Toxic plants

Are Tiger Lilies Toxic To Cats? 

by Clair Chesterman
Is Tiger Lily Toxic to Cats

The tiger lily, like all Lilium and Hemerocallis species, is toxic to cats’ kidneys. The tiger lily plant’s petals, leaves, stems, pollen, and other components are all poisonous. Even ingesting a few leaves or being exposed to pollen can induce severe allergic responses in cats. However, it is unclear which toxin in lilies caused your cat’s poisoning.

What Is Tiger Lily?

Tiger lily with a cat in the background

Scientifically known as Lilium tigrinum, the tiger lily is a perennial herbaceous plant that develops from bulbs. Tiger lilies are distinguished by their slender leaves and long stalks that produce several blooms. Curled and deeply mottled orange flower petals. The plants stand out, even more, when a few bulbs are gathered at the back of a flower border. 

Tiger lily is an Asian lily species found in China, Japan, Korea, and Russia. Because of its showy orange-and-black flowers, it is widely planted as an ornamental and is occasionally found in gardens in North America, particularly in the eastern United States, including New England.

Clinical Signs of Tiger Lily Poisoning in Cats

Tiger lily and cats

In most cases, symptoms of lily poisoning develop 6-12 hours after exposure. If the symptoms are ignored, they might progress to renal failure, which can lead to death. Clinical indicators of tiger lily poisoning include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive thirst or lack of thirst
  • Excessive urination or lack of urination
  • Disorientation
  • Inability to walk
  • Seizures
  • Ulcerated gums
  • Tremors
  • Renal failure

First Aid and Treatment of Tiger Lily Poisoning in Cats

Cat stands near Tiger lily

The sooner your cat can get to the veterinary clinic to get the poisoning symptoms under control, the better. The veterinarian will most likely force your cat to vomit in most cases. Your veterinarian may then administer activated charcoal to your cat through a tube. Activated charcoal absorbs a variety of toxins, allowing them to safely travel through your cat’s digestive tract. Your cat’s vital signs and organ function will be monitored on a regular basis.

Supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids and oral drugs, is usually given for 2-3 days to help avoid kidney damage from the toxin. Kidney failure in cats usually needs hospitalization and careful therapy. After a diagnosis of renal failure, dialysis should be explored as soon as possible.

Recovery from Tiger Lily Poisoning in Cats

When treated with dialysis, around 50% of cats will survive renal failure, however, it may take 3-4 weeks for the kidneys to regain enough function to be able to stop dialysis. Many of the cats that survive will regain complete renal function, but some may continue to have chronic kidney impairment.

Prevention of Tiger Lily Poisoning in Cats

To avoid lily toxicity, you should never bring a lily into a home with cats. Limit your cat’s access to the outdoors to avoid exposure to lilies and other harmful plants in your neighborhood.

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

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