Green. Elegant. Versatile. Peace lilies are indeed a home decor material. They are easy-to-grow indoor plants known for undemanding growth and versatility.
Beyond their beautiful features hides their potential harm to curious pets. As a furparent, you are probably concerned and wondering: is peace lily toxic to cats and other pets?
Discover the level of toxicity in peace lilies to keep your pets safe and what to do if they ingest them.
Awareness of houseplants’ plant toxicities is crucial to the safety of playful and curious cats and dogs because what may seemingly look harmless is sometimes the most poisonous plant for pets.
Q: Is Peace Lily Toxic To Cats And How Poisonous Can It Be?
A peace lily is toxic to cats on a mild to moderate level. The plant cells on its leaves contain sharp calcium oxalate crystals that may irritate the soft tissues in the mouth and the rest of the digestive tract when chewed or ingested by cats.
The discomfort may persist but it rarely needs medical intervention unless inflammation and difficulty breathing occur.
Peace lilies use these crystals for regulating calcium in tissues and protecting the plant from the detoxification of metals from the leaves. They are not as poisonous as true lilies and poisoned cats will eventually recover from them after several hours.
How Does Peace Lily Harm Cats?
Calcium oxalate crystals in peace lilies are spear-like cells that create micro punctures to the soft tissues in your cat’s mouth, tongue, and throat. The experience is similar to the kick of eating pea-sized wasabi, but the burning sensation lasts longer.
Peace lilies can cause a jolting burning sensation that will cause your cat to experience the following:
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Appetite loss.
- Hoarse meow.
- Constant rubbing or pawing of face/mouth.
Though peace lilies put your cats in severe pain and discomfort, they do not cause kidney and liver damage.
On rare occasions, the burning sensation may lead to inflammation and breathing difficulty, but that’s the worst thing that can happen.
Members of true lilies like Asiatic lilies and Easter lilies are the plants that can cause kidney failure and fatal health implications.
Though peace lilies contain the word lily in their name, it is not a member of Liliu spp. but the Araceae family of plants which includes dumb cane plants.
Poisoning Signs To Look Out For
If your cat managed to chew a few peace lily leaves, the first thing that you should do is stay calm and observe her behavior in the next couple of hours.
Here are some timestamps that will give you a hint on the possible symptoms, home remedies, and when to rush your pet to the vet:
m1-12 Hours Mark
The first few hours after ingestion of a peace lily leaf or flower will be the hardest for your cat.
It is the peak of the burning sensation in their mouth that will make them restless, drool, and vomit yellow or orange foamy substance. They may also keep meowing with a hoarse tone.
Home remedy or first aid:
To soothe the irritation in your cat’s mouth, you can let them nibble on a cube of frozen yogurt or milk. You may also gently wash their mouth with water to flush out calcium oxalates in their mouth.
Monitor their fluid intake and see if your cat is trying to drink. In the 8th hour, try to trigger their appetite by giving them boiled chicken. If neither of the methods works, call your vet for first aid steps and rush your pet to the vet.
12 to 24 Hours Mark
By this time, the symptoms should already subside. However, if they persist, you should call your vet or rush your cat to the vet.
Bring the leaf sample and identify how many leaves were ingested by your cat to help your vet see a clear picture of the situation.
Due to difficulty in swallowing, your cat might get dehydrated, which is more fatal than the poisoning itself. Your vet will rehydrate your cat using rehydration fluid therapy to restore the electrolytes lost.
Some anti-inflammatory medication may also be prescribed to your cat to help soothe throat inflammation and help him feel better.
Aside from emergency treatment, your vet may also check the medical history of your cat and require full blood and urine work to rule out other possible causes.
Pro Tip: Cats don’t usually eat indoor plants unless they want to soothe their upset stomach. There is probably an underlying problem that drives cats to eat greenery inside the home which requires medical attention.
What’s The Worst-Case Scenario of Peace of Lily Poisoning in Cats?
Difficulty breathing and dehydration are the two worst cases that you can expect if your cat ingests peace lily. These two life-threatening conditions can occur due to inflammation which rarely happens in peace lily poisoning in cats.
Observe your cats within 12 hours to see if they can recover and drink or eat again. Otherwise, rush them to the vet to prevent fluid loss and save them from critical conditions that come with it.
How To Keep Cats Away From Peace Lilies?
While the best way to avoid cat poisoning is to remove peace lilies at home, you can also make some adjustments to help them coexist. After all, peace lilies help purify the indoor air from harmful toxins, mold spores, and mildew.
Here are some cat-friendly tips from a gardener’s perspective:
- Cats are good at climbing things. So, placing the peace lilies on shelves will certainly not work. Instead, surround your peace lilies with herbs that your cat hates. These include: Oregano, Rosemary, Lavender, and Geraniums.
- You can also fill the top of the soil with coffee grounds or orange and lemon peels to naturally deter them from the plant.
- Some gardeners also sprinkle a dash of cayenne pepper and lemon juice on the leaves to discourage curious cats from nibbling the leaves.
Other Plants That Are Poisonous To Cats
So, is peace lily toxic to cats? At a minimum level, yes but there are way more poisonous plants that can kill your cats within hours.
As a cat parent and a plant lover, here are the plants that you should not grow around your curious felines:
Lilies might be one of the most eye-pleasing plants in a garden but they hold the most poisonous toxin to cats.
The toxin in lilies that specifically kills cats is still unknown. However, anything that touches the lily that gets to the cat’s digestive system can cause kidney failure within three days.
Keep your cats away from all the parts of true lilies, its pollens, and water on the vase because they all hold the poisonous toxin. The poisoning symptoms are almost similar to peace lilies from 1 to 12 hours. However, it gets worse and leads to kidney failure from 12 to 24 hours.
Here are the most toxic types of lilies to watch out for:
- Rubrum lily (Lilium speciosum var. rubrum).
- Stargazer lily.
- Tiger lily (Lancifolium).
- Wood lily.
- Asiatic lily (Lilium asiaticum).
- Daylily (Hemerocallis species).
- Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum).
- Japanese Show lily (Lilium speciosum).
- Oriental lily (Lilium Orientalis).
All the parts of the sago palm are toxic to both cats and dogs. However, its red and delicious-looking seeds are the most toxic of all.
It contains the toxin cycasin, which causes great damage to the liver. The telltale signs that the liver is already damaged are yellowing of eyes or skin, dark urine, enlarged or inflamed abdomen, or unusual color of feces.
The first signs of poisoning include vomiting, drooling, and other mild poisoning symptoms. However, the symptoms progress to neurological symptoms like seizures and wobbly gait.
Sometimes, the severe symptoms are delayed and often show up within three days. If left untreated, your cat may die from liver failure.
The bulb is the most poisonous part of the plant however the gravity of the symptoms depends on which part and how much is ingested. In most cases, mild symptoms occur, such as:
- Excessive drooling.
- Irritation of the mouth, lips, and tongue.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Fast heart rate.
In worst-case scenarios, the toxin can trigger inflammation in the GI tract, tremors, and coma. It can also cause sudden death in cats, especially if the most poisonous part is ingested.
Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane Plant)
The beautiful foliage of dumb cane plants contains the same calcium oxalate found in peace lilies. They are not highly toxic to cats and dogs but may cause an intense burning sensation in their mouth which will cause discomfort.
If your pets ingested or nibbled the leaves of a dumb cane plant, there’s no need to take a trip to the vet. The symptoms will eventually subside after a few hours.
Your vet may also prescribe some pain relievers to soothe the pain and discomfort of your cats and get them to drink or eat again after a few hours.
Beyond the vibrant blooms, azaleas contain a poisonous toxin called Grayanotoxin. It affects the sodium levels in the cat’s blood which affects the muscles and the heart.
It only takes 0.2% of the cat’s weight for azaleas to take a toll on the heart and circulatory stem. The symptoms include:
- Excessive drooling.
- Abnormal heart rate.
- Heart failure.
- Lack of appetite.
- Transient blindness.
Cats and dogs that ingest any part of azalea should be rushed to the vet immediately to detox their GI tract and prevent possible damage to their cardiovascular health.
If the pet did not receive any medical intervention within 24 to 48 hours, their health might get into critical condition and die.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)
Where is the best place to put a peace lily?
The best place for a peace lily is an area where it can get indirect sunlight but out of reach of pets, such as on an east-facing patio railing or hanging baskets.
If you want to place it on the floor, surround it with fragrant herbs like lavender and oregano to keep the curious felines at bay.
Are cats attracted to lilies?
True lilies are lethal plants to felines that they can’t resist. They love to nibble and eat it, thinking it can help soothe their upset stomach or because of plain curiosity. It is the reason why of all indoor plants, cat parents should think twice about welcoming a lily indoors.
What does peace lily do to cats?
Peace lily may cause a burning sensation to the mouth, tongue, throat, and stomach of cats due to the calcium oxalate crystals in its leaves. Cats may experience excessive drooling, vomiting, and loss of appetite but it will subside after a few hours.
Peace lilies can coexist with cats indoors as long as you are aware of what they’re capable of and how to keep your cat away from them.
However, some cat parents prefer to remove any possibilities of poisoning and opt for other alternative plants like a spider plant or African violet.
As for cats that are getting more and more curious about your plants, there is a possible underlying issue why they’re searching for some greens to chew.
Just like humans, they want to relieve any discomfort on their own. The only difference is they’re not aware of what’s poisonous or not.
So, the question should be, what makes my cats eat peace lilies? rather than, is peace lily toxic to cats?
If you notice that your friendly felines frequent your garden, you should consider taking a trip to the vet before they even chew on anything. Doing so will not only save your pet but also your pocket from expensive emergency vet costs and medications.
We hope that this post helped you become a wiser cat mom or cat dad to your adorable felines.
If you find this post helpful, please don’t forget to share it with your friends and spread awareness about the toxicity of indoor plants and preserve the nine lives of your adorable felines.