Before bringing a peace lily into a cat-friendly household, it is important to know the symptoms of peace lily toxicity, how to address them, and learn the steps you can take to ensure your cat doesn't fall prey to peace lily poisoning.
Are Peace Lilies Poisonous To Cats?
Peace lilies, also known as the Mauna Loa Peace Lily are very common houseplants noted for their waxy, dark green leaves. They also boast a unique flower that is usually white, but can be green or yellow. But are peace lilies safe for cats? They are nice to look at and easy to care for, but pet parents should be aware that peace lilies are toxic to their cats.
Peace lilies are poisonous to cats because they contain calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals protect the peace lily from being ingested. When a cat gnaws on a peace lily, they will immediately show signs of irritation from the calcium oxalate crystals. The first symptoms of peace lily poisoning include mouth pain, drooling, diarrhea, and vomiting. Additionally, your cat's mouth, tongue, and throat may swell, interfering with your pet's breathing, but this is a less common occurrence.
Is there a peace lily cats can eat safely? No! Fortunately, peace lilies do not cause acute kidney failure in cats. If your cat nibbles on a peace lily leaf, it may experience mild stomach upset, like vomiting or diarrhea. However, these reactions are generally not life-threatening.
On the other hand, various other lily species, such as Easter lilies (Lilium longiflorum) or Asiatic lilies (Lilium asiatica), can be extremely dangerous to cats. If a cat ingests any part of an Easter lily, it can swiftly develop acute kidney failure, a potentially fatal condition.
It's crucial to distinguish between peace lilies and other lilies because while peace lilies are not entirely harmless, they usually lead to less severe reactions in cats. In contrast, if you suspect your cat has ingested any part of a toxic lily, immediate veterinary attention is imperative to prevent kidney failure.
Peace lilies are relatively mild in their effects on cats, while other lilies like Easter lilies can be lethal. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to ensure your cat never suffers even from peace lily poisoning.
Why Are Peace Lilies Toxic To Cats?
The crystals in calcium oxalate, which is the chemical responsible for peace lily poisoning in cats, are like sharp, tiny spears. When the plant is in a cat's mouth the crystals penetrate the tissues of the animal's gums, tongue, and throat.
The calcium oxalate causes an intense burning sensation. The pain is severe enough that your cat may yowl in a manner you've never heard before. Considering the cat has swallowed what feels like an army of pointy and sharp medieval maces, it's understandably traumatic.
Symptoms Of Peace Lily Poisoning in Cats
If your kitty has been snacking on your peace lily plant, you will probably see the signs almost immediately, though symptoms can take as long as six or more hours to manifest.
Here is a basic timeline and possible symptoms to watch out for. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your cat has ingested a potentially toxic substance.
In general, the first signs that your cat is suffering from peace lily poisoning occur within 6-12 hours of ingestion. The symptoms include:
Drooling and yowling
Severe oral discomfort
Pawing at mouth
Vomiting or diarrhea
Little to no appetite
In more serious cases of peace lily poisoning in cats, your cat's gait may be unsteady. Your kitty could also be disoriented or even have seizures.
Even if your cat has been treated by your vet, symptoms can linger for as long as two weeks. Fortunately, most cats suffering from peace lily poisoning make a full recovery without any permanent damage.
Treatment Of Cats With Peace Lily Poisoning
So, if you were not sure, “Is a peace lily toxic to cats?” the answer is positive. And if you think your kitty has ingested a part of a peace lily plant, reach out to a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian immediately. Prompt medical attention is essential for the health and well-being of your beloved companion.
If possible, positively identify what lily species your cat ingested as some like varieties are more toxic to cats than others. This information will help your veterinarian assess the level of toxicity and create an appropriate plan of care. The severity of your cat's symptoms will also determine the therapeutic course of action.
At Your Veterinary Clinic
Peace lily poisoning can only be definitively diagnosed by your veterinarian. Your vet will perform a thorough physical assessment to ensure your cat’s symptoms are not related to any preexisting conditions. While waiting for the blood test results, treatment begins immediately to relieve your kitty’s distressing symptoms.
Follow your veterinarian's guidance to the letter to ensure your pet makes a full and speedy recovery.
At Home Support
To relieve your cat’s pain at home, yogurt or lactose-free milk can help alleviate the burning sensation. Make sure your kitty is properly hydrated. Your vet may recommend fluid therapy to replenish lost electrolytes. Watch your cat closely, and alert your vet if the kitty’s condition doesn't improve or if it worsens. And, of course, a few extra cuddles can’t hurt.
Keeping Your Cat Safe Around Indoor Plants
Almost any plant can cause vomiting and gastrointestinal distress if consumed. A useful resource for pet parents is the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA.) Their website provides a comprehensive list of plants and their potential toxicity.
Of course, the easiest way to prevent your cat from munching on your peace lilies is not to have any around in the first place. Artificial flowers are a safe choice for cat owners concerned about their pets' well-being. These faux blooms are generally non-toxic to cats and eliminate the risks associated with real plants, such as soil-borne toxins and chemical treatments. They pose no allergenic potential, are durable, and easy to clean, making them a low-maintenance decor option.
While some artificial flowers may have small parts that could be a choking hazard, overall, they provide a beautiful and safe alternative to real plants, allowing cat owners to enjoy floral decor without worrying about their feline friends' safety. If this isn't an acceptable course of action, place your plants in an area that your kitty can't access.
Other Houseplants That Are Poisonous To Cats
Like the peace lily, pathos plants contain calcium oxalates. This toxin can cause your cat to suffer gastrointestinal distress.
Tulips are part of the lily family and contain alkaloid and glycoside compounds and, like peace lilies, can hurt your cat if ingested. The entire tulip plant is toxic to cats.
Aloe Vera is toxic to cats. Ingesting the plant may cause symptoms that include vomiting, lethargy, tremors, and loss of appetite.
According to the ASPCA, the toxic component of the jade plant is not known, but symptoms can include vomiting and poor coordination.
Mother-in-Law Plant (Monstera Deliciosa)
Also known as the snake plant. It contains the toxic substance saponin which can cause G.I. pain, drooling, and swelling of the mouth and throat.
Peace lilies are poisonous to cats, but luckily most kitties come through the experience with no lasting health problems. There are numerous steps you can take to discourage your pet from munching on your peace lily plant, but it’s always safer to keep toxic plants out of your home, or at least out of your cat’s reach. Keeping our fur babies safe from exposure to dangerous toxins is part of our responsibility as pet owners.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are peace lilies toxic to cats?
Yes, peace lilies contain calcium oxalate, which is poisonous to felines. Peace lily poisoning in cats is rarely fatal, but an uncomfortable and upsetting experience for your cat nonetheless.
Why are peace lilies poisonous to cats?
Calcium oxalate is a substance that protects peace lilies from ingestion and is toxic to felines.
Is a peace lily safe for cats?
It’s not deadly, but may cause a severe reaction.
What do I do if my cat ate a peace lily?
Immediately contact a pet poison control center or your vet and describe your pet's symptoms. Take your kitty for an assessment if your vet deems it necessary.
How to prevent cats from eating peace lilies?
There are numerous ways to deter your cat from eating your peace lilies. These include moving the plant, covering the potting soil with coffee grounds and citrus peels, or a spray water bottle.