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Posted by Callipygous (Member # 2071) on May 08, 2005, 02:48:
 
This story appeared in the Daily Telegraph on Friday

quote:

Cat owners warned over killer flowers
By David Sapsted
(Filed: 06/05/2005)

A national alert has been issued to pet owners after pollen from a bunch of supermarket flowers killed a cat.

When John Hartnett bought his wife oriental stargazer lilies, he was unaware that he was passing a death sentence on the family's 13-year-old Siamese, Catalina.

The cat brushed against the flowers then licked the pollen from its fur. Within minutes she started being sick and, within hours, had died after going blind, suffering renal failure and becoming virtually paralysed.

The RSPCA, which is reporting an increase in such cases, is to launch a campaign to alert people to the dangers and lobby for warnings on the flowers.

The RSPCA said: "The problem of lilies isn't widely known and we are seeing an increase in the number of cases we come across. This is because the flowers are becoming more readily available in Britain.

"All lilies are poisonous to cats, with just one leaf eaten possibly leading to death. We will now be urging both manufacturers and producers to issue warnings on their goods so that consumers have an informed choice.

"We also hope to work with the Royal College for Veterinary Surgeons' poison department to produce information fact sheets and figures on this awful matter."

Mr Hartnett, 51, a computer engineer from Folkestone, Kent, said: "Catalina was a curious, fastidious animal and would have investigated the new flowers. But this proved absolutely fatal.

"She endured a vile death. She was suffering terribly. I blame myself but the vet we rushed her to said there was just no chance to save her.

"We have seen the flowers in many places, all with no warnings at all. In America, I have discovered that there is immense coverage on this subject warning people of the dangers but, here, there is nothing.

"I can't believe something so simple as a flower can kill pets in such a terrible, terrible way, and there is absolutely no way of knowing about it."

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals singles out the Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum), tiger lily (Lilium tigrinum), rubrum lily (Lilium speciosum), Japanese show lily (Lilium lancifolium) and some species of the day lily (Hemerocallis) as liable to cause kidney failure in cats.

The Feline Advisory Bureau, a charity based in Tisbury, Wilts, said: "Symptoms of poisoning from these plants include protracted vomiting, anorexia and depression and ingestion can cause severe, possibly fatal, kidney damage."

Cats can survive if taken to a vet within six hours but the chances of survival decrease rapidly after that. After 18 hours, the kidneys stop working.

Alex Campbell, a toxicologist and managing director of the Poison Advisory Service for vets, said: "When we recieve a call about cats coming into contact with any of the lilium flower family we treat it very seriously indeed. It is one of the worst reactions an animal can come across and it needs highly aggressive management. All parts of a lily are extremely toxic.

"A cat that comes into contact with a lily deteriorates very rapidly. I have even heard of a cat being given human dialysis in an attempt to overcome the effects of toxins in the kidneys."

The danger to cats only began to emerge in 1990 when the first incident was reported in America. Last year, the poison control centre at the ASPCA handled 275 cases.

John Cushnie, a panellist on Gardeners' Question Time, advised gardeners who wanted to avoid harm to cats to select tall lilies and stake those that need support.

I have to say that prior to reading this I was unaware of the deadly nature of these beautiful flowers. The Telegraph has a site, but it requires registration and I felt it was important this story is known.
 
Posted by nerdwithnofriends (Member # 3773) on May 08, 2005, 16:17:
 
hmmm... i've finally found a clever way to get rid of my sister's cat in a clever way...
 
Posted by Aditu (Member # 2340) on May 08, 2005, 18:32:
 
How terrible. Actually I see them in the stores here and I don't see any warning. So we aren't ahead of the UK there really. I know you can't have poinsettas in the house with a cat.
 
Posted by Jessycat (Member # 1171) on May 08, 2005, 23:09:
 
Thanks for posting that, Callipygous.
I had no idea!

What a terrible story... [Frown]
 
Posted by jordanv (Member # 3189) on May 09, 2005, 00:16:
 
Hey Jessycat: stay away from lillies.
 
Posted by drunkennewfiemidget (Member # 2814) on May 09, 2005, 06:23:
 
I'm moderately sure flowers are what killed one of my ex-gf's cats. Her cat got horribly sick one Christmas after being near the flowers. Her liver shut down.

No warnings on the flowers of any kind, but at the same time, I'm pretty sure they were purchased directly from a florist, so the florist should have probably asked first before assembling the bouquet.
 
Posted by Callipygous (Member # 2071) on May 09, 2005, 06:30:
 
There is a more complete list of plants poisonous to cats here, but I don't think one should get too neurotic. Most of the time cats are pretty smart about not eating stuff that is bad for them, and in many instances the plants won't do more than cause a mild gastric upset. Lilies however are different, particularly because the flowers drop a lot of pollen, so a cat only has to brush by a stem and then sit down to clean itself, to be facing mortal danger.

And nice to see you around here again Jessycat [Smile]
 
Posted by TechToys (Member # 3830) on May 09, 2005, 07:43:
 
Gosh, I guess I will never have to buy my wife flowers again!
 
Posted by Erbo (Member # 199) on May 09, 2005, 08:12:
 
Important safety tip! Thanks, Callipygous!

I wonder if there's any issue with garlic? Garlic, of course, is related to lilies, and yet Star has eaten some with no known ill effects. (She seems to like garlic, too...)
 
Posted by Doco (Member # 371) on May 09, 2005, 11:23:
 
Interesting safety note. We've repeatedly had Easter lilly's and various lilly's in the garden where the cats roam and never had any issues that I know of. Then again - as he said - cats (and most animals) are usually pretty smart about not eating stuff that makes them sick.

The only thing that makes me bristle is the statement in the original article that such flowers should have warning stickers on them. We already have to many warning labels because of that mentality. It just causes things that really need warnings to be direguarded. Just like some applications that always pop-up a little confirm box - people get so used to them that they always hit OK. Then the really bad thing happens and they don't know why they weren't warned. Well - they were, but they ignored the warning because they were so conditioned by the thousands of previous warnings that really shouldn't have been warnings.

Yes - cat owners - be careful. But that doesn't need a warning sticker on every lilly sold in a flower shop.
 
Posted by TMBWITW,PB (Member # 1734) on May 09, 2005, 11:48:
 
The other problem with warning stickers is how many might be required. Which plants are poisonous to humans, but not cats, or dogs, but not iguanas, or may cause stomach upset if one leaf is eaten but will kill you if you eat the flower?

Many people keep poisonous plants in or around their house just because of how they look. (People with pets and kids, get rid of any oleader bushes.) Flowers are pretty and that's why people buy them. It takes a lot of work to figure out what is poisonous to whom and how much it takes to do harm. You know, a lot of people are given plants as gifts and don't even know what they are? So your kid eats a leaf and you panic, and the emergency room can't do anything for hours while a leaf gets passed around and people are doing internet searches to try to figure out if they need to worry or not.

The real lesson here is to know what you have in and around your house and what effect they may have on your pets and kids. No one said taking care of animals was easy.
 
Posted by Black Widow (Member # 3046) on May 09, 2005, 14:53:
 
Peebs is right here. A good example is spider plants, which are highly toxic to cats, but completely edible by iguanas. The only other rule I remember is to never feed onions to your dogs because it can cause a fatal form of anemia.
 
Posted by The Famous Druid (Member # 1769) on May 09, 2005, 15:12:
 
And rhubarb leaves should only be eaten by mothers-in-law [Wink]
 
Posted by Serenak (Member # 2950) on May 09, 2005, 15:18:
 
You shouldn't give dogs chocolate either IIRC...

Never knew spider plants were harmful to cats (though as has been said cats tend to know what NOT to eat...)

I thought garlic was related to the onion family... are they all related to lillies then? Botany is not my strong point, nor am I at all green fingered (I can kill weeds me...)

I do know that the fruit of the potato plant is poisonous and that you shouldn't eat green potato peel either...

[Big Grin]
 
Posted by drunkennewfiemidget (Member # 2814) on May 09, 2005, 18:19:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Serenak:
You shouldn't give dogs chocolate either IIRC...

In small quantities, it won't kill them. Basically, I think the ratio of pure milk chocolate to dog weight is 1 oz of chocolate for every pound of dog.

Translation: 20lb dog is going to need over 1 pound of solid milk chocolate to kill it.

I've known tonnes of people who've shared their chocolate bars with their dogs. No ill effects. Maybe some runny poop...
 
Posted by TMBWITW,PB (Member # 1734) on May 09, 2005, 19:03:
 
My uncle used to feed his dog chocolate to stink up the house with his farts. [crazy]
 
Posted by snupy (Member # 1211) on May 09, 2005, 19:28:
 
quote:
Originally posted by nerdwithnofriends:
hmmm... i've finally found a clever way to get rid of my sister's cat in a clever way...

It's a wonder you have no friends. [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by maia (Member # 3778) on May 09, 2005, 19:39:
 
My neighbor just gave me a box of these for my dog:
 -

They look like oreo cookies, but they are made with carob instead of chocolate and peanut butter in the middle. My dog LOVES them.
 
Posted by Doco (Member # 371) on May 10, 2005, 05:40:
 
Spider plant poison to a cat??? Could have fooled me. My cats can't reach ours unless a baby spider gets too close to the floor (in which case it gets devoured) My parents however rotate different spider plants around and their two cats chew on them regularly. That and what my mom calls asparagus fern. Now the cats are all a little "goofy" at times - but I don't think it's from those plants. I also don't see Spider plants listed on the CFA website linked above

Hmmmm - I do see asparagus fern - maybe I should tell my mom.....
 
Posted by Xanthine (Member # 736) on May 10, 2005, 12:06:
 
quote:
Originally posted by drunkennewfiemidget:
Translation: 20lb dog is going to need over 1 pound of solid milk chocolate to kill it.

I've known tonnes of people who've shared their chocolate bars with their dogs. No ill effects. Maybe some runny poop...

Yeah, it's more of an issue if your dog is still a puppy. Not only are puppies into everything, but they're also small.

They say azaleas are also toxic to dogs. This made me very anxious because we had azalea bushes and a labrador retriever in the same yard, but, even when he was a puppy, I never caught my dog in the azaleas nor did the azaleas ever look like the dog showed them any interest. Now grass, OTOH, he would occasionally munch on. He'd also roll in poison ivy, and then I'd give him a hug, and the oil would get on me, and my mom would wonder how I could be getting poison ivy when I knew damn well what the plant looked like. *sigh*

In spite of that, I really miss that dog.
 
Posted by The Famous Druid (Member # 1769) on May 10, 2005, 14:07:
 
Well, apparently eating fibreglass insulation is bad for dogs. At least that's what the vet said when I called, she had me bring the druidhound over straight away and we had to induce vomiting to get the stuff out again.

Inducing vomiting in a border collie full of fibreglass is surprisingly difficult.
 
Posted by drunkennewfiemidget (Member # 2814) on May 11, 2005, 04:54:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
quote:
Originally posted by drunkennewfiemidget:
Translation: 20lb dog is going to need over 1 pound of solid milk chocolate to kill it.

I've known tonnes of people who've shared their chocolate bars with their dogs. No ill effects. Maybe some runny poop...

Yeah, it's more of an issue if your dog is still a puppy. Not only are puppies into everything, but they're also small.

They say azaleas are also toxic to dogs. This made me very anxious because we had azalea bushes and a labrador retriever in the same yard, but, even when he was a puppy, I never caught my dog in the azaleas nor did the azaleas ever look like the dog showed them any interest. Now grass, OTOH, he would occasionally munch on. He'd also roll in poison ivy, and then I'd give him a hug, and the oil would get on me, and my mom would wonder how I could be getting poison ivy when I knew damn well what the plant looked like. *sigh*

In spite of that, I really miss that dog.

They say when a dog munches grass, it's because they have a tummy ache or upset stomach. I don't know if that's a wive's tale or not.

As for poison ivy, I'm one of those lucky buggers who are immune to it. I can roll in it for days and I won't get a single rash.
 
Posted by neotatsu (Member # 1429) on May 13, 2005, 02:38:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Serenak:
You shouldn't give dogs chocolate either IIRC...

I was under the impression it had most to do with the caffiene...

In any case, when I was little my 17lb terrier/wolf mix ate 3.5lbs of dark chocolate covered expresso beans... He was kinda twitchy for a while (Actually, the 'coffee guy' on MadTV reminds me of it, if anyone knows the reference...), but, he pulled through ok... He was never too enthusiastic about chocolate afterward though... go figure...

Just like my other dog would go into siezures and stalk the christmas tree lights after the second year we had her... me being particularly short while putting the candy canes on the christmas tree... She'd still sneak any of them that she could though... (of course, when she finally died this year, my parents had let her grow to almost three times the normal body weight of a dauchsand...)
 
Posted by Stibbons (Member # 2515) on May 13, 2005, 05:58:
 
quote:
Originally posted by neotatsu:
quote:
Originally posted by Serenak:
You shouldn't give dogs chocolate either IIRC...

I was under the impression it had most to do with the caffiene...

There is no caffiene in chocolate. There is a similar drug, theobromine, in chocolate (both are methylxanthines) which is poisonous to dogs.
 
Posted by drunkennewfiemidget (Member # 2814) on May 13, 2005, 08:02:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Stibbons:
quote:
Originally posted by neotatsu:
quote:
Originally posted by Serenak:
You shouldn't give dogs chocolate either IIRC...

I was under the impression it had most to do with the caffiene...

There is no caffiene in chocolate. There is a similar drug, theobromine, in chocolate (both are methylxanthines) which is poisonous to dogs.
You mean methyllabmousies!
 
Posted by huon (Member # 4205) on July 19, 2005, 19:06:
 
Looks like this topic is now finished, but just wanted to add something as it was the death of my cat which prompted the original article.
It was good more people became aware of this problem with Lilies and also about the many other poisons that can affect their pets.
Doco in particular raised some interesting points and I would just like to point out that my cat was an indoor cat (we live in an apartment.) Lilies do usually affect indoor cats, because an outdoor cat would not be so interested in plants, being quite used to them, whilst an indoor cat will be fascinated by the bunch of exotic flowers which has come into the house. Also if Lily pollen does fall onto an outdoor cat, most will be dislodged as the cat runs about, whilst an indoor cat will fastidiously clean the pollen from it's fur and thus ingest the fatal dose.
I also took on board Doco's comments on warning labels and agree that with too many warnings people stop reading them.
But after my experience with my own cat dying such a vile death I hope you will understand that I feel Lilies are so lethal there should be some warning. I don't want to go too deeply into it, but she quickly suffered renal (kidney) failure and one of the side effects was the retinas became detached from her eyes. It was really sad to see such a nice little cat suffer so horribly and be put to sleep when she had been so perky just a few days before. Lilies are particularly dangerous as it takes only half a leaf to kill a healthy adult cat and even though I kept the flowers out of reach of my cat (they were on a table) the pollen fell about 4 feet onto Catalinas coat. She cleaned it off and became sick. By the time we realised how sick she was, it was too late to go to the vet, so I nursed her all night and then went to the vet first thing in the morning, but although she had dialysis etc, nothing could be done and we had to end her suffering.
As a result of this I have asked several of our British supermarkets to display some warning and one (Sainsbury) has started to do so. It is a simple label pointing out that the pollen can cause stains on clothing and may be dangerous to cats. That is all it takes and I was very grateful to Sainsbury for doing that.
 
Posted by Snaggy (Member # 123) on July 19, 2005, 20:51:
 
Welcome huon. So sorry to hear of your cat's death, that is very sad. [Frown]

It's great you've been working on educating and warning others about this danger. No doubt you are saving people and pets from a similar heartbreak.
 
Posted by huon (Member # 4205) on July 19, 2005, 21:14:
 
Snaggy, thanks very much for the welcome and also the sympathy.
To be honest raising awareness on this issue has been good therapy for me. I was so angry when my cat died in this way that I could have gone to the supermarkets head office and done something silly. But I just kept Emailing people and telling people about it and eventually calmed down.
It was a great example though of how the net can help one to campaign on an issue. First I was able to learn a lot about Lily poisoning in cats (mostly from U.S. university websites) and then I spoke to a lot of people. I also got an article in the local paper, which was picked up by a national agency (Ferrari) who got large (half page) articles in three of our national papers. There was also an interview for BBC Radio, various magazine articles and even a discussion on daytime T.V., so lots of people heard about it and I have had post not only from people in Britain, but also the Irish Republic.
Things like the recent bombings here in London put it into perspective. I do know I am just a silly old person with his cat, but if I had known about this then my cat would still be alive, so I do feel justified in making other people aware and hopefully averting some of the sadness.
 
Posted by ooby (Member # 2603) on July 20, 2005, 05:39:
 
quote:
Originally posted by drunkennewfiemidget:
They say when a dog munches grass, it's because they have a tummy ache or upset stomach. I don't know if that's a wive's tale or not.

I don't know either but my gf's dumb doberman is bolemic. She'll eat a bunch of non-foods (tennis balls, blankets, pantyhose) and then she'll usually graze to vomet them back up. If she doesn't graze, she'll pass just about anything.

Also, my gf is taking her cat to get FeLV shots even though he's strictly an indoor cat. She's a vet tech and worries that she could carry home the virus on her scrubs.
 
Posted by huon (Member # 4205) on July 21, 2005, 05:00:
 
Ooby, sounds like the dog has a stomach complaint, but I am sure your gf is onto it.
These things may seem funny, but are usually a sign of a developing complaint.
For instance if a cat starts drinking lots of water, this is a sign of kidney trouble. At this stage a change of diet and a few pills can extend the cats life for several years, but if nothing is done the cat will suddenly develop renal failure and die.
 
Posted by ooby (Member # 2603) on July 21, 2005, 05:23:
 
For starters, she's incontinent and on proin.
 
Posted by Matias (Member # 4216) on July 28, 2005, 21:51:
 
quote:
I'm moderately sure flowers are what killed one of my ex-gf's cats. Her cat got horribly sick one Christmas after being near the flowers. Her liver shut down.
If i'm not mistaken the flower Poinsettia was never allowed in my house growing up because of this. My mother was correct i see....it's sad she had to learn this way.
 
Posted by huon (Member # 4205) on July 29, 2005, 12:19:
 
Yes there are a lot of plants that are dangerous for cats, but Lilies seem to be causing more problems than others.
We don't have a garden but all my window boxes have cat friendly plants now. Begonia, violets, Jasmine, daisies, Orchids. All of those seem OK.
 
Posted by Matias (Member # 4216) on July 30, 2005, 11:18:
 
quote:
Originally posted by drunkennewfiemidget:
They say when a dog munches grass, it's because they have a tummy ache or upset stomach. I don't know if that's a wive's tale or not.

I have a Rottweiler and a Chow/Husky/Retriever mix and both eat grass outside when they are not feeling well...about 10-15 minutes later they spit up what was bothering their stomach, while the rest will "pass" through later on. I have never stopped them from doing this because after this is done, they feel better. So it is normal for a dog to eat grass and from what I understand cats use it for the same purpose but you have to be careful with they type of grass they nibble on.
 
Posted by Masserianova (Member # 4263) on August 10, 2005, 14:47:
 
wow, good news for cat haters.
 


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