Cat charity warns of lily poisoning risk after fatal case


Cats Protection is warning owners about the dangers of lilies, which are often included in bouquets of flowers but are particularly toxic to cats.

All parts of the lily plant contain a toxin that can lead to rapid and severe kidney failure, explained Jacqui Cuff, head of advocacy and government relations for the feline welfare charity. Just licking pollen off their fur or drinking water from a vase containing lilies is enough for a cat to suffer a potentially fatal reaction.

“Indoor cats in particular sometimes nibble or brush past plants so it’s really important that everyone is aware of the dangers,” Cuff said. “This is why we’re calling on all retailers of cut flowers and house plants, especially online, to consider pet-safe stickers so consumers can have peace of mind that their beloved cats won’t come to any harm.”

Tired Cat

In a recent YouGov survey commissioned by Cats Protection, half of the respondents said they would be more likely to buy flowers if they had a ‘pet safe’ label attached.

The call for pet-safe stickers on flowers and house plants is supported by Emma Clarke, who lost her cat last December.

“The flowers were on the table and I saw Marie nibbling them a few times but didn’t think anything of it,” she said. “Within a week or so, I noticed she was sleepier than usual. Then she started vomiting but I put this down to a recent change of food. Around four days later, she started going downhill quite fast – she was really lifeless and didn’t even react when the hoover came near her, so I knew something was seriously wrong.

“I feel desperately sad but also very guilty that I didn’t know. I think bouquets should come with warnings and there should be advice given at the point of purchase. If any good can come out of this sadness, it will be making more people aware.”

According to veterinary charity PDSA, common symptoms of lily poisoning in cats include:

  • Vomiting

  • Not eating

  • Drooling

  • Drinking/peeing more

  • Twitching

  • Seizures (fits)

If you think your cat has eaten or licked any part of a lily plant, contact your vet immediately – never wait for symptoms to develop.

With cat insurance from Purely Pets, you’ll have cover for veterinary treatment if your cat is unwell or injured. We also offer a free 24-hour Vet Helpline for any queries regarding your pet’s health.

Pet Insurance Quote

  • 98% claims paid *
  • Claims paid directly to vets
  • 24/7 vet video consultations
  • Interest free monthly payments