Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Most "Precious" Message About Plants That May Be Toxic To Cats

FROM CAT CHAT WITH CAREN AND CODY: As we mentioned on Monday, we are in the midst of Pet Poison Prevention Week. Keeping with that theme, we would like to repeat a post that we did back on April 17, 2010, when we were brand spanking new to the world of blogging. 

This post is a TRUE STORY, and addresses how hazardous houseplants and flowers can be to our feline friends.

The "boy" mentioned in this post, (Zack Flewelling), is now a teenage, handsome young man.

 I had been contacted by Zack's Dad in April of 2010 asking me if I would share his "message", I was  happy to do that  then and am happy to do that now.

 I am sure when Zack sees this post repeated, he will be thankful that this special message from his cat "Precious" lives on.
Zack and "Precious"
It is hard enough to lose a pet when it passes of old age, it is another thing entirely to have your pet die suddenly at the still vital age of 7, which is how old Zack Flewelling's cat "Precious" was when she died suddenly just a few weeks ago.

Zack Flewelling, age 12, possesses a caring and sensitivity at his young age that many much older than he will ever attain.

Back track to approx. April 11th when Zack's Dad, Jerry was relaxing at home, while his wife (Jennifer), and kids ran to the store.  He noticed Precious meowing more than usual, not in a "feed me" kind of way, it was more like a "low growling". When Jerry went to scoop her up "she was like water, there was nothing to her, she was totally limp and very cold but aware."

They rushed her to the vet where they discovered that Precious was in renal failure. The vet also wanted to know if Precious had gotten into any rat poisoning or "was there anything else she could have ingested"?

When the doctor left the room Jennifer's eyes spotted a bulletin board with a sign that said "DANGER! Easter Lilies are toxic to cats and dogs" Her heart sunk. They had had an Easter Lily plant on their table for a week now which they had paid no mind because Precious ate the houseplants "all of the time". Jennifer called Jerry at home and had him photograph the Easter Lily with his cell phone. Sure enough, many leaves were gone and there were teeth marks in them, Precious had "eaten it, and a lot of it".

Photo Courtesy of the ASPCA


The Flewellings and the vet tried everything, but there was nothing that could save Precious, she passed early the following morning.

When I spoke to Zack who is devastated by the loss of his dear "Precious", there was no hint of anger, just a young man with a thoughtfulness and depth beyond his years. When I asked Zack what the message was that he wanted to relay about Precious, he said, "I want an article to be put in the paper to let people know that plants do not come with "warnings" like other dangerous things do", he continued, "there are many poisonous plants out there, Easter Lilies and tomato plants", just to name a few.

Zack is right, there are literally hundreds of plants that are poisonous to both cats and dogs, and on most lists these plants are not identified by a photo, which makes it that much harder to know which plants are safe and which are not.

Zack said that "his mission now is to spread the word to other cat owners (and dog owners as well) that plants should come with a warning", (as well they should, or they can be researched online or  at the library or bookstores, to find out if they are toxic to animals). Zack would "love to spare anyone else the pain" that he is experiencing after having lost his beloved cat, Precious,  by making them aware that toxic plants exist and to keep them away from cats and dogs.

Zack's cat may have been named "Precious" but Zack, with his unselfishness and caring for others, by wanting this message relayed for the safety of their pets, is quite "Precious" himself.

FOR A LIST OF TOXIC AND NON-TOXIC PLANTS FROM THE ASPCA CLICK HERE


****NOTE:if you suspect your animal may have ingested a poisonous plant or other poisonous item the symptoms can range from seizures and foaming at the mouth to vomiting and coma. DO NOT WAIT FOR SYMPTOMS TO APPEAR. Immediate medical attention is necessary.


THE ASPCA 24-HOUR EMERGENCY POISON HOTLINE IS 888-426-4435 (There is a $65 fee payable via credit card)


37 comments:

  1. Poor Zack..but what an outstanding young man turning anger and sadness into helping others..i rarely have flowers inside and when I do they are out of reach..the garden poses problems for outdoor cats too..and I think people need to realise while the weather changes and people are gardening that things such as blood and bone are toxic as are many other gardening additives..bulbs are a real worry to for an animal that likes to dig things up!.. great post Caren :) hugs Bev xx

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  2. Such a sad story :( Reminds me of one that is similar, but the ending turned out a little better. Someone gave our vet clinic an Easter Lilly one year, and the kennel manager took it home with her. Well, her cat ended up eating it and ironically we had to hospitalize him for a while. (She knew the plant was toxic before she took it.) He survived, thankfully. As someone who knows the nursery business a little bit, I think it would be a great idea to include if a plant is toxic to plants on the tag that comes with them as a warning.

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    1. Ann thank you for sharing. I guess my gut reaction is to ask my the Kennel Manager took it home to begin with when she knew it was toxic? I could see taking it home and leaving it outside away from animals...but....
      I couldn't agree more about Nurseries taking the time to include warnings on their tags....they tell us how to feed and water the plants but nothing is ever said about the dangers they can cause our pets. Great idea xoxo

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  3. That story makes me so sad. My human knows we cats chew on everything, so the only plants she ever has here are roses, and even those she tries to keep out of our reach. She won't even touch or even go near a lily for fear that she'll bring home some of the pollen! I'm so glad you are continuing to spread the word.

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    1. Ugh Summer, when I was contacted by Zack's father in 2010 it broke my heart. It was just after when Precious passed. I used to have roses here, I stopped those too. My poor husband, I have a fit if he brings me flowers, it is because Cody will eat ANYTHING...I have no place that I can put them that will be safe, except for on the balcony. I get my "flower fix" there in the summer because Cody does not go out there.

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  4. Thanks for posting this. I had a post planned about it too but I was keeping it for Easter week;
    There should be more warnings because a lot of people have no idea that some plants are toxic to pets.

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

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    1. Marie thank you. I am hoping you still post yours, as we have different audiences. Not to mention, I think we sadly could talk about this until we are blue in the face and there are still going to be MILLIONS of people bringing toxic plants into their homes, just because they are unaware. The more we all talk about it, the more people we will reach! I agree that there should be stickers or labels with plants as warnings. xoxoxo

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  5. What a sad story... Great reminder ! Purrs

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  6. That is sad and we have had some cases of Lily poisoning here too. Always a good thing to spread the information as of course prevention is key. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. Ugh Molly I am so sorry to hear that. I think many are not aware of the hazards of Easter Lilies. When I see certain flowers on tables where cats live, I cringe. You have a tremendous Thursday too. xoxo

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  7. Good information but that is a sad story.

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  8. It's amazing how many plants are toxic to pets.......this is a truly sad story that illustrates how careful we should be when bringing a plant into the house OR how vigilant we must be when our animals are outside where plants are EVERYWHERE.

    Hugs, Pam

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  9. I think I'm fortunate in that I don't like to chew plants except my favourite patch of grass. A sad story and a necessary reminder!

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  10. We agree with Ann, that the nursery's should put a warning on plants that can harm animals. A lot of people just don't know that and don't read blogs. It sure would help a lot of animals. Thanks for this sad but good story.

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  11. So sad. It's hard enough to lose them to old age indeed, but Precious was still so very young. What a wonderful young man Zack is.

    Have a fabulous day. Scritches to Cody. ☺

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  12. What sadness for Zack and his family. They didn't know and I'm sure felt so much anguish over that fact. I am so sorry they lost Precious at such an early age. It is commendable that he wanted to make other aware. We hope that Zack's heart has healed and that he found another "precious" to give his love and care to.

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  13. Oh my, that is so sad :(
    Absolutely right though, plants do not come with warnings, and not only are a lot of them poisonous to cats, but to infants and toddlers too, who like to put anything and everything in their mouths.
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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    1. Oh wow Jenna, excellent point! Not having children of my own, I never thought about them being poisonous to toddlers and infants. Thanks for the info! xoxo

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  14. That poor furmily and boy to loose their kitty like that:((

    Our home has no real plants in it since several years ago, when a distraught (now Angel)Suki started noshing on our plants that she had previously ignored...and though the toxicity was not too horrid, she foamed at the mouth and barfed...so out they all went!

    Good thing because our two now are biters par excellence!

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  15. The story of Precious made Mom's heart hurt! Probably every plant in our yard is on the bad list for cats. Mom has to be super careful what flowers she brings in the house 'cause Lisbeth is a plant eater! She has bookmarked that page from the ASPCA with all the bad and okay plants listed. Thanks for the link. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

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    1. Lisbeth is like Mr.Cody! He chews on anything and everything! (Tape, plastic, paper....his latest? Scratch-off lottery tickets and my checkbook lol, maybe he wants some money? lol) In all seriousness, I have to refer to the list too ..mostly for when we take Dakota for walks. Dakota doesn't normally chew plants when we walk but he tries to eat poop! lol. You are most welcome! xoxo

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  16. Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes we forget. . . .

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  17. What a heartbreaking story! I can't even imagine going through something like that… wow. We've stopped bringing flowers and plants into the house altogether. Delilah eats any and every flower/plant, so rather than risk her getting sick, we just don't bring anything in.

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    1. Delilah sounds like Cody. When he is angry about not being fed fast enough...he goes around and chews anything and everything that he can get his mouth on. I call him my "mal-adjusted" cat lol......it is so hard keeping up with him and moving things that could possibly harm him, that flowers/plants were banned!

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  18. That is so sad. Sorry for their loss. Thanks for the information about toxic plants/flowers.
    Sue B

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  19. That is such a sad story. I have never chewed on plants, only grass. My mum used to have lilies growing in the garden but always cut the pollen off so we didn't get it on our fur. She dug them up a few years ago when she heard the leaves are toxic too.

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  20. What a sad story. We feel so bad for Zack. He sounds like a really remarkable young man, and we'll be sure to share the message this year about lilies.

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  21. A sad story...but an important message to get out there again and again. The mom worries because I like to chew on plants. The mom has a few of them around here (no lilies!) and I chew on them. I know I shouldn't, but I just can't help myself. ~Wally

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  22. How very sad that Zack lost his "Precious" in such an unexpected way. It's very brave of him to want to honor Precious by helping spread the word that lilies are toxic to cats. Everyone makes a big deal about poinsettias at Christmas, but lilies are much more dangerous.

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  23. So sad. We've been planning our garden and agree - it's SO HARD to find out what's good and what's bad! Apparently day lilies are edible for people and terrible poisonous to cats and many peopl emay think that because we can eat them, cats can too and that can be so dangerous and deadly! I think it's important to research all plants that come into the house. Luckily my kitties aren't into plants but I'm still careful in case one decides to change her mind. - Alana.

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  24. I kinda wish lilies came with a warning on them..

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  25. Great post Caren! We lost a cat to eating a poisonous houseplant when I was young. From that point on, may Mother taught the cats (and us) house plants were NOT for eating and she always made sure she had rye or barley (cat grass) for her cats. Its not a difficult thing to do and it will save their lives.
    Thanks for the reminder and the link!

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    1. Oh I am sooo sorry!!!! But....thank goodness your Mom was vigilant after and you learned...I never knew any of this til I was an adult! You are most welcome! Have a great weekend!

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