Felines and flowers are a bad combination during Easter season

I love flowers, fresh arrangements especially. However, any time I get a bouquet from my husband, I usually end up keeping them at work. If I do take them home, I pluck half of them out and prop the remaining in a vase high atop the computer desk where no cat or dog has yet to climb.

Dogs and cats are oral explorers. Grazing on all things that are to be off limits is common. We’re forever sweeping Rio’s mouth for pieces of paper she grabs before we can toss it in the trash. Pets are relentless. The more something is off limits the more likely they are to want to taste, chew and eat it.

This includes flowers and plants, many of which are quite toxic (and apparently unbeknownst to them) because plant toxins rank among the top five toxins reported to the Pet Poison Helpline (petpoisonhelpline.com).

Recently, friends of mine posted that their cat got into a vase of flowers and ate a lily. RED FLAG. They weren’t sure how much of the flower but knew it was a lily.

They smartly rushed their cat to the emergency vet where the cat ended up having to stay 48 hours then an additional 24 hours for treatment and observation including induced vomiting and the flushing out of his kidneys. They were fortunate that they caught the mishap so early or the outcome could have been quite dire. Their cat came through with flying colors (and stable levels) — probably using up one of its nine lives — but is doing well!

As much as I love flowers, I’m lucky if I know the difference between a rose and a geranium, let alone have working knowledge of the 90 species in the genus Lilium (the lily family). Of those 90 species, there are nine different divisions (now we’re talking garden club level conversation, of which I cannot partake).

The most dangerous and potentially life-threatening lily ingestions by cats involve lilies belonging to the genera (true lilies). Examples of some of these toxic lilies include Asiatic, Easter, Japanese Show, rubrum, stargazer, red, tiger, Western, and wood lilies (species) and daylilies


Even small ingestions (such as less than 1-2 petals or leaves) — even the pollen or water from the vase — may result in severe, acute kidney failure, according to Pet Poison Helpline.

Symptoms can include loss of appetite or anorexia, lethargy and/or depression, hiding, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and an increase or decrease in urination.

I discussed these flowers with my vet and she reiterated that Easter lilies, especially, are some of the most toxic and the season will be upon us very soon.

She said lilies can cause kidney failure and there is no antidote, only supportive care.

If you suspect your cat has ingested any part of a lily, bring your cat (and the plant) immediately to a veterinarian for medical care. Generally, the sooner treatment is started, the better the prognosis.

I might even take some time to learn the different types of lilies that exist because they are so beautiful and readily used by florists that you never know when one can crop up unsuspectingly in an arrangement. And I’ll continue to keep fresh flowers out of the house.

Amy is the author “Have Dog Will Blog,” editor of the Central PA Pets magazine, and director of the Central PA Pet Expo. She can be contacted at ahanna@altoona

mirror.com or by mail: Paws and Reflect, c/o Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode, Altoona Mirror, 301 Cayuga Ave., Altoona, PA 16602.


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