Peace Lilies And Your Cat

Peace Lilies And Your Cat

peace lily catsThe Peace Lily, or Spathiphyllum sp, is a common indoor flowering plant in the Araceae family. If is often grown indoors or in heavily shaded areas due to its ability to thrive in low light conditions. Given its has a similar common name to the Lily, many cat owners are concerned about having this plant grow in or around their house. Indeed, Liles in the Lilium and Hemerocallis genus are extremely toxic to cats. There have been case reports of cats grooming their coat after simply brushing past Lilium or Hemerocallis flowers and subsequently developing life-threatening poisoning with kidney failure.

So are Peace Lilies and cats a good mix & is it safe for cat owners to keep a Peace Lily in the house?

Fortunately, the Peace Lily does not carry the same level of risk as Lilium or Hermocallis variants, but it is certainly not without harm when a cat or dog chews on or swallows part of the plant. All parts of the Peace Lily contain microscopic needle-like crystals known as insoluble oxalates. When these structures come in contact with the mouth and tongue, they cause an immediate burning sensation. This can result in drooling, excessive licking, pawing at the mouth, vomiting, difficulty or pain on swallowing and vomiting.

In most cases, these symptoms will settle rapidly with a cool demulcent such as yoghurt or lactose-free milk. Rarely, affected tissues can become swollen which in severe cases can lead to swelling of the upper airway and problems breathing. Insoluble oxalates will not damage a cat’s kidneys, which is the main concern with Lilium exposures.

So are Peace Lilies safe for cats? They certainly are of less concern than Liles of the Lilium and Hemerocallis genus, however if your cat is likely to bite into attractive flowers or leaves then we would advise NOT to keep this plant in your house. If your cat has chewed or eaten any part of a Peace Lily, you can call the Australian Animal Poisons Centre on 1300-TOX-PET (1300 869 738) for first-aid advice and a risk assessment.

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