Danger of Lilies

Now that summer is approaching, and people are thinking about plants to put in their gardens, the Camberley & District branch of Cats Protection wants to make you aware of the danger of Lillies.

Lilies are very poisonous to cats and can cause them to go into kidney failure. It is believed that all parts of the plant are poisonous with even a small exposure to the pollen being potentially very dangerous. Cats can be affected after eating parts of the plant or simply by brushing past the flower and then grooming the pollen from the fur.

Recently there have been several very sad press reports of poisonings in cases where cat owners clearly loved their cats and were simply unaware of the toxicity of lilies to them, which can be fatal. It seems that despite the warnings now placed on lily bunches by many supermarkets many cat-owning purchasers still are not aware of the issue.

The Cat Group, of which CP is a member, originally wrote to supermarkets back in 2005 so our Advocacy Team thought they would check progress. CP have asked supermarkets to include this warning on the upward-facing part of front labels of all bouquets containing lilies: ‘Caution: all parts of lilies are toxic to cats’.

We have had a largely positive response to our requests. All the supermarkets include a warning about lilies posing a risk to pets although none use our preferred wording which we will ask them to adopt. Asda, Co-op, Morrisons and Waitrose all display warnings in a prominent place on the front labels. M&S’s warnings are tiny so we will ask them to increase their size. Sainsbury’s and Tesco only display warnings on their back labels so we will ask them to add the wording to the front. Additionally, the chain of florists, Interflora, include a warning in their flower care booklet.

CP are grateful to the supermarkets and Interflora for taking our suggestions on board and hope this will help to reduce unnecessary feline suffering. We will continue to monitor them for the outstanding changes and keep you up to date. 

If you see any labelling that is of concern or is not consistent with the information above do let us know by emailing advocacy@cats.org.uk or calling 01825 741 946 or 01825 741 294.

*The Cat Group is a collection of professional organisations dedicated to feline welfare through the development and promotion of policies and recommendations on the care and keeping of all cats. Its members are International Cat Care (formerly Feline Advisory Bureau), Animal Health Trust, Blue Cross, RSPCA, British Small Animal Veterinary Association, European Society of Feline Medicine, Cats Protection and the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy. 

Plus don't forget to keep those lids on water butts - we have had incidents where we have heard of cats (and other animals) that have fallen in and well, you know the outcome - please be vigilant!