Daylilies are perennial flowers, favored by gardeners for their soft aromas and array of bright colors. In some parts of Asia they are prized as a delicacy. But for cats, snacking on daylilies in a garden or from a vase is dangerous and can lead to kidney failure or death.
Toxic to Cats
While lilies generally are harmless to humans and dogs, virtually all species of lilies -- especially daylilies -- are toxic to cats, according to Michigan Veterinary Specialists. Unfortunately, cats cannot tell us when they eat daylilies, so finding out involves either witnessing cats ingest a portion of the plant or finding plant remains in their vomit. If you find that your cat has ingested this plant contact your veterinarian right away.
The No. 1 danger daylilies pose to cats is kidney failure. Signs of lily poisoning usually show within two to four days of ingestion. Signs of kidney failure include loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting and lack of urination. The longer the plant is in a cat's system the more likely it is to lead to permanent kidney damage. Left untreated, the cat will most likely die, so it is critical to seek treatment as soon as possible.
A veterinarian or animal poison control officer might direct you to induce vomiting using hydrogen peroxide. Even if this happens, most vets will ask you to bring the animal to them right away.
Veterinary treatment for lily poisoning usually requires emptying the stomach and administering medications that prevent the plant from further absorbing into the cat's system. Intravenous fluids also will be administered to help flush the kidneys, and your cat most likely will have to stay overnight at the hospital.
Diet for Cats with Kidney Problems
If your cat has survived but retained some kidney damage from eating daylilies, care must be paid to her diet. According to Elisa Katz, a veterinarian and pet health expert, reducing phosphorus in the diet can help many cats with kidney disease.
Cooked egg whites in place of some meat in the cat's diet is one simple way to lower the phosphorous content. Phosphorous binders prescribed by your veterinarian can also help.