Flowers bought as a loving gift almost cost a cat its life. Dominika Kaminska was distraught after finding four-year-old Socks had ingested pollen from the pretty lilies and then discovering they could be fatal.

A tearful Dominika knew she needed urgent help and a frantic taxi ride to the Vets Now clinic in Barton-le-Clay, Bedfordshire saved the day.

Now Dominika is backing vets’ calls for cat owners to avoid lilies which are hugely popular at this time of the year, but which can cause serious illness and even result in death.

Dominika, from Dunstable, has always had cats and got Socks as a kitten just as soon as she could after moving from Poland.

“I had been given some lovely-looking lilies and had no idea they could be dangerous,” said Dominika.

“Socks didn’t bother with them when the petals were closed, but he became interested when they flowered. We were out and he must have come to smell them, got the pollen on his nose and licked it.

“He’s usually a really vocal cat, but when I came home, he was so quiet. When I picked him up, he was dazed and it was like he wasn’t really there.

“He was so lethargic and wanted to drink water all the time. I saw the pollen, realised he must have been at the lilies and when I checked on the internet and saw how dangerous they could be I was really worried.

“I phoned Vets Now straight away, but I was crying and panicking when I was waiting for the taxi to take us to the clinic.”

Socks the ginger cat who suffered lily poisoningThe Vets Now Barton-le-Clay clinic is one of more than 60 clinics and hospitals across the UK that are open seven days a week for out-of-hours pet emergencies.

Getting Socks there so quickly was vital, and he was put on a drip and underwent treatment and observation for two days before he was well enough to go home.

The clinics have had to deal with hundreds of cases of lily poisoning in recent years, often around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

“Lilies are particularly poisonous to cats,” said Dave Leicester, Vets Now’s head of clinical intelligence.

“They can cause severe diarrhoea, convulsions, acute kidney failure and even death.

“What makes them particularly dangerous is that all parts of the plant are toxic and even small ingestions, such as two or three leaves or petals, or water from a vase containing lilies, can be potentially fatal.

“In fact, even very small amounts of pollen can be extremely dangerous. Cats can swallow a toxic amount just by grooming after brushing against the flowers.

“Lilies are so dangerous we’d call on cat owners never to have them in their house.”

Dominika was delighted when she was able to finally collect Socks and now just won’t have lilies at home.

“However pretty they might be, it’s not worth the risk,” added Dominika. “We nearly lost Socks, so just don’t have them in the house if you have a cat.”