Toxic plants

Is Black Calla or Solomon’s Lily Toxic To Cats?

Is Black Calla or Solomon’s Lily Toxic To Cats?
Written by Clair Chesterman

Lilies, including Black Calla, sometimes known as Solomon’s Lily, are often harmful to cats. Even little amounts of Black Calla or Solomon’s Lily can cause gastrointestinal distress and irritation, while large amounts can lead to catastrophic organ failure. 

Toxic insoluble calcium oxalates found throughout Solomon’s lily plant produce a distressing reaction in most mammals, including cats. Raphides, which are packed by gelatinous substances within idioblasts in the plant, contain these sharp crystals. The raphides release calcium oxalate crystals into the cat’s mouth, esophagus, and eventually the digestive system when the plant is chewed, producing significant pain and inflammation. In response to these toxins, the body may mount an immunological response that results in swelling, which can obstruct a cat’s breathing.

What Is Black Calla or Solomon’s Lily?

Black Calla is scientifically known as Arum palestinum and is also known for its other common names, Solomon’s Lily, Wild Calla, and Wild Arum. Black Calla can be seen growing wild in the United States’ warmer regions. Solomon’s lily, which can grow up to 15 inches tall, sprouts from the ground in the fall. The huge leaves, which have a trowel-like form, are produced by a single stem. Flowers do not emerge until spring when they bloom as huge, velvety blossoms with a single enormous sheath which and have a purple-black tint color. The scent of these flowers is similar to fermenting fruits, which attracts pollinators like flies. Hard, brown shells gradually form around the seeds.

Clinical Signs of Black Calla or Solomon’s Lily Poisoning in Cats

Poisoning symptoms from Black Calla or Solomon’s flower intake usually appear within two hours, if not sooner. The following are clinical indications of Solomon’s lily poisoning:

  • Shaking of the head
  • gnawing at the gums
  • Drooling excessively
  • Inflammation of the mouth
  • Swelling of lips, tongue, and throat
  • Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Appetite loss
  • Depression
  • Dyspnea or breathing difficulty
  • Abnormalities of the heart
  • Dilated pupils
  • Gnawing at the gums
  • Head shaking
  • Coma

First Aid and Treatment of Black Calla or Solomon’s Lily Poisoning in Cats

Dehydration can occur if the cat has been vomiting or diarrhea for an extended period of time. Intravenous fluids and electrolytes can be given to the cat to assist restore normal fluid volume. Various drugs, such as antihistamines to reduce edema and open the cat’s airways and sucralfate to prevent internal stomach irritation, may be administered to the cat throughout the phase to alleviate symptoms. The cat will have to be hospitalized until his breathing returns to normal.

Recovery from Black Calla or Solomon’s Lily Poisoning in Cats

Large ingestions are uncommon since Black Calla has a bitter taste and acts as an instant irritation to the tongue thus, most cases are mild only. Most cats who suffered from Black Calla poisoning recover within 24 hours. In rare severe cases of poisoning, recuperation may take up to two weeks.

Prevention of Black Calla or Solomon’s Lily Poisoning in Cats

Hazardous plants should be avoided or kept out of reach of your pet, especially if your cat is a nibbler. Give your cat some cat grass to nibble on instead. If you enjoy having fresh bouquets or floral displays in your home, look for cat-friendly flowers.  Keep your cat’s activity outdoors minimal.

If you love plants but have cats at home, check out these lists:

About the author

Clair Chesterman

Clair Chesterman is a professional cat breeder having her own cageless CFA and CCA Registered cattery & fostering company FluffyMeowPaws in Eugene, Oregon. Clair is a plant enthusiast too and she made in-depth research on toxic and non-toxic plants for cats.

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