Easter lilies could kill your cat. Photo / Thinkstock
Massey University veterinary researcher Kathleen Parton, an expert on toxicology in animals, has warned cat owners that lilies, popular over Easter, were potentially deadly to felines.
The toxic lilies of the Lilium and Hemerocallis genus included the Easter, Christmas and Stargazer varieties, she said.
"Cats have a tendency to eat the flowers or leaves of these lilies. But they're very poisonous and cats can then develop acute renal failure very quickly," Dr Parton said.
Even brushing past a flower could be dangerous because pollen could rub off on the cat's fur and then be eaten.
"Drinking the water the plant is in can also lead to poisoning," she said.
Owners who suspect their cat has been poisoned should seek help from a vet straight away, with the first 18 hours being critical.
"Without treatment the cat will begin to drink a lot of water, indicating kidney failure, and die within a few days," Dr Parton said.
"Early signs of poisoning include vomiting, not eating and depression, which appear within a few hours of eating the lily.''
Dr Parton said lilies should be kept away from cats entirely if possible.