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It's customary to gift mums with flowers on Mother's Day, with lillies often being a popular choice. However, the flowers can be poisonous for our feline friends and can lead to critical trips to the vet if the flowers are ingested by cats.
Caroline Reay, Head of Veterinary Services at Blue Cross, said: “Most pet owners are unaware that lilies could prove deadly to their cat."
In 2021 Blue Cross treated 28 cats for suspected lily poisoning, and so far this year they have seen 12 cases.
Two unfortunate cat owners discovered this when their beloved fur babies were placed on a drip after coming into contact with lillies.
Six-month-old Misty was rushed into the the Blue Cross animal hospital in Victoria, London after her worried owner brought her in with yellow pollen smudges on her face from the flowers she had at home.
Misty's owner said she was unaware of the danger lilies pose to pets and that she’d contacted the pet charity immediately.
I didn’t know that lilies were dangerous to cats and it’s only when I told my sister Misty had got pollen on her that she told me I needed to get her checked out," Misty's owner said.
“I was really worried; Misty is my first pet and I wasn’t aware that some flowers can be toxic for cats. It’s something that really needs to be highlighted more so pet owners are aware of the risks.”
On the same day Misty was rushed to the charity's hospital, an 11-month-old kitten was also brought into the hospital with pollen on her neck from a separate home after she had brushed up against some of the flowers.
Both cats were immediately put on a drip to help flush out their kidneys. They were also given blood tests and were monitored closely overnight. Thankfully, the kittens were able to go home the next day after receiving emergency treatment.
As much as we love Mother's Day, no cat owner would want to see their cat poorly after coming into close contact with lillies if they don't have to.
Lilies are commonly seen in homes but for pet owners, the flowers can be fatal.
There only needs to be a dusting of pollen from a lily on a cat’s fur after walking past one, and then licked when grooming, to cause potentially fatal damage to their kidneys, which can lead to death if left untreated.
Caroline Reay adds: "The pollen, flowers and leaves of lilies are extremely toxic to cats so should be avoided at all times.
“There are plenty of other flowers and plants which are safe to have in the home or to give as a gift to pet owners this Mother’s Day such as roses, stocks or freesia”.
Signs of poisoning include: vomiting, ribbling, diarrhoea, lethargy, collapsing, difficulty breathing, staggering, shaking or other odd behaviour and red, raw, swollen or blistering skin, mouth, throat or paws.
You should seek veterinary help immediately if you think your cat may have been poisoned. For more information on how to keep your cat safe from toxins and poisons, visit the Blue Cross website here.
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