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White cat eyeing lily in a vase

Easter lilies hazardous to cats

Q: I know some spring plants are toxic to cats. Since my cats are inquisitive, what flowers should I avoid this Easter?

A: Don’t decorate with the traditional Easter lily. When ingested by cats, lilies of all types cause kidney failure and sometimes death. Every part of the lily is toxic, as is the water in a vase of lilies. Even the pollen a cat licks off her fur after she brushes by a lily is enough to permanently damage the kidneys.

Avoid daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and paperwhites, which are less toxic but still cause problems. If your cats munch the flowers or leaves, they may lose their appetites and vomit. Chewing on the bulbs causes vomiting, diarrhea and sometimes seizures.

Fortunately, florists offer many beautiful, cat-safe flowers to brighten your holiday, including roses, daisies, sunflowers and orchids, such as the Easter orchid. However, you should always be prepared for any sudden health problems with cat insurance!

Editor’s Note: From asters to zinnias, here is a full list of toxic and non-toxic plants for pets. 

Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at

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