International Cat Care has responded to a comment made on BBC Gardeners' World about lily toxicity:
Dear BBC Gardeners’ World,
We are writing in response to the recent suggestion on BBC Gardeners’ World that although lilies are poisonous to cats, owners should not worry about growing them in their gardens.
This unfortunately is a misleading comment, as lilies pose a great risk to cats. Lilies contain a toxin that makes eating even the smallest amount of any part of the plant – flowers, leaves, stem or pollen – extremely dangerous to cats. Even licking the pollen off their coat can cause grave illness. Once ingested, the toxin causes severe damage to the kidneys, which can cause the kidneys to fail and even result in death.
Although cats are fastidious creatures and are usually careful about what they eat, young and inquisitive cats may be at risk of eating harmful plants, and even adult cats may still accidentally ingest poisonous material, for example by grooming off pollen that has fallen onto their coats .
It is always better to be safe than sorry – therefore International Cat Care strongly recommends that cat owners and cat lovers do not grow lilies in their gardens. We work hard to raise awareness of the dangers that lilies pose to cats – see our website for more details: https://icatcare.org/cat-campaigns/lily-toxicity.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message.
International Cat Care