Are Peace Lilies Safe for Cats?

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The peace lily (Spathiphyllum) is a member of the Aroid family and is identified by its glossy green leaves and cupped white flowers. Its love of low light and warm temperatures make it a wonderful houseplant, but unfortunately for cat owners this easy-to-grow houseplant can be harmful to your pet.

Significance

  • The sap of the peace lily is an irritant that can cause blistering on human skin and mouth irritation for cats if chewed or swallowed. All parts of the plant are poisonous and immediate medical attention should be sought if ingestion is suspected, since the lily can cause liver or kidney damage which can be fatal.

Symptoms

  • Drooling, vomiting and difficulty in swallowing are the main symptoms. Left untreated, the cat may become lethargic or depressed. There may also be a noticeable reduction in urination as the kidneys are affected.

Treatment

  • If you suspect your cat has recently ingested the peace lily, do not induce vomiting. The cat should be given a small amount of milk or yogurt and taken to the veterinarian immediately.

Precautions

  • Younger cats appear to be more susceptible to lily poisoning. This may be because of their more curious nature and a desire to taste things as they explore. Unless the plant can be kept in a room that is off limits, or placed high enough where a cat cannot reach it, serious consideration should be made as to whether the peace lily is appropriate for your household.

Warning

  • Kittens mouthing lily leaves without actually ingesting it can become ill. Even with aggressive treatment for this toxicity, many cats do not survive.

References

  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Cliff
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