The Toxicity of Lily Pollen

Updated July 19, 2017

While beautiful to look at, flowers in the Lilium family are highly toxic to cats. All parts of the lily are poisonous, but the pollen contains the highest concentration of toxins.


Cats may be poisoned by eating any part of the lily flower. Older cats are most often poisoned when the animal brushes up against a lily and pollen collects on the cat's coat. The cat later ingests the pollen while licking its fur during grooming.


Lilies can cause acute kidney failure in felines, though the toxin principle remains unknown. Symptoms of lily ingestion include vomiting, anorexia, respiratory problems and swelling of the face and paws. If caught in time, treatment involves inducing vomiting and supporting the kidneys via IV fluids. Some cats will require hemodialysis, and some will not survive despite aggressive treatment.


Cat lovers should use care when introducing any type of lily into the garden or bringing cut lilies into the home. When lilies exist in a cat's environment and it begins showing signs of possible poisoning, seek veterinary care immediately.

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About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Angela Tedson has been writing slice-of-life articles since 2005. Her work has appeared in "Southern Family" magazine and "Angie's List" magazine. Tedson holds an Associate of Arts degree from the Art Institute of Atlanta.