Archive for cats

Oct
09

Curiosity (Almost) Killed the Cat

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A few weeks ago, my husband brought me a bouquet of flowers. They were beautiful yellow lilies with red roses and greenery. He likes to surprise me with flowers now and then and this was the first time he had gotten me lilies. I put them on a stand by the front door so I could admire them. I liked them so much, that I took a picture with my phone.

The flowers I received from my husband

Friday night our cat Gracie was violently ill, she threw up a lot, not just a little hairball, but some serious stuff. I thought this was unusual and was trying to figure out what could have made her sick. Not to gross you out, but the puke was tinted yellowish which was odd. I was trying to figure out what she could have gotten into when Jake mentioned that the lilies were yellow. I looked at the flowers and sure enough, a couple of petals were missing from one of the lilies. I came to the conclusion that she had eaten them.

Lilies are Highly Toxic to Cats!

I thought I would do some research online to see if there was something I could give Gracie to make her feel better. I knew that some plants were poisonous to cats, but figured she would probably feel better the next day. I googled the phrase “lilies poisonous to cats” and found a list of plants poisonous to cats. I was surprised when I saw that there was a whole separate page on lilies on the site I was visiting. The more I read, the more concerned I became. I discovered that lilies are one of THE most toxic plants to cats. Easter lilies and many varieties of day lilies were included in the list. They are highly poisonous even in small doses and can cause kidney failure! I was totally shocked! I felt like a terrible pet owner for not knowing this information. Any part of a lily is poisonous to cats, from the stem to the petals. I kept doing more research and found a couple of cases where people posted about their cats eating lilies and then dying. I was beside myself as you can imagine. From what I read, treatment should be done in 12 – 18 hours to avoid kidney damage. Some sites said treatment is needed within 6 hours.

I read that the normal course of events after a cat eats a piece of a lily is that they are sick and throw up. Then they may appear to get better. If a pet owner doesn’t know that the lilies are toxic, or doesn’t know that their cat ate one, they will just think the cat is feeling better. Until the cat’s kidneys begin to fail. According to my research, within 48 to 96 hours after consumption, the cat will tend to show signs of clinical kidney failure: increased urination, depression, stomach upset and dehydration. Once kidney failure begins, there is little that can be done to save the cat besides humanely putting it to sleep.  Without treatment, death tends to occur within 5 days.

Treatment for Lily Poisoning

Of course, this all happened at 9pm when there were no vets open besides an emergency vet (which is not cheap).  I decided to take Gracie first thing in the morning. When I took her to the vet, he was very concerned and said that cats eating lilies is similar to them eating antifreeze and has similar effects. However, since she had just eaten the lilies the night before, they could take her blood to see if any damage had been done yet and put her on an IV to flush the poison out of her system. He recommended starting with two days of the IV and then testing her blood again to check her BUN and Creatinine levels that indicate if the kidneys are functioning properly. So Gracie had to be admitted to the “hospital” and put on an IV. She was none too happy about that. As you can imagine, treatment is not cheap. Here is a picture of her on her IV. My husband wasn’t too thrilled about the vet bill, he said that those were the most expensive flowers he had ever gotten me!


Gracie in the hospita

Gracie was a very fortunate kitty. Much to my relief, after two days of being on an IV, her blood test came back normal and there was no kidney damage. She was happy to get home and get back to her normal routine.

Once a person knows that lilies are poisonous to cats, preventing lily poisoning is easy, just keep lilies out of the house or garden. Anywhere a cat might come in contact with them. There are dozens of other plants that are poisonous to cats and dogs as well. For a complete list, check the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center. While most plants are not as poisonous to cats as lilies, there are several that can make them very sick.

What can you do?

I have talked to a few cat owners in recent days, and none of them knew that lilies were toxic to cats. If you are a cat owner, be sure to keep lilies out of reach of your cats. If you know someone who is a cat owner, be sure to mention it to them. I ran across this pdf from UC Veterinary Medical Center, I think it would be a great idea to print off and see if vet offices in your area have a bulletin board it can be posted on. Also, increasing awareness at florist shops would be good. In my case I am happy to say, all is well that ends well!

Gracie reposing on her favorite chair

A healthy Gracie reposing on her favorite chair

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