Planning on buying some pretty lilies or poinsettias to brighten up your home during the winter season? Well, if you have a furry feline family member, that's definitely not a good idea. Both of these beautiful flowers can be toxic to cats — and specific kinds of lilies can even be deadly in some cases.
While not all lilies are poisonous to cats, certain popular types can cause kidney failure when ingested. Even if your kitty just consumes a few petals, the water in the plant, or the flower's pollen, this can result in a lethal reaction. Per the Pet Poison Hotline: "The most dangerous and potentially life-threatening lily ingestions by cats involve lilies belonging to the genera Lilium (true lilies) and Hemerocallis. Examples of some of these toxic lilies include Asiatic, Easter, Japanese show, rubrum, stargazer, red, tiger, Western, and wood lilies (Lilium species) and daylilies (Hemerocallis species)."
These lilies should be kept out of the reach of cats at all times. Considering that these precious pets are lithe enough to pounce on nearly any surface (such as the dining table), you may want to avoid putting the pots in your home altogether. The beloved lily of the valley can also be detrimental to cats, so planting this type of flower in your garden may not be the safest option for your pet or for your neighbors' felines.
Symptoms of lily poisoning in cats include vomiting, dehydration, and a loss of appetite. However, if you suspect your cat has nibbled on these forbidden flowers, make sure to contact your vet immediately. Don't wait for signs of common symptoms, because by then it could be too late to save your four-legged friend.
In comparison to lilies, poinsettias are considered mildly toxic for cats, the Pet Poison Hotline reports. The milky sap in poinsettias contains chemicals that could be irritating for our kitties if ingested or exposed to the pet's skin or eyes. When consumed, some signs of vomiting, drooling, or diarrhea may occur. And when exposed to the cat's skin or eyes, poinsettias may lead to some redness, swelling, and itchiness. These responses to poinsettias rarely require medical attention — unless the symptoms are severe and persistent, of course — but you probably wouldn't even want your kitty to experience this kind of trouble in the first place!
It's worth keeping in mind that lilies and poinsettias are not the only flowers that can have a harmful effect on cats. From the aloe plant to the butterfly iris, there are a lot of plants out there that are bad news for our furry friends. When in doubt, take a look at the extensive list of plants that are toxic to cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
For future reference, it's always a good idea to double-check before you buy any new bouquet. Your cat will thank you for it later — with lots of cuddles, of course!