Dear Christopher Cat: My name is Lily (actually Lillian), and my favorite flowers are, not surprisingly, lilies. I’m moving to the country, and I want to plant day lilies along my fence and Asiatic and tiger lilies around the yard. I plan to set stargazer lilies against the house, so their fragrance will waft inside when the windows are open.
A cat door is built into the house, so my cats will have access to the yard. They’ve never been outdoors. Will they damage my lilies?
Christopher Responds: I’m more worried about the lilies hurting your cats.
All parts of a lily are toxic to cats. Chewing or ingesting a flower or leaf causes kidney failure and, without veterinary care, death. Even if your cat brushes up against a lily and then grooms off the pollen that sticks to her fur, she can be poisoned.
Many cats are attracted to lilies and manage to break through fences to reach them.
Since your cats are already accustomed to living indoors, the safest plan is to keep them inside by sealing the cat door.
If your cats do venture outside, you’ll have to choose pet-safe plants, such as begonias, bachelor buttons, camellias, cockscombs, hens and chicks, ice plants, marigolds, snapdragons, sweet Williams or zinnias.
For a complete list, see www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants.