Easter Lilies And Cats Do Not Mix

Several years ago I treated a beautiful kitten for renal disease.  The rambunctious girl jumped up on the counter to investigate the Eater Lily that adorned her home.  Some of the pollen stuck to her nose as she sniffed the flowers.  She licked it off and then left to play with more interesting toys.  Two days later, the kitten felt awful.  She refused to eat or drink.  When I examined her, I felt her kidneys bulging beneath the skin.  She screamed in pain when I touched (palpated) them.  The swollen kidneys were twice as large as normal.  Blood work confirmed what I already suspected, the kitten suffered from severe kidney disease caused by the Easter Lily. 

Easter Lilies are poisonous to cats.  Their toxic potential in other animals is not known at this time.  They cause severe kidney problems (renal tubular necrosis) within two to three days of ingestion.  Therefore, I caution all cat owners about bringing this plant into your house.  All parts of the plant are poisonous.  This includes the pollen.  If you cat is exposed, bring them in for veterinary care immediately!  This is not something you can treat at home.  If you suspect toxicity, please do not delay. 

With aggressive therapy, many of these cats do recover from the poison.  The kitten mentioned above was one of the worst cases I have ever seen.  At the beginning of therapy, her blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine levels were off the charts.  After five days of fluid therapy, they fell back to the normal range.  She was lucky but it is best not to take chances.  

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.