This popular holiday plant can be dangerous if ingested.

By Southern Living
January 23, 2021
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The Easter lily has long been prized for its beauty and fragrance. It has white, trumpet-shaped flowers that appear in spring and has long been a popular perennial bulb for gardeners. The flower has become a holiday mainstay synonymous with Easter because it symbolizes purity and innocence. Despite its popularity, the Easter lily, also known as Lilium longiflorum, can be hazardous to pets.

According to the ASPCA, Easter lilies are toxic to cat species, though they are not known to harm dogs. According to poison.org, "Eating small amounts of any part of this plant can cause dangerous symptoms and lead to death from kidney failure." Also, "Early symptoms include vomiting, which may begin only two hours after a cat eats part of an Easter lily. Laboratory evidence of kidney damage begins after a day or so."

Warning signs that a cat has ingested Easter lily and needs medical attention include vomiting, lack of appetite, lethargy, and kidney failure. In the worst of scenarios, the situation becomes fatal. If you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxin, contact your veterinarian immediately. The APCC also has a 24-hour emergency poison hotline for assistance, and it can be reached at 1-888-426-4435.

According to poison.org, once a cat has ingested any part of an Easter lily, "There is no specific antidote. To be effective, treatment by a veterinarian must begin no later than eighteen hours after exposure. Immediate treatment, which can limit the amount of plant material absorbed, is much better." Quick action is best, but it's even better to keep cats away from Easter lilies in the first place. Browse our list of popular Easter flowers for alternatives for your holiday flower plans, and be sure to do your research and choose the ones that aren't known to be toxic to pets.

For more information on toxic plants and pet safety, visit aspca.org. There, also find a list of frequently encountered toxic and non-toxic plants for reference.

What cat questions do you have? Do you have any favorite plants that you've banished from the home because they might be toxic to pets?