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Home > Cats > Are Peace Lilies Toxic to Cats? Toxicity Facts (Vet Answer)

Are Peace Lilies Toxic to Cats? Toxicity Facts (Vet Answer)

White cat behind peace lily leaf

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Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo

Written by

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Are Peace Lilies toxic to cats? In many cultures, these pretty lilies stand for inner harmony and healing. While that’s all well and good, and the white flowers are indeed gorgeous, they won’t bring peace and harmony to your pets. Luckily, peace lilies do not belong to the types of lilies considered deadly; those are Lilium (true lilies) and Hemerocallis (day lilies) species. All species within these two groups of plants cause acute kidney damage and are life threatening.

Peace Lilies, while classed as moderately toxic, especially when compared to true and day lilies, can still poison your cat.

Read on as we discuss how peace Lilies are toxic to cats, the signs that your cat has been poisoned, and what you need to do about it.


Why Are Peace Lilies Toxic to Cats?

The Pet Poison Hotline states that the Mauna Loa Plant, also known as peace lily (Spathiphyllum species), contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which are toxic to cats. If your cat chews on the flowers, stems or even the leaves of this plant, the crystals are released. Injury to your cat is caused when the crystals start to penetrate the cat’s tissues.

The plant doesn’t have to be ingested to cause injury. It can cause extremely painful damage just by being in the cat’s mouth.

Though it is moderately toxic to cats, the peace lily isn’t as toxic as some other forms of lilies, including daylilies. The toxins in the peace lily don’t damage your cat’s kidneys, but they do cause oral and digestive irritation. Still, it’s best to always keep any type of lilies away from your feline friends.

Peace lily
Image by: Pixabay

Signs of Peace Lily Poisoning in Cats

The ASPCA tells us to look out for the following signs that your cat has ingested parts of a peace lily:
  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • A decrease in appetite
  • It seems like the cat’s mouth is burning

The biggest sign that your cat has ingested some of your peace lily is a constant rubbing of their paws on their face and around their mouth. In addition, the cat will show increased signs of being in pain and being uncomfortable. It is possible that their lips, mouth, and tongue will be visibly swollen as well.

It’s best to just remove any poisonous plants from your home to keep your feline pal safe and your dog’s safety as well.

Tips for Identifying a Peace Lily

Of course, it’s possible that you don’t even know you have a peace lily on the property. Many people bring in plants just because they’re pretty and fragrant, without knowing what they are, or that they could be a danger to their pets.

Peace lilies have curved white flowers that stand erect. The leaves are a shiny emerald-green color. These plants can grow up to 3 feet tall. Though most peace lily plants have emerald-green leaves, some have stripes or slight tinges of cream located in the center of the leaves, so it’s important to look out for those.

Peace lily closeup
Image by: Pixabay

What Is the Treatment for Peace Lily Poisoning?

While peace lilies are moderately toxic, you still need to be concerned if your pet ingests any of the plant. Most cases usually resolve within a couple of hours if your cat has only taken a nibble of the plant. You can rinse your cat’s mouth, remove any residual pieces of the plant, and contact your veterinarian. Your vet may recommend you to give a tiny bit of milk or yogurt before heading to the clinic to give temporary relief to your cat. You’ll want to make an appointment with your vet right away, just to be on the safe side. Also, make sure to take a snip of the plant with you, so your vet can identify that it is indeed a peace lily and administer treatment if needed.

Tips for Preventing Cats from Eating Peace Lilies

The safest way, of course, to keep your cats from eating peace lilies is by avoiding having the plants at all. Make sure any plant you keep at home is included in the list of non-toxic plants from the ASPCA. It is possible, though, that you want to stop your cat from going into your flowers, even if they are safe for them.

There are a few ways to prevent your cat from getting into your flowers. We’ll go into a few of them below.
  • Set up a fence so cats can’t reach your flowers. Add gravel to your plant’s soil to keep the cat from digging in it. 
  • Create a cat-friendly alternative with catnip or cat grass
  • If all else fails, set a motion-activated sprinkler of water to go off when your cat approaches your flower beds. 

Remember, these are just recommendations on how to keep your cat out of flower beds, but each cat is different, and what works for one may not work for others.

Image Credit: Georgia Evans, Shutterstock

Cat-Safe Plants

While all plants with “lily” in their name are either deadly toxic or moderately toxic to your feline companion, there are some cat-friendly plants out there that can add to the décor in your home, yet keep your cat safe and sound.

Even if your cats chew on these plants, they shouldn’t do them any harm. Some plants to try include boston ferns (Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis), polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya), and Swedish ivy (Pilea nummulariifolia).

However, it’s still essential to purchase the exact plant that’s listed as being safe for cats. For example, the boston fern is non-toxic to cats, but other ferns, such as emerald fern (Asparagus densiflorus), are poisonous. Also, remember that any plant a cat ingests can make them vomit, so still be careful with your cats around any plants or flowers.


Peace Lilies and Your Cat

So, the answer to the question above is yes, peace lilies are toxic to cats. Therefore, keeping the lilies away from your cat is a must. If your cat does get into the plant, you should take them to the vet immediately. They are not life-threatening, but they will make them sick, so prompt action is always required.

Looking for more information on plant toxicity? Check out:

Featured Image Credit: Natali Kuzina, Shutterstock

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