Is the peace lily toxic to cats? This is something you should know if you you’re a cat owner and have a peace lily plant at home. Whether or not the peace lily is poisonous to cats will help you decide where to put the plant.
Just imagine having a relaxing day at home and hearing your beloved cat purring in an awkward manner.
That’s not something you ever want to hear as a pet owner knowing that your kitty Is in pain or discomfort.
So, here’s the low down on whether the peace lily is safe for cats.
Your Peace Lily is Toxic to Cats: How Poisonous Is Peace Lily to Cats?
Although very beautiful to look at, the Peace Lily mildly to moderately toxic to cats (and dogs). Its leaves and stems contain substances called calcium oxalate crystals.
These have needle-like shapes which can penetrate through your cats mouth, throat and stomach tissues. But, they are only released when the your cat bites into the leaves or stems. Therefore, they are not harmful until chewed on.
This also means that even if your cat does now swallow the leaves or stems, their mouth will still feel painful, swell or at the very least have irritation.
Thus, it is important to call your vet once you notice that the your pet has chewed on or ingested any part of the peace lily.
While the toxic compounds contained in the peace lily are harmful, they are not as toxic as those in true lilies. These have more toxicity and besides chewing on the plant even just drinking on the water the true lilies are placed it can cause toxicity.
That said, it is worth noting that the calcium oxalate crystals in peace lilies won’t kill your cat. But whether the damage it causes is minor or moderate will depend on how much they consume. The more they’ve ingested, the more negative symptoms they will experience.
How Much Needs to be Ingested for Peace Lily to be Toxic to Cats?
Unfortunately, one leaf or stem is enough to cause mouth irritation. And a few leaves will produce the undesirable toxic symptoms.
The problem is, once your cat starts discovering the leaves and stems and eats one, it will likely proceed to chew on the rest.
Unlike some plants which has an unattractive taste or smell to animals, peace lilies don’t have these features.
Therefore, it is unlikely that your pet will stop eating after one bite unless you’re able to intervene at that very instant.
What Parts of the Peace Lily is Toxic to Cats If Ingested?
The entire peace lily is toxic to cats (and even dogs) when ingested. Again, the key here is the ingestion part where your cat bits or chews into the plant. This is when the calcium oxalate crystals are released.
In contrast, when the parts of the plant are left in tact and not damaged, there is no risk of poisoning. This is why you and your cat can safety touch the plant without feeling any irritation or side effects.
So, keep your cat away from chewing or ingesting the peace lily’s:
Of these, the leaves are often the ones that cause the most damage since they are larger and they’re also the first target of your cat when it comes to consumption.
Symptoms of Peace Lily Poisoning on Cats
While ingesting one or two leaves may cause irritation and a bit of pain, the effects should be somewhat mild. The problem is when large quantities are consumed.
This is when your cat will experience more bothersome symptoms.
These symptoms include:
- Mouth, throat and tongue irritation including a burning sensation in their lips
- Mouth pain if more is ingested
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of appetite
Unfortunately, these effects almost happen immediately after the leaves, stems or flowers are chewed on.
The reason is that if you look in the microscope, calcium oxalate crystals are very tiny needle-shaped compounds which kind of look like spears.
So, they’ll pierce into the internal lining of the mouth, throat, tongue and other parts of the digestive tract. As you would expect, your cat will feel pain in the process.
Most symptoms will occur during first 6 to 12 hours. During this time, your cat will experience the issues listed above, including potential vomiting and drooling.
How bad will depend on how much they consume.
If your pet ingested a lot of the plant, things can worsen between the 12 to 24 hour mark. While this is rare, it is important to know to possible effects.
In the worst case, it can cause kidney issues. However, this is more likely to happen with true lilies as opposed to peace lilies which are not as toxic.
Most cats will have a full recovery without any long term effects. However, depending on how much they’ve ingested, some symptoms may last as long as 10 to 14 days.
Diagnosing Peace Lily Poisoning in Cats
Diagnosing peace lily toxicity in cats is the hardest part of the process. That’s because you can’t see the calcium oxalate crystals and how they’re affecting your pets internal organs.
Instead, all you’ll see is vomiting, drooling, discomfort and your cat in pain.
These external symptoms could have been caused by other things. Sometimes, overeating is enough produce them. Other times, it can happen when they eat dirt or other things they’re not supposed to in the house or the yard.
Of course, the easiest way to find out is if you see your pet chewing on the plant. This ensures the diagnosis. However, the odds of you finding out at the very moment they’re eating the plant is unlikely.
The next thing you can try is to check your peace lily.
If your cat has eaten parts of the plant, it will be missing a few leaves. And at the very least where will be bite marks and tears in the leaves, stems or flowers.
The size of the bit marks are often enough to tell you that your cat did it especially if no one else was at home during that time. Also, if your cat is the only one presenting any symptoms.
That said, the only way to truly confirm this diagnosis is to call your vet.
If they’ve had a lot of experience with this sort of thing, they’ll be able to instantly tell just by looking at your cat and its behavior.
Otherwise, your vet will likely do a blood draw and test for toxicity. A urine sample may also be taken to check for any kidney issues related to the calcium oxalate crystals.
How to Treat Peace Lily Poisoning in Cats
There is no standard treatment protocol for peace lily poisoning in cats. That’s because there are no medications available to get rid of the toxic substances.
That said, the side effects and symptoms will subside after a few hours then go away on its own. But the more of the plant they consume, the longer the effects will be.
On your part, you can help your cat by soothing its discomfort.
A lot of the effect will start and stay in the mouth and throat since they’ve chewed on the peace lily.
To help alleviate some of the irritation and discomfort, you can give it cold milk or yogurt. Although, since many adult animals are lactose intolerant, it is better to use lactose free milk if possible.
You don’t want to increase the discomfort or add to the problem.
Also, make sure to call your vet and let them take a look. Some veterinarians may offer treatment. Or at the very least tell you how to treat your cat and what to expect in the next few hours.
It is likewise a good idea to check your cat’s mouth and oral cavity. Remove any leftover leaves or stems and wash their mouth so no remnants of the plant is left.
Also clean its paws with running water to help remove any remains there. This will prevent another reaction when your pet starts licking itself.
Never induce vomiting unless your vet advises you to. And if your cat is vomiting, make sure it gets enough water to prevent hydration.
Although there are some medications you can use, none of them will treat peace lily toxicity.
However, they can help relieve discomfort including mouth and throat swelling. You can also use stomach irritation medication to reduce their gastrointestinal discomfort.
Again, make sure to check with your vet before administering any medication.
How to Keep Cats Away from Peace Lilies
The best way to keep your cat away from peace lilies it to place the plant somewhere out of its reach.
If possible, keep your peace lily in a separate area where your cat does not roam around. Although if you’re a pet lover, this is a bit difficult since your cat will likely go pretty much anywhere around the house including your room, yard and garden.
Another option is to use things that produce odors that cats don’t like.
Coffee grounds and orange peels are two everyday food items that you may have. Both repel cats. So, you can place it around the plant to keep the animal away.
If you have cayenne pepper, you can likewise make a spray from it (with water) and spray around the plant. Although, this is more temporary as its effects will wear off after it dries.
As stressful as the feeling of peace lily toxicity to cats is, the important thing to know that it is not fatal. And that your pet should be okay after a while.
Sadly, it will take quite a few hours before the discomfort and pain will subside. Then a few more before your cat feels better.
It will likewise take a while before all the symptoms go away.
The good news is, your cat should make a full recover from peat lily poisoning.