Everyone loves lilies, those glorious, fragrant flowers that immediately brighten up a room. Even our curious felines may feel the urge to nibble at these beauties. However, lily toxicity in cats is a well recognized illness. Most species of lilies and all parts of the plant and flowers cause a profound toxicity when ingested by cats. Cats become exposed by nibbling at flowers or leaves in the house or garden, licking the pollen off their fur or even by drinking the water that the lilies are in.
You see, lily toxicity causes an often irreversible acute kidney failure that can lead to death if not detected and treated in time. Symptoms include vomiting, lack of appetite, depression and in advanced cases, collapse. The toxicity develops very quickly, over 12-72 hours.
If you suspect lily toxicity in your cat, it should be treated as an emergency and taken to the vet immediately. The cat will require intravenous fluids to 'flush out' the toxin and provide support to the kidneys as well as other medications to protect the kidneys. In advanced cases and when a lot of plant material has been ingested, the cat may be in a collapsed state. In these cases, unfortunately, the prognosis is poor.
Essentially, lilies and cats do not mix. Cats are curious creatures so anything which may be toxic to them such as lilies, should not be within reach, neither in the house nor in the garden.
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