Lilies, Candies and Cellophane Grasses, Careful With Your Spring Celebrations On Pets And Tricks
For kitty’s sake, this Easter plant that Easter lilies outside! And watch the foods and decorations kitty might get into during your Easter or Passover celebrations. Some kitties pay no attention to anything but their own food, but other kitties…this article has links to two other articles on the subject of seasonal toxic flowers and plants, and foods and other holiday items that may be toxic or dangerous.
Leave the Lilies Outside!
And plan ahead for what flowers you may give as gifts or bring into your own home. Many of the flowers symbolic of this holiday or used for decoration this time of year are mildly toxic to pets including flowers from spring-blooming bulbs such as daffodils, paperwhite narcissus, crocus, tulips and hyacinths, including when these plants are found in bouquets.
But especially that big white “Easter lily”, often carried home from church on Easter Sunday or given as a gift, is often deadly to cats. All species of lily are toxic as well, including Asiatic lily, daylily, tiger lily and even smaller lilies like alstromeria.
All parts of the lily are toxic too—flowers, leaves, stems, bulb, even the pollen from the stamens, so prominent in those Easter lilies. Look at the stamens in the photo of the lily at left—what self-respecting kitty wouldn’t go in for a thorough inspection of those?
Lilies of all species and all parts of the lily, including pollen, are highly toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure and death within 36 hours—both potted lilies and lilies in cut bouquets. Please keep your cat safe this Easter and leave the lilies outside. My article “Leave the Lilies Outside: Toxic Plants and Cut Flowers” explains why lilies are so toxic to cats and also outlines a number of other flowers to be aware of that might appear in cut bouquets. Have a happy and safe Easter weekend!
Jelly Beans and Easter Grass, a Few Holiday Considerations
Aside from all the toxic flowers and plants popular for this time of year, the spring holidays are fraught with other dangers for curious kitties and dogs for whom the question is, “Is it a toy or is it food?” Cats and dogs will both eat things you’d never dream they’d be interested in, and your changes in routine at any holiday can bring a change in their habits as well. More of the dangers seem to fall in the Easter category, but too much brisket with gravy and matzoh balls at Passover can be just as bad as too much ham and au gratin potatoes!
And aside from the obvious foods, that colored “Easter Grass” in your baskets can cause a serious problem in a cat’s or dog’s digestive tract as it either rolls into a ball that they can’t pass, or the long undigestible strands wrap themselves around intestinal twists and turns and can even cause internal bleeding, both situations necessitating emergency abdominal surgery. The cellophane and foil wrapping on colorful candies is likewise dangerous even though it makes really fun and exciting crackling noises because it’s also undigestible and little bits of it can block the digestive tract and even tiny sharp edges can cause damage to sensitive tissues. And all that chocolate…all that sugar!
Before covering the basic warnings, here are a few key points to remember:
1. Animals are not little people. Animals are simply a fraction of our size, so the effect of anything on them will be multiplied in their smaller bodies which don’t metabolize things the same as we do. Consider chocolate and raisins, both of which can be toxic in dogs and cats in smaller amounts than we would eat for fun. Consider aspirin, which a cat’s small body doesn’t metabolize quickly enough to avoid a possible overdose and can be fatal, but can safely be used in reasonable dosages in a dog as a pain reliever.
2. Animals don’t make reasoned decisions in the same way we do. They make decisions based on their own sensibilities as cats and dogs, and because we presume they can’t read or understand warnings about dangers to themselves, these decisions are based on curiosity and adventure and are not always in their own best interest.
3. Don’t ever think your cat or dog “wouldn’t eat that”. They would. Plan on it. Cats are a little more discerning than dogs in choosing what to eat, and even with that, in all the years I’ve had cats they’ve eaten, or attempted to eat, just about anything they could chew and swallow, including such foods as hot peppers, cookies and raw green beans—who would think?!
4. Don’t think your cat or dog “can’t get to it”. They can. They have nothing better to do than to stalk and kill your cheese plate, or the box with the curling ribbon. Confine them if they won’t stay out of something, or get it out of your house.
5. And a special one for the holiday season: Your change in routine will change your pet. Don’t presume you can predict what they will do. Animals are creatures of habit, but this is the one time of the year we intentionally break habits including daily schedules, entertaining guests, and arranging and decorating our space. Our pets may run the spectrum from happily helping to totally freaking out, but the change in plans will have an effect on them and they may not behave in their usual manner, either, making them much less predictable than we are accustomed to.
They can only get into what we leave available for them, so keep them in mind as you prepare. For more information about toxic plants, foods and other dangers during any of our holiday celebrations, also read Fire and Icicles: Holiday Cautions for Pets.
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Great Rescues Day Book:
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Each month features one of my commissioned portraits of a feline or felines and their rescue story along with a kitty quote on the left page, and on the right page the month name with enough lines for all possible dates, with standard holidays and animal-themed observances and events. Great Rescues also includes a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings including information on finding strays or orphaned kittens, adopting for the first time or caring for a geriatric cat, a list of household toxins and toxic plants, or helping stray and feral cats and beginning with TNR.
Each book includes also 10 sheets of my “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits in black and white so you can make your own notes or write special notes to friends.
The portraits in this book, collected as a series, won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Annual Communication Contest, as well as the 22 Cats Notepaper mentioned below.
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