Are Lilies Poisonous to Cats? Holiday Bouquet Dangers

Cats slipping out the back door when guests arrive or climbing Christmas trees are some of the common accidental emergencies pet owners experience around the holiday season. Did you know that holiday bouquets, could make the worst snack for your cat? Lilies, a common flower in bouquets, are poisonous to cats. A 2009 study found that 29% of cat owners knew that the flower and its varieties were toxic and still brought it into their homes. These dangerous varieties include stargazers, tiger lilies, calla lilies, peace lilies and anything in the “true lily” or “daylily” families. So, next time you decide to decorate your home or are gifted any floral arrangements with lilies, keep in mind the harmful effects it could have on your pet.

Even Very Small Amounts of Lilies Are Highly Poisonous to Cats

For cats, any amount of a lily can result in total kidney failure even the tiniest amount. The entire plant including the water in the vase is highly toxic. Yes, even the pollen from the inside of the plant. The pollen can fall onto the cat’s fur and when it grooms itself, it ingests it. If treated quickly (within the first 18 hours), kidney damage can be reversible. But damage can still be done. It’s critical to your cat’s life that you get them to a veterinarian once you know they have ingested any part of a lily. Do not “wait and see”.

Signs & Symptoms

Unfortunately, there are times when we are not able to see ingestion happen. Below are signs to look for. If you have lilies in your home and suspect your cat may have eaten a part of the flower, check for these symptoms and see your vet immediately if identified.

• Weak/Quiet
• Unsteady gait
• Drooling
• Heavy breathing
• Diarrhea
• Seizures
• Vomiting

What About Dogs?

Don’t forget about your dogs! They also are sensitive to lilies, and you should see your vet if you have suspected they ingested any. Fortunately, dogs are less likely to have extreme kidney damage compared to cats, but there are still dangerous outcomes. Your dog can still become sick and can experience life-threatening heart arrhythmias depending on the amount and type of plant that was ingested. However, ingestion of any lily can cause gastrointestinal upset and irritation.

And what did we learn? Lilies can be life threatening to both cats and dogs. So, this upcoming holiday season, it’s best you leave the lilies out of your pet-friendly home.


At All God’s Creatures Animal hospital, our goal is to continuously improve the quality of life of our patients and the well-being of our community by providing high quality, cost effective veterinary health care that exceeds our clients’ expectations.  Our staff is devoted to providing the best medical, surgical, and emergency veterinary care available.