Monday, May 24, 2021

Could You be Unintentionally Harming Your Cats? (If You Have These Items in Your House, You Might Be)

This weekend, I learned something about cats and an item that is absolutely toxic to them. I feel the need to use this platform to warn other pet owners of this potentially fatal situation.

I spent over 7 hours at the emergency animal hospital this Saturday with my kitten, and as you can imagine, this was accompanied by a jaw-dropping bill.

When I woke up Saturday morning, my kitten (who ordinarily wakes me up by licking my nose) was nowhere to be seen. I walked out to the kitchen by myself, no kitten winding herself around my ankles, squeaking for food. I looked into the family where KitKat lay on the couch. She lazily stretched and hopped gracefully down to the floor. I flipped on the kitchen light and saw that her right eye was closed. Scooping her up, I nuzzled her soft little head and she looked up at me with her left eye. Her right eye only opened a crack and didn't look quite right. Her third eyelid was completely covering the part of her eye that was visible through her squinting lids.

At this point, I thought she was just sleepy and would open her eye more as she woke up. I filled her bowl with food; she sniffed it and walked back out to the family room. That's weird, I thought. She must be really tired. Usually she digs in when I feed her in the morning.

As the morning went on, KitKat continued to squint, keeping her right eye mostly closed. On inspection, I didn't see any debris or hair or anything in her eye that could be causing irritation. I was concerned, but as luck would have it, it was Saturday and her vet wasn't open. I called an after-hours emergency vet who told me I should bring her in if I was concerned. They also informed me there was a $95 fee to be seen.

I debated for a little while, asking myself what I would do if it was my kid whose eye was bothering them. I decided to take her in to be safe. After filling out the hospital's paperwork, I was told to wait with KitKat in my car. We waited for about an hour and a half, KitKat happily napping on my lap. I called the hospital to make sure they hadn't forgotten about us and asked if they thought we'd be seen soon. Apparently, 3 back-to-back emergencies had come in so we'd been bumped back a bit, which I understand. After 2 1/2 hours of waiting, I told them I had to leave to take my son to work. 

We went home, where I expected KitKat to run to her water bowl, assuming she was as thirsty as I was. She didn't eat or drink though. I thought she probably just didn't feel great because her eye was bothering her. Until Brooklyn mentioned, "That's the eye she had pollen on."

Oh right, I remembered. A couple days prior, KitKat had gotten into the vase of flowers Lexi had given me for Mother's Day. She had pollen on her face and her paw which I wiped off. 

I googled flowers poisonous to cats. Lo and behold, I learned that lilies especially are highly toxic to cats. Ingesting even a small amount of pollen, leaves, petals, or even the water in which they sit could be fatal. Guess what flowers were in my arrangement. Roses and lilies. That bright yellow powder that had been on her was from the lilies.

Freaking out that it wasn't just KitKat's eye, but that her kidneys were shutting down and that's why she wasn't eating or drinking, or being as playful as usual, I dropped Clay at work and then rushed back to the hospital with Brooklyn holding KitKat.

Long story short, after bloodwork to evaluate the state of KitKat's kidneys and liver, a shot of an anti-nausea medication, a stain of her eyeball to look for scratches, and medication for her eye, she was sent home with us. Thankfully, she didn't ingest any of the lilies when just a little bit of pollen on her face had caused such inflammation and irritation of her eye.

I was in tears, talking to the veterinarian, thinking that my ignorance could have killed my kitten. I didn't know. I didn't know that lilies were that toxic to cats. I had no idea. Since then I've been asking my fellow cat parents if they were aware. Only one of them knew. Only one out of a dozen or so people that I've spoken with this weekend. So I'm using this platform to bring awareness to the fact that there are actually several items that can be harmful, some fatally so, to your pets. Here are a few of the items that are especially harmful to cats.

1. Household Chemicals

Of course, things like bleach, detergent, insect/rodent bait, fertilizers, and such are toxic to anyone. Keep all such items out of kitty's reach (and all cat parents know a kitty's reach is far and wide!)

2. Human and Pet Medicine

Human medications like antidepressants, cold medicines, diet pills, and pain relievers are especially bad. Animal medicine is also harmful in the wrong dose, as is ingesting pet medicine that's for topical use. You should keep all medication out of kitty's reach.

3. Plants

Lilies, sago palms, aloe, mistletoe, azaleas, chrysanthemums, hyacinths, tulips, rhododendron, and marijuana are all toxic to cats. To be safe, don't keep them in your home or your garden if your cat is an outdoor cat.

4. Human food

Although some human food may be okay for kitty, there are many things that are seriously toxic. Some you may know like alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate. But also on this list of highly toxic substances are garlic, onions, chives, grapes, raisins, and the xylitol found in sugarless gum and candy.

This is not an exhaustive list. Talk to your cat's vet for more information.

If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, take samples of vomit, stool, and the suspected poison that was ingested.

Watch for symptoms of possible poisoning.

Know the number of your cat's vet, and the nearest 24-hour emergency facility.

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, 888-426-4435

Don't delay. Fast action can save your kitty's life if they've ingested something toxic.


Amazing Mama said...

Dawn, my adult son is allergic to lilly pollen. Easter sucks for him. I’m so glad Kitkat was “heard” without a voice. I’m going to PayPal you a little something for the vet bill if I may.
I have followed you for years and love your attitude toward life. All of it, even the bits that make us uncomfortable. Keep sharing the good the bad and the chocolaty, you inspire us🥰

Jenny said...

One thing pet parents often forget is string and hair ties. They're killer too.

kafein said...

Poinsettias as well.

Who's Visiting My Blog Right Now?

Home About Dawn Blog Books News & Events Press Kit Contact

Dawn Meehan 2008-. All Rights Reserved.
Site Design by Jones House Creative