Thursday, March 1, 2018

A Most "Precious" Message In Honor Of Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month

FROM CAT CHAT WITH CAREN AND CODY: As we approach the start of Poison Prevention Awareness Month, (which frankly should be EVERY month) 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. 

It is one thing to write about the perils of certain toxins after searching on the internet, it is another thing ENTIRELY  to have an email sent to you, begging and pleading to share a little boys' heart-breaking story. It was this little boy, (Zack Flewelling),  (who is now a grown man), who begged his Dad to contact me. This post is a TRUE STORY, and addresses how hazardous houseplants and flowers can be to our feline friends. When one hears a story that impacted someone else, it brings it that much closer and takes on an entirely different meaning.

 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.

 After I first posted this in 2010, I decided to make it  a yearly tradition to share this post, (occasionally I will make additions to it). I am sure when Zack sees this post repeated, he will be thankful that this special message from his cat "Precious" lives on.

(This year I added an infographic from SheKnows )

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.

Infographic From SheKnows

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.


****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 $60-something  fee payable via credit card)


  1. It is good to retell this sad story so that hopefully it may help others not to have to suffer loss like that.

  2. This is such an important thing to be aware of, and that is such a sad story. BUT... I don't think a lot of people know how far toxins for cats go. Did you know that Rogaine can fatally damage a cat's heart? When my human found that out, she was shocked - I love to chew on her hair, and she would never put me at risk! So it's not only the poisons that people immediately think of, like rat poison, or lilies, or even cleaning products. Just look in your medicine cabinet, or even your kitchen cabinet. We kitties have a different system than humans, or dogs, and different things can affect us in really bad ways.

    1. Summer thank you for pointing those items out. I knew about household cleaners and of course medicines, gum, anything with xylitol........(however you spell it) I don't use Rogaine so I didn't know.....we have to be vigilant. I tend to be rather paranoid with things that can be harmful and I can tell you are too......sadly, the people who truly NEED to read these kinds of posts......will never see them.

  3. That is a heartbreaking story. When our cats are harmed by something we should have known about-- or COULD have known about-- it is even more wrenching.

  4. Such an important message even though it was a horrible time it was shared with love.

  5. Thanks for sharing this and you're right, we need to share the dangers as much as we can. Many people do not know.
    Years back, my sister's cat died the same way, unexpectedly, because of her husband's endearing but unknowingly dangerous habit of bringing her Easter Lilies because she loved them. Misty died a horrible death. It was a very sad time.

    1. Oh my I am so deeply, deeply sorry. That is just devastating about Misty. I am sooo sorry!!! ((((hugs))))

  6. This is such a sad story. I don't have any plants at home but I must confess I didn't know so many plants are poisonous for pets. This is such an important message that needs to be spread.

  7. Such a heartbreakin' story. Too offen peeps aren't aware of the dangers in their homes. We're so sorry Precious had to die, but fank you fur sharin' this story and Zack's plea. Big hugs

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Raena

  8. Mom has had to throw some of her plants out! I will eat anything green so she did not want me to get sick!
    Great post! And belated birthday to Cody. Cinnamon says he is a HUNK
    And My Mom hopes that everything comes out OK for your Mom tomorrow.

  9. Thank you for sure an important post and for sharing such a heartbreaking story. <3

  10. this post is heartbreaking; but important. Thanx for sharing it again; it's a great reminder for all of us. we tend to forget. Zack; if you are reading this, you have a "wisdom" most people don't achieve if they live 90 life times. We are sorry about Precious; what a gorgeous girl she was; is, and always will be ~ ♥♥♥♥♥

  11. Such a sad story. When our previous cats went in and out of the house, they never seemed at all interested in our large collection of house plants. Now that our cats are inside only, we've had to be very careful. Rufus is Inspector General, into everything! We carefully google plants before bringing them home now.
    Another advantage of having a microchip in our cats is that Home Again membership means the $60 dollar fee for the Poison Hotline is waived. (We also no longer leave any baked goods wrapped in plastic on our kitchen counter after the Rufus and the Chocolate frosting episode!)
    Thank you for this life saving reminder!

  12. We need to remain vigilant, so our furry friends stay safe! So sad about Angel Precious.

  13. We remember that heartbreaking story you post every year, and it's such an important reminder ! Purrs

  14. I remember you writing about this, it was so sad. Thank you for spreading the word , we want to keep our kitties safe. XO

  15. It is always a shame when a life is lost needlessly. I saved that infographic for future reference whenever we bring a plant into the house. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Great info. I do wish they'd put some type of warning or symbol on plants that indicate they are poisonous to pets.

  17. Thank you for sharing this again. It's so important for people to be aware be careful with what's brought into the house.