system and rehydrate them at the same time. This treatment is especially helpful for cats that are vomiting and/or suffering from diarrhea.

The vet will insert an IV catheter into your cat’s vein and give them fluids to help flush out any toxins. The fluids can also help restore electrolytes, which are important for keeping your cat’s organs functioning properly.

3. Administering Medications

Depending on your cat’s specific symptoms, the vet may decide to give them certain medications. These can range from anti-nausea and anti-diarrhea medications to sedatives, antibiotics, and more.

Take a look at all the medicine options your vet might prescribe to help treat your cat’s lily poisoning:

MedicinesDosage Purpose
Metoclopramide0.3mg/kg PO TIDControls nausea and vomiting
Famotidine1-2 mg/kg PO BIDPrevents stomach ulcers
Diphenhydramine0.5-1 mg/kg PO BIDReduces inflammation and prevents an allergic reaction
Amikacin5-10 mg/kg IM or SC BIDPrevents bacterial infections
Mannitol2-5 g/kg PO BIDReduces inflammation and helps with electrolyte imbalance

4. Feeding a Bland Diet

Your vet may recommend feeding your cat a bland diet until their lily poisoning symptoms have subsided. This can include boiled chicken and rice, boiled hamburger and rice, or even just plain cooked white rice. This type of diet will help keep your cat’s digestive system running smoothly and reduce any nausea or vomiting.

5. Emergency Surgery

In severe cases, your vet may decide to perform emergency surgery on your cat in order to remove any toxins that are still present in their system. The surgery may involve removing part or all of the cat’s stomach and/or intestines. This is typically only done as a last resort, but it can be necessary in order to save your cat’s life.

Here are some of the most common emergency surgeries performed on cats with Asiatic lily poisoning:

Emergency SurgeryPurpose
Gastric LavageTo flush out the stomach
Gastric DecompressionTo reduce pressure in the stomach
EnterotomyTo remove any toxins present in the intestines
VentriculostomyTo relieve bloating and fluid accumulation in the stomach
Intestinal ResectionTo remove any dead or dying tissue from the intestines

Recovery Stages for Cats with Asiatic Lily Poisoning

Now that you know the different treatments available for cats with Asiatic lily poisoning, it’s time to talk about the recovery stages. Here are the typical steps your cat may go through on their way to recovery:

1. Stage 1 | Initial Symptoms

This is when your cat first starts to show signs of Asiatic lily poisoning. Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and dehydration. If your cat is showing any of these symptoms, it’s important to get them to a vet right away.

2. Stage 2 | Emergency Treatment

This is when your vet will begin administering the necessary treatments to help your cat recover. This usually includes giving intravenous fluids, administering medications, and feeding a bland diet.

3. Stage 3 | Monitoring

Your vet will closely monitor your cat’s progress during this stage to make sure they are responding well to the treatments being administered. They may also perform additional tests to ensure that there are no lingering toxins in your cat’s system.

4. Stage 4 | Recovery

This is the final stage of recovery for cats with Asiatic lily poisoning. During this stage, your vet will gradually start to reduce the amount of medications and treatments being given until they can eventually be stopped altogether. Your cat should also start to regain their energy and appetite during this stage.

It is important to note that recovery times can vary from cat to cat. Some cats may recover within a few days, while others may take several weeks or even months to make a full recovery.

How to Prevent Asiatic Lily Poisoning in Cats?

After hearing about the dangers of Asiatic lilies, you may be wondering how you can protect your cat from this potentially deadly plant. Here are some tips to help keep your cat safe:

1. Keep Your Cat Indoors

My first tip is to keep your cat indoors as much as possible. This will help prevent them from eating any lilies that may be growing in your yard or wandering into a neighbor’s yard where they could be exposed to the plant.

But I know every cat is not a fan of being indoors. So if your cat is an outdoor kitty, make sure they always stay in the yard and never wander off into areas where they could come into contact with lilies.

If you’re wondering how to turn your outdoor-loving kitty into an indoor cat, here are some tips that will help:

  • Provide plenty of toys and activities to keep them entertained.
  • Create multiple hiding spots around the house that they can retreat to when they feel overwhelmed.
  • Install a catio or cat fencing to give them access to the outdoors without sacrificing their safety.

2. Remove Lilies from Your Yard

If my 1st tip didn’t convince you to keep your cat indoors, the next one definitely should. And sorry to say this, but if you have lilies in your yard or garden, you may want to consider removing them.

This will help ensure that your cat doesn’t have access to the plant and can’t eat it by mistake. Even if your cat is an indoor kitty, removing lilies from your yard will help keep other cats in the neighborhood safe as well.

Here are some tips for safely removing lilies from your yard:

  • Use gloves and a face mask to protect yourself from any toxins that may be in the plant.
  • Dig up the plants carefully, making sure to remove all of the roots and bulbs.
  • Dispose of the plants in a sealed plastic bag.

3. Keep Lilies Out of Reach

If you’re like me and don’t want to get rid of your lilies, you can still keep them out of reach from cats. This can be done by placing the plants in an area that is inaccessible to cats, such as a high shelf or enclosed window box.

Here are some other tips to keep lilies out of reach:

  • Keep the plants in a room that your cat doesn’t have access to.
  • Place a cat deterrent around the plants such as citrus peels or vinegar.
  • Put a protective barrier around the plants, such as a mesh fence or a cage.

4. Educate Yourself and Others

Finally, I urge you to educate yourself and others on the dangers of Asiatic lilies. Share this information with friends, family, and neighbors so they can also keep their cats safe. You never know when this information could be the difference between life and death for a cat.

If you’re looking for ways to learn and spread knowledge about Asiatic lilies, here are a few of my favorites:

  • Share this blog post with friends and family.
  • Follow organizations like the ASPCA on social media for updates on pet safety.
  • Attend seminars or workshops about Asiatic lilies at your local vet office.
  • Contact your local animal shelter and see if they need any volunteers or donations to help spread the word.

My Final Thoughts

Asiatic lilies are beautiful plants, but they can be incredibly dangerous to cats if ingested. I hope this post has helped you understand the risks and taught you how to protect your cat from coming into contact with Asiatic lilies.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to pet safety. Keep a close eye on your cat and make sure to follow the tips outlined in this post to ensure your feline friend stays safe.

Good luck!

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