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A cat owner has issued a heartfelt Mother’s Day warning about the dangers of lilies – which can be lethal for felines. Every part of the innocent-looking lily plant is toxic for cats: the stem, leaves, flowers, pollen and even the water in a vase.
Mark Forsyth’s cat Puddles spent two days in emergency care after poking his head for just a couple of seconds into a bouquet of flowers with a lily in the middle.
He got lily pollen on his face, some of which he may have swallowed – and that fleeting contact was enough to put his life in danger for 48 hours. Thanks to expert care at Vets Now, three-year-old Puddles pulled through and has recovered fully from his ordeal.
But now Mark is keen for other owners to be aware of the risks as Mother’s Day approaches – bringing with it mass buying of flower bouquets for Mum.
Mark said: “Puddles is part of my family and I couldn’t have forgiven myself if anything had happened to him.
“I adopted him from a rescue shelter and that makes you as an owner want to protect your cat even more – because you know the suffering they’ve been through.
“I was already aware myself of the risks to cats caused by lilies and have always been super-careful to make sure Puddles has no contact with them.
“And what happened was a freak accident: A friend had brought round a bouquet of flowers with a lily in the middle which I’d stored well out of Puddles’ reach.
“When the flowers had wilted and were ready to go into the recycling I moved them for a few seconds while I was tidying – and that was long enough for Puddles to stick his head in for a sniff.
“I turned around and to my horror his little face was covered in lily pollen. I was horrified – and what we didn’t know of course and couldn’t take any risks about was whether he’d actually eaten any of the pollen or the flower itself or got any of the water in the vase. He didn’t have any symptoms – but I wasn’t taking any chances.”
Mark bundled Puddles up into his basket and a few seconds later they were on their way to our 24-hour pet emergency hospital in Manchester, where they live.
Every second is critical where a cat has potential lily poisoning and lead emergency vet David Owen and his colleagues began work immediately.
David said: “Lilies contain a toxic substance which can cause severe kidney injury in cats, although dogs – interestingly – are not affected.
“Sometimes a cat who has been in contact with a lily will have identifiable symptoms like drooling or being sick.
“But one of the issues is that sometimes there can be serious damage being done to a cat’s kidneys without any immediate sign that anything is wrong.
“And it can take two days for kidney injury to show up in blood tests.”
David and the team gave Puddles medicine to make him sick and gave him charcoal to help stop any toxins he’d consumed from being absorbed. Then they put him on an intravenous drip for two days to flush water through his kidneys to prevent them getting injured.
And when blood tests finally showed no kidney damage, Puddles got the all-clear to go home – much to Mark’s relief.
Mark said: “We’ll never know whether Puddles did or didn’t consume any of the lily but we had to work on the basis that he might have done – the consequences otherwise could have been fatal.
“David and the whole Vets Now team were very kind and thorough and kept me up to date all the way through with how Puddles was doing.
“This was actually Puddles’ second time at Vets Now – he was in for three weeks before with a blocked bladder, which was a really worrying situation and again he got excellent care.
“But I’m very much hoping we won’t need to be back for a while and the good news is that he’s totally recovered and back to his usual self: giving high 5’s and scampering up and down the shelves I’ve built for him to play on.
“Having been through all this with Puddles the one bit of advice I’d give any other cat owner, especially with Mother’s Day coming up, is be aware of the dangers of lilies, which are hard to believe sometimes when you think of how pretty the flowers are.
“And if your cat comes into contact with one – however briefly – please get help from a vet straightaway.”
David said: “We’ve got to know Puddles very well and we’re glad he’s doing fine now. Mark did absolutely the right thing bringing him in.”