Alstroemeria, also known as the Peruvian lily, is a common flower. It’s often gifted as a symbol of friendship or a romantic gesture. But if you have a cat (or are sending it to someone with a cat), it’s important to know exactly what kind of lily you have. Many varieties of lilies are poisonous to cats, so owners have to be extremely careful about having them in the house. Alstroemeria falls into a grey area because it is poisonous but it’s not considered to be fatal, like some lilies are. Depending on how much is ingested, it can cause irritation to your cat’s digestive system.
Are Alstroemeria Flowers Poisonous to Cats?
Alstroemeria isn’t deadly toxic to cats, but ingestion of the flowers can cause nasty skin or stomach irritations, including mouth sores, vomiting, and upset stomach. The irritating substance contained in the flowers is called “tulipalin A.” It causes cats to get sick when ingested in large amounts.
To be safe, keep Alstroemeria plants up high where your cat can’t get to them. When in doubt, it’s best to only keep pet-safe plants in the house.
Are All Lilies Poisonous to Cats?
Not all lilies are poisonous to cats, but some species are so poisonous that as few as two petals or leaves can cause irreversible kidney failure. Given how dangerous these plants can be for your cat, it’s important for you to know which lilies are safe and which aren’t.
Lily plants that are most toxic to cats belong to the Lilium genus of plants. They include:
These plants can be particularly problematic for cat owners because they are common in many florist bouquets.
There are several other varieties of lilies that are also poisonous to cats. They’re not quite as deadly as the ones previously listed, but you should still avoid bringing them into your home if you have cats.
Lilies that are considered to be non-toxic to cats are plants that aren’t true lilies. They include:
Symptoms of Feline Lily Poisoning
Unfortunately, symptoms of lily poisoning don’t show up until 1 or 2 days after the plant has been ingested. By this time, most of the poison has been absorbed into a cat’s system, making it difficult to reverse the effects. If you have a lily in your house and you notice these symptoms in your cat, seek veterinary attention immediately.
What to Do If Your Cat Has Ingested a Lily Plant
If you have seen your cat ingest part of a poisonous lily plant, contact your veterinarian or an emergency hospital immediately, as they may be able to prevent the poison from being absorbed into your cat’s system. If the plant was ingested recently, your veterinarian may start by inducing vomiting. Do not attempt to do this at home, because that can potentially cause more harm to your cat.
Even with aggressive medical treatment, many cats die within 2 to 3 days of poisonous lily ingestion. It is critical that your cat see a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Are Lilies Poisonous to Other Animals?
Lilies aren’t just poisonous to cats, they are also poisonous to dogs and horses, but the varieties that cause illness vary between species. Dogs get sick from ingesting calla lilies, lilies of the valley, bush lilies, or Hosta lilies. Valley and Hosta lilies are toxic to horses.
Other Poisonous Household Plants
Not all houseplants are safe for pets. There are several that are poisonous to both cats and dogs, some that are only toxic to dogs, and some that are only toxic to cats. Cats love to chew on plants, so if you have a cat, you should be able to identify the plants and flowers that are toxic to them. If you’re not sure, it’s always best to remove the questionable plant. To help you, here is a list of common plants that are toxic to cats:
Eating small amounts of Alstroemeria isn’t fatal to cats, but it can cause serious skin and stomach irritation in felines. Lilies in general are extremely dangerous, so it’s best not to have them anywhere that a cat might be able to nibble on them. Taking whatever steps you need to protect your cat from becoming exposed to toxic plants both inside and out, will help keep them healthy and safe. Removing any plants from the house that could be potentially poisonous will help prevent accidental ingestion.
Featured Image Credit: Chesna, Pixabay