Cats Protection Inverurie
Lilies Fatal to Cats

Cat owners warned of lily's fatal touch
A NATIONWIDE warning has been issued to pet owners about the dangers of lilies after a bunch of flowers caused the horrific death of a family cat.

The 13-year-old Siamese called Catalina died after brushing against the pollen-laden stamens of oriental stargazer lilies and then cleaning itself.

Within minutes of licking the pollen from its fur, the cat began to vomit, and died just a few hours later, after going blind, suffering renal failure and becoming virtually paralysed.

Stargazer lily

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the incidence of such cases is on the increase, and it is now lobbying florists selling lily varieties to put warning labels on the packaging to alert cat owners.

A spokesman for the organisation said: "All lilies are poisonous to cats, with just one leaf eaten possibly leading to death. We will now be urging both manufacturers and producers to issue warnings on their goods so that consumers have an informed choice."

The tiger lily (Lilium tigrinum)

The RSPCA is also hoping to work with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ poisons department to produce a factsheet on the issue.

The cat’s owner, Josh Hartnett, from Folkstone, said Catalina had "suffered terribly", and said its death was "vile". "I can’t believe something so simple as a flower can kill pets in such a terrible, terrible way, and there is absolutely no way of knowing about it," he said.

"We have seen the flowers in many places, all with no warnings at all. In America I have discovered that there is immense coverage on this subject, warning of the dangers, but here there is nothing."

The RSPCA’s US counterpart, the ASPCA, identifies the Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum), the tiger lily (Lilium tigrinum), the rubrum lily (Lilium speciosum), the Japanese show lily (Lilium lancifolium), and some species of the day lily (Hemerocallis) as those most likely to cause kidney failure in felines.
But although the plant is potentially deadly to cats, it is not thought to affect other pet species.

Alex Campbell, a toxicologist and managing director of the National Veterinary Poisons Information Service, said: "No-one really knows what the toxic mechanism of lilies is, but it is something in the plant that causes the tubular cells in the kidneys to die.

"It appears that it is just cats that are susceptible. They have a slightly odd metabolism compared to other animals - lacking certain enzymes - and this seems to make them especially vulnerable."

He added: "It may be useful to introduce a label warning of the effect these flowers can have on cats, but it is important not to become alarmist and to use common sense."


More info on Lilies

Plants toxic to cats