We decided earlier this year that we wanted to adopt two kittens. I did my best to prepare the house for their arrival. Before we got them, I was already obsessing a bit about their safety. Everywhere I looked, I saw potential dangers for our future pets. We ended up adopting adult cats, which was a bit of a relief, in a way. Most of the things that had concerned me turned out not to be a problem with somewhat older felines. Sure, they got (and get) into places they shouldn’t go, but none of their shenanigans caused them any harm.
Also, they didn’t ruin things as much as I thought they would. They never chewed anything, and although they sometimes sharpen their claws on things, so far nothing has been noticeably damaged.
I thought we had been doing a good job. We took steps to protect our pets before we got them. We also picked up all necessary supplies first, too. Everything was set up, and safe and secure, before they arrived. We ran into a few minor issues, and worked on solutions right away (like with the problem of them wanting to go on the kitchen counters and table).
Well, we weren’t quite as prepared as we thought. After they had been with us for about three months, we ran into a problem. A really big one. My husband had (as he frequently does) cut some flowers and put them in a vase on the kitchen table. This wasn’t the first time he had done so in those three months, either. I had cut some flowers the week before, actually. The same kind, even. They didn’t bother with those flowers at all. My kids had been away for a week, and then came home. My daughter mentioned that the flowers weren’t good for the cats, but I didn’t think it was a big deal. First of all, they hadn’t bothered going near the flowers in more than a week. Besides, I figured the worst that would happen if they did chew on them or even eat them was that they might have a stomach ache or possibly throw up. Not ideal, but not a big deal.
The next morning, I saw Boris on the table, which was unusual. I don’t remember seeing him up on the table (or counter) any time before then, and I haven’t seen him up there since. But that morning, he was up there, and it looked like he was chewing on the flowers. I looked at them after chasing him down, and noticed one of the flowers was wet and looked like it had been eaten. I mentioned it to my daughter, and she sounded very concerned. After checking, it turns out that the tiger lilies we had on the table weren’t just something that might upset their stomachs. Eating those flowers could be lethal for a cat! Of course, we took him to the veterinary hospital right away. I found out later that the death rate can be very high. Even a tiny bit of the flower or leaf can cause kidney failure, and it can happen very quickly. Even with prompt medical attention, there are no guarantees. Treatment involves making the animal vomit the plant pieces up, giving them activated charcoal to try to inactivate the poison, and then 48 hours of fluids to try to dilute and flush out any remaining poison. Again, without any guarantees. Those two days were very tense and stressful for all of us, including Oliver. Poor guy walked around meowing all of the time, seemingly looking for his buddy.
We got lucky, though. The blood work showed that Boris was doing ok, and the prognosis was good, partly because he got treated before the poison had time to do much damage. By the time he came home, he seemed okay. Within a day or so, he was tearing around through the house, playing chase with Oliver, and running after the ping pong balls he likes to chase and bat around. We got very lucky. Other than the shaved spots on his front legs, you’d never guess his life was recently in danger.
So, no more lilies in our house anymore. We can all enjoy them through the windows from now on. Especially Boris. He can enjoy looking at them through the windows, in the safety of his home.
We’ve all decided it’s definitely a good idea to do some research on other things that are dangerous for our cats. Especially the things we never would have guessed could be a problem!