By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern
“Those flowers you brought home are so beautiful!” Your cat thinks as you walk through the door with a large bouquet. “I can’t wait to taste them tonight when you go to bed!” Later that night, your cat gets very disappointed as they see you place your fragrant flowers on the highest shelf, the one they can’t get to; but what happens when you forget to put them up or outside at night, or even during the day, and your pet gets to them?
Pictured above: Zoey
If the flowers are roses, orchids, or alyssum, don’t worry too much. You’re furry friend will be alright if these are ingested. They may exhibit vomiting, but will be okay in the end. Now, if the bouquet includes tulips, azaleas, or Bird of Paradise, look out, these flowers are poisonous to both cats and dogs.
This subject of plant toxicity to pets is very near and dear to my heart, as I just lost my 8-year-old cat, Zoey, after she ate a lily. They were in a bouquet I brought home, and my family and I didn’t realize how toxic they are to cats. She ate one, and even though we rushed her to the emergency vet not even an hour after, she still lost her life. The vets at the emergency clinic, and our regular vet tried everything, but the lily shut her kidneys down and my family had to make the decision that every pet owner dreads.
Pictured above: my sister Julia and Zoey
This holiday season, as well as every holiday season after, please think about not only the flowers, but the plants that you bring into your house. There are many popular holiday plants that can make your furry family members very sick, and some that can even kill them. American holly, for example, is toxic to both cats and dogs. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and depression in pets. Another example is the poinsettia. Sap from the poinsettia can irritate the mouths and stomachs of dogs and cats, and cause general discomfort and vomiting.
If we move on to the spring holiday of Easter, we can take a look at a very popular flower called the Easter lily. In the spring, Easter lilies are sold everywhere from your local florist shop to Walmart, and like most other lilies, the Easter lily is toxic to cats. Cats that consume this plant will exhibit the symptoms of lethargy, vomiting, not eating, kidney failure, and death if they are not tended to by a veterinarian immediately. (Although lilies are highly likely to kill cats even with immediate care.)
Pictured above: The bouquet that Zoey got a hold of
To protect your pets from unnecessary harm, it is recommended to take extra precautions when bringing flowers or plants into your home. Do some research beforehand so that when you get to the florist shop or order online you know what to ask for and what to leave out. Sometimes even the filler plants used in bouquets are toxic, so don’t forget to check on those, too. If you aren’t sure about a plant and can’t find much information on it, take the safe route and don’t purchase it. If you are sending flowers to someone, see if they have any pets, and whether those pets are cats or dogs. Some plants and flowers are toxic to one animal and not the other, so you could send a dog owner a bouquet of Asian Lilies and if their dog eats one it would be fine. On the other hand, if you sent a cat owner a bouquet of Asian Lilies and their cat eats one, there is a very high chance that the cat will die. Similarly, if someone wants to send you flowers, make sure you let them know you have a cat or a dog so they can carefully pick out the type of flowers to send you.
When it comes to our furry family members it is better to be safe than sorry. Always, always, always check on the types of plants and flowers you are bringing into your home. Make sure you know the phone number and hours for your vet’s office, and make sure you know the location of the nearest emergency clinic, and always take precautions. I don’t get to go home and cuddle with my Zoey anymore, but if you are careful you will have your pet for a long time, and I hope you do.
If I had known that on that day our time was near the end
I would have done things differently, my forever friend.
I would have stayed right next to you deep into the night
but I thought I’d see you in the early morning light.
And so I said “Good night” to you as I walked in through the door
never thinking of the time when I’d see you no more.
But if I had known that on that day our time was at the end
I would have done things so differently, my forever friend.
– Sally Evans (written for Shoo-Fly)