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Are Calla Lilies Poisonous to Cats? What You Need to Know!

Ed Malaker

Calla lilies are a popular lily that you will find in many gardens across the United States, and it also makes a great potting plant. It is easy to grow and has stunningly beautiful flowers that come in many colors, including red and white. Since they are so popular, many cat owners wonder if they’re poisonous to their pets. Unfortunately, calla lilies are poisonous to cats and dogs, and you should try to keep your pets away from them whenever possible. Keep reading while we discuss why these lilies are toxic, as well as how you can tell if a cat got into them so you can keep your pet safe and healthy.

divider-catAre Calla Lilies Poisonous?

Yes. According to the ASPCA, calla lilies are toxic to cats because they contain insoluble calcium oxalates.  Besides calla lilies, you will find insoluble calcium oxalates in the peace lily, arrowhead, philodendron, Chinese evergreen, golden pothos, umbrella plant, and many others.

calla lilly
Image credit: MiniMe-70, Pixabay

Symptoms of Insoluble Calcium Oxalate Poisoning

When your cat bites into calla lilies or other plants containing insoluble calcium oxalates, it releases the microscopic crystals, which immediately begin cutting into your pet’s mouth. The crystals will also work their way into the GI tract tearing into tissue along the way. If your cat got into some calla lilies, one of the first symptoms is likely to be mouth pain followed by drooling. Many cats will also start scratching at their mouth, and some may even begin to vomit or suffer from swelling in the upper airways that make it difficult to breathe. It’s highly likely your cat will also experience a decreased appetite until the mouth heals.

What Do I Do If My Cat Eats Calla Lilies?

cat at vet with owner and veternarian
Image Credit: 4 PM production, Shutterstock

Often when a cat bites into calla lilies, the crystals do their work immediately. As a result, the cat quickly realizes it did something wrong, so it’s not likely to consume a lot, and reactions are minor in most cases. Your cat will usually walk around with its mouth open after biting into the plant because it hurts to close it, which causes the cat to start drooling and sometimes paw at its mouth. Seeing your cat like this can be alarming, but it’s important to stay calm and take your cat to the vet to receive the proper treatment.

-Related read: Are Succulents Poisonous to Cats? What You Need to Know!

Calla Lilies white
Image Credit: Pixabay

Will Poisoning from Calla Lilies Cause Liver Failure?

Eating calla lilies will not cause liver damage because these are not true lilies. True lilies belong to the Liliaceae family, which contains more than 600 species of lily, and these plants can cause liver damage if your cat eats them. Calla lilies belong to the Araceae family and cause problems for your cat by cutting up the tissue along the gastrointestinal tract. Most of the damage is around the mouth area, and the crystals do not reach the liver.

-Related read: Are Tulips Toxic to Cats? What You Need to Know!


Eating calla lilies will quickly tear up the mouth of your pet, and some of their crystals can travel further into the gastrointestinal tract causing severe damage, especially if your pet manages to eat a lot. Luckily, most cats know they’ve done something wrong immediately and quickly run away from the plant, so only minor damage occurs. There are high chances that your pet will be back to normal in a few weeks after some treatment from a vet. Though they may be beautiful, we recommend avoiding the temptation to plant calla lilies, peace lilies, and all real lilies on your property.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who has contributed to a wide range of blogs that cover tools, pets, guitars, fitness, and computer programming. When he’s not writing, Ed is usually performing DIY projects around the house or working in the garden. He’s also a musician and spends a lot of time helping people fix their guitars and composing music for independent films.