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Cats Protection responds to Monty Don's view of lilies

03 April 2018
Below is a letter Cats Protection has sent to BBC Gardeners' World, in connection with a recent episode where Monty Don discussed cats and lilies:  

Dear BBC Gardeners’ World,

I’m writing on behalf of Cats Protection to express our concerns about Monty Don’s recent suggestion that people don’t need to worry about cats coming into contact with lilies in the garden.

Lilies are in fact extremely dangerous for felines and it is one of the most common forms of cat poisonings that we come across in our cat welfare work.

Cats can be badly affected after eating any part of the lily plant or simply brushing past the flower and then grooming the pollen from their fur. Symptoms of lily poisoning include drooling, vomiting, marked lethargy, urinary difficulties and severe kidney failure, meaning many cats lose their lives in a great deal of pain and suffering.  

If a cat is suspected to have ingested any part of a lily plant or is seen to have licked pollen from their fur, then it is vital to rush the cat to a vet as soon as possible because they will need urgent treatment.

We have been in contact with leading supermarkets and florists to ask them to improve the wording on bouquets that contain lilies, and I would ask you to consider what you can do immediately to help warn people about the dangers of lilies.  It is vital that we do all that we can to prevent lily poisonings in cats.

Our advice on lilies, and other dangerous plants for cats, can be found at https://www.cats.org.uk/dangerous-plants

Yours faithfully,

Lucinda Alderton-Sell

Field Veterinary Officer

Cats Protection