Bee Carrying Lily Pollen Kills Cat

This is a freak accident but nonetheless a very real possibility. We know that lilies are highly toxic to cats. The pollen of the lily can kill a cat. Lilies should never be in a house in which there are domestic cats.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

On this occasion Kristian Turner’s cat Loras was stung by a bee which was carrying toxic lily pollen. The small amount of pollen on the bee was ingested by Loras and it was enough to kill him. The pollen caused his kidneys to shut down.

Loras was being cared for by Kristian’s mother in Stoke-on-Trent while he was moving home in Cambridge. She noticed that Loras had been stung by a bee and was licking the area of the sting. He was taken to a vet who treated him for an infection and then discovered that he was suffering from lily poisoning but too late to save him.

Lily poisoning has to be diagnosed very quickly, within 48 hours, otherwise it appears to be fatal due to acute renal failure. Cats treated within 18 hours normally recover, it is said. The symptoms of renal failure are depression, vomiting, loss of appetite, dehydration. Blood work identifies the presence of the toxin. There are no effective home treatments.

I’d be surprised if anybody would envisage or imagine that a cat could be poisoned by lily pollen carried by a bee. I would have thought that a bee could transfer the pollen to a cat even though the bee didn’t sting the cat. The dangerous aspect of lily pollen is that it is so toxic and only a small amount is necessary to seriously harm or kill a domestic cat.

My research tells me that lilies are not toxic to people (or far less toxic). This begs the question what is the difference between cats and humans that makes lily pollen so toxic to cats. I am yet to find the answer. Apparently the exact toxin is yet to be identified.

Is not just the pollen which is toxic to cats. All parts of the lily including the leaves, petals, stem and stamens are poisonous to cats. Even minor exposure can be fatal.

Caretaker/guardians should be very aware of the dangers of lilies to cats. Easter lilies, tiger lilies, stargazer lilies and day lilies are the ones which are the most toxic. Other species of lily apparently do not cause kidney damage but that does not mean that they’re not dangerous because they are toxic in their own right.

9 thoughts on “Bee Carrying Lily Pollen Kills Cat”

    • Sadly, any species of lily is highly toxic to cats, including the Spider variety.

      Lilies are beautiful and I can understand if you’re reluctant to dig-up rare plants. I don’t have any poisonous plants in my garden, but I do sometimes use sections of trellis to ring-fence plants I’d prefer the cats leave alone. Perhaps a similar arrangement could work with the lillies around your trees?

  1. That is so sad. After reading this, I have the strongest urge to dig up ALL of the lilies in my yard! But, my cat only gets supervised visits to the yard and, thankfully, doesn’t seem too interested in stinging insects.

    • Cat’s Meow: It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so I urge you to please dig up the lilies growing in your garden.

      Your cat may have supervised visits to your garden, but other cats may come into contact with the lilies. They need only brush up against the plant, to risk being fatally poisoned when they groom themselves later on.

      All varieties and all parts of the lily are highly toxic to cats. It’s a horribly painful death and unless the cat is treated by a vet within 6 hours, the chances of survival are not great and rapidly decrease with every passing minute.

      Please, let’s try to save any more cats from suffering like poor Catalina;

  2. How awful for this to happen to poor Loras. The odds of a cat being killed by a lily-pollen, carrying bee must be a million to one!

    Sophie was stung by a wasp when she was a kitten and suffered an extreme reaction. She began drooling and quickly became limp and lifeless. We rushed her to the vet (taking the dead wasp with us) where she was treated immediately for anaphylactic shock. Thankfully she made a rapid and full recovery.

    Did the vet know Loras had been stung? Or was he not exhibiting any of the classic (and almost immediate) symptoms of a toxic reaction? I’m just curious as to why the vet treated him for an infection, rather than suspecting some form of anaphylaxis.

  3. There are so many plants that are poisonous to cats. My cats have been stung before by wasp. I don’t think we have lily’s in my area-but bee’s travel a great distance. I will pay more attention from here on out. Thanks for the FYI.

  4. This is very sad, and a difficult one to anticipate when lilies grow in so many places. They are right next door to me. Only yesterday I was watching the bees flit around the flowers when I was outside with Mitzy.

    I never knew about plants being poisonous to cats, until a few years ago. I never thought about it. None of my previous cats ate anything but grass. Mitzy started eating bamboo leaves instead of the kitty grass I grew. I read that bamboo is o.k.

    I will share this with others on my FB page, and local bulletin boards.

    • I think most cat lovers know of plants poisonous to cats but a bee carrying lily pollen. That is a new one for me. There are some real and hidden hazards for cats.


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