By Tim Devaney - 04/14/14 03:59 PM EDT
Easter lilies are to cats what chocolate is to dogs, according to a new warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA on Monday warned cat owners not to have Easter lilies and other types of flowers in their homes, because they can be poisonous to cats, leading to vomiting and frequent urinating, and eventually destroy their kidneys. Generally speaking, cats cannot be exposed by smelling these spring flowers, the agency wrote, but they can be affected by eating the flowers or licking pollen grains from the flowers that fall onto their fur.
Cats that are exposed to Easter lilies as well as Tiger, Asiatic, Day, and Japanese Show lilies, could die within a week of consumption, the agency said.
"Even if they eat a couple of leaves or lick a few pollen grains off their fur, cats can suffer acute kidney failure within a very short period of time," the FDA wrote.
The FDA said the Easter lily's leaf, pollen, and flower are all poisonous to cats. Furthermore, Lilies of the Valley are toxic to cats' hearts, because it causes an abnormal heart rhythm.
Meanwhile, Calla lilies and Peace lilies can cause irritation to a cat's mouth and esophagus, though they did not cause kidney failure.
The FDA advised cat owners to keep Easter lilies out of home. However, if they are going to display the flowers in their home, cat owners should put them in a place where cats can't reach them.
If a cat is exposed, the agency said they should be brought to an emergency veterinary clinic for treatment.
However, other animals do not face the same risks from eating Easter lilies.
"Lilies are not a great danger to dogs," the FDA wrote. "Dogs may have some gastrointestinal issues if they eat a lily, but nothing considered life-threatening."