Pets spending more time in the garden comes with its own risks

A super-clever cat climbed into her pet carrier to alert her owner she was poorly — after she poisoned herself eating a daffodil.

Rescue cat Asha was rushed to our emergency clinic in Nottingham after she managed to raise the alarm herself about just how unwell she was.

Asha ate the flower in the communal back yard downstairs from her owner Anna Shaw’s flat.

Now Anna is keen to raise awareness about the dangers of daffodils to companion animals, with more pets likely to be confined to back gardens during the coronavirus lockdown.

Image of Asha the cat for Vets Now article on daffodils and cats dangers
Asha the cat accidentally poisoned herself by eating a daffodil

Anna only noticed something was wrong when Asha was sick. Next, strange noises began coming from her stomach.

Then Asha took herself off into the pet carrier box which Anna uses to take her to the vets.

“She’s such a clever cat,” said Anna. “She climbed into the carrier and I realised straight away that she was telling me I needed to take her to vets.”

Teacher Anna did some quick internet research — then discovered to her concern that daffodils can be highly toxic to pets.

The spring flowers contain a poisonous alkaloid that can trigger vomiting while crystals in the bulbs are severely toxic and can cause serious conditions such as abnormal heart rhythms or breathing problems in cats and dogs.

Anna only noticed something was wrong when Asha was sick. Next, strange noises began coming from her stomach.

Then Asha took herself off into the pet carrier box which Anna uses to take her to the vets.

“She’s such a clever cat,” said Anna. “She climbed into the carrier and I realised straight away that she was telling me I needed to take her to vets.”

Teacher Anna did some quick internet research — then discovered to her concern that daffodils can be highly toxic to pets.

The spring flowers contain a poisonous alkaloid that can trigger vomiting while crystals in the bulbs are severely toxic and can cause serious conditions such as abnormal heart rhythms or breathing problems in cats and dogs.

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Image of shredded daffodils for Vets Now article on daffodils and cats dangers
Daffodils, like the one Asha ate, are highly toxic to pets

Anna rang our pet emergency clinic in Nottingham – and within minutes four-year-old Asha was being looked after by vet Alyssa Comberbach.

Alyssa gave Asha medicine to induce sickness in a bid to remove all remaining traces of the bulb from Asha’s stomach.

Asha, who had become badly dehydrated, was then put on an intravenous drip and kept in overnight for observation.

The next morning, she was well enough to return to Anna’s normal daytime vet, and was back at home with Anna later that day.

Anna said: “Asha had a very lucky escape. You really wouldn’t think that something as innocent as a daffodil could be so serious for a cat.

“But Asha really was in a life or death situation – and I’m glad she was able to tell us that by getting into the carrier.

“People who don’t have pets might not realise that a cat or a dog is part of your family, it’s part of your household and with everything that’s going on with the coronavirus it’s also very good for your wellbeing as well.

“Thankfully, it wasn’t long before Asha was back to her normal self and I’m very grateful to the Vets Now team for being there to look after her.”

Image of Asha the cat lying in bed for Vets Now article on cat poisoned by daffodils
Despite her ordeal, Asha was soon back to her normal self

Dave Leicester, head of clinical intelligence at Vets Now, said while severe poisoning from ingesting daffodils is rare, it can happen.

He added: “It’s a little-known fact that daffodils and pets are not a good combination. In most cases, however, cats and dogs only suffer gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhoea.

“Anna was right to bring Asha straight in though — it’s always very important in terms of getting a positive outcome. If she had delayed, the consequences could have been much more serious.”

The Vets Now clinic in Nottingham — where Asha received treatment — has been rated as “outstanding” in the delivery of emergency and critical care by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

It’s one of a nationwide network of Vets Now clinics and pet emergency hospitals that are open through the night, seven-days-a-week, and day and night on weekends and bank holidays, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur, including during the current coronavirus lockdown.

Since the restrictions were put in place, vets have been added to the list of key workers and veterinary practices have been confirmed by the government as essential services.

All of Vets Now’s out-of-hours clinics and 24/7 hospitals have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.