Are Lily of the Valley Poisonous To Cats?

Whether you already have a lily of the valley growing in your garden or you’re deliberating introducing one, it’s worth knowing whether or not it poses a risk to cats, be it your own or that of your neighbors. After all, you wouldn’t want to risk poisoning them! Today, we will be exploring all you need to know.

So, are lily of the valley poisonous to cats? Lily of the valley is extremely toxic to cats. From its leaves to its flowers and its roots, every part of it poses a threat if consumed, and the side effects can range from mild to life-threatening. 

Below, I’ve further explored the damage that a lily of the valley is capable of inflicting upon a cat, as well as steps that you can take to keep the two apart. 

Will Cats Eat Lily of the Valley?

Unfortunately, cats may consume lily of the valley plants, if given the opportunity, despite their poisonous nature. 

Perhaps they’re attracted to its fresh yet sweet scent or its soft silky petals. 

Or maybe it’s simply the cat’s innate curiosity that takes over and leads its stomach. 

We’ll never have a definitive answer on the origins of the attraction, but regardless of the reason, there’s no doubt that it’s a big problem. 

What Would Happen To A Cat If They Ate Lily of the Valley?

If lily of the valley is directly consumed, a cat will likely to suffer from a range of worrisome symptoms – from diarrhea and vomiting to heart and even kidney disease. In the worst possible scenario, the cat at hand may even die. 

These same symptoms can be expected if your cat manages to ingest your lily of the valley indirectly too. 

That is if it unintentionally brushes against it and transfers its pollen onto its fur, only to lick itself clean thereafter.

How To Keep Cats Away From Your Lily of the Valley

Given the terrible side effects that it causes, it’s imperative that you strive to decrease the likelihood of your cat munching on your lily of the valley of the plant. 

Fortunately, there are several ways to go about doing so. 

For ease, I’ve outlined the most effective of the bunch below. 

Scent Deterrents

Placing scent deterrents around your lily of the valley is one of the most strategic yet simple methods to prevent your cat from eating it. 

There are a plethora of smells that cats dislike, so go ahead and take your pick! 

At the top of the list are the likes of vinegar, citrus, eucalyptus, mustard, and even coffee.

You could place one or two of these scents by your plant individually or even whip up a solution comprising more than one of them. 

Just remember to respray the scent periodically. Otherwise, it will quickly disappear and lose its effectiveness. 

A few times a week should do it! 

Install A Physical Barrier

Another solution to deter your cat from accessing your lily of the valley plant altogether is to install a physical barrier. 

What better way to send a message?!

It could be anything from a fence to a gate to strategically positioned chicken wire.

Whichever you opt for, it’s an opportunity to exercise your creative streak and add a new structure to your garden. 

Of course, it’s no secret that cats are excellent climbers, so it’s worth factoring this into your decision-making and striving to bring in as much height as you can. 

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to put a more lowkey barrier in place, you might want to consider placing mulch or gravel around your lily of the valley plant.

These materials have an intrinsically rough texture which may offer enough discomfort to ward your cat away from the area.  

Monitor Your Cat 

In addition to this, I recommended that when your cat goes outside, you strive to go with it.

It’s understandable that this isn’t possible all the time, but it’s worth doing once or twice to truly understand why and when your cat heads over to your lily of the valley. 

If you spot it in the act, you’ll be able to stop it there and then. 

And if your cat appears to head over to the plant out of sheer boredom, that’s your cue to increase its playtime and toys to keep it busy, distracted, and stimulated too! 

Keep Your Cat Feeling Full 

Finally, do your best to make sure that your cat has a full stomach at all times. 

That may take the form of larger meal portions or more frequent feedings. 

The logic behind this thinking is fairly simple. 

Essentially, If your cat doesn’t have any room for more food, it becomes less likely that it will seek more. 

There’s no guarantee that this approach will work, particularly given the inquisitive nature of most cats, but it’s certainly worth a shot. 

Other Suggestions When Keeping Lily of the Valley Around Cats

Reconsider Your Garden 

Finally, if you’ve tried all of the above measures, but your cat still can’t stay away from your lily of the valley, 

it may be time to reconsider which plants have a place in your garden. 

It would be a shame to see your lilies go, but your cat’s health is of utmost importance, and there are several plants out there that don’t pose any risk whatsoever. 

Seek Medical Attention

If your cat eats your lily of the valley plant, be sure to seek medical treatment as promptly as you can. 

Even if your cat hasn’t yet displayed any signs of ill health, the symptoms could emerge at any time, and when they do, they could cause the health of your cat to demise at a rapid rate.

Thus, it’s imperative to get your cat in the hands of a qualified professional who can provide the crucial care and treatment that it needs.