I know a lot of people have Easter lilies around the house after this holiday weekend, and I wanted to warn everyone to keep them away from your cats. Easter lilies, and other lilies, can be toxic if a cat eats any part of them — leaf, pollen or flower.

Here are the symptoms of lily toxicity in cats, according to the FDA’s website.

Symptoms of lily toxicity in cats include lethargy (decreased activity), vomiting, and loss of appetite. These symptoms worsen as the kidney damage progresses, leading to death. Early veterinary treatment is critical. If you suspect that your cat has eaten any part of a lily or its pollen, call your veterinarian immediately.
I’m alerting you about this problem not only because Easter lilies are such a common hostess gift, but also because I just returned from the vet.

Fortunately, my cat, Cally, did not eat the typical Easter lily plant; she ate what is known as a peace lily. Peace lilies are less toxic than typical lilies, but they are still harmful. We discovered she’d been snacking on the peace lily for what we think has been a couple of weeks now. During that time, she had gotten very lethargic and had started going to the bathroom outside her litter box — often a way a cat asks for help.

She’s going to be okay, but at the first mention of “lily,” my vet told me to bring Cally in immediately. After a costly phone call from my vet to the ASPCA poison control center to get the specifics on the peace lily plus the office visit fee, the plant is now outside waiting to be taken to my mom’s house, where there are no cats.

I’ve had the plant for years. It was a gift from a friend when my father died, and it was my one and only houseplant. I’m sad to see it go, but Cally is more important.

If I had other house plants, I’d be researching each and every one of them right now to see how they could affect Cally and our other cat, Doo Da, both of whom we adopted in February. If you have cats and houseplants, I encourage you to research the affects that the plants can have on your pets.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Keep cats away from toxic lilies
Lilies in all forms can be harmful to cats, and some can be deadly.