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  • Writer's pictureAldona Birmantas

Easter Lilies - Just Say No! (Feline Friday series)

With Easter just a mere two days away, those tall, pretty and, depending on who you ask, lovely-smelling lilies are everywhere in sight. We had them every year at my Dad’s felinefree house when I was growing up, as did/do many other people, even those with pets. They just feel like the norm around this time of the year. However, did you know that they are highly toxic and even potentially fatal to cats? In fact, all lilies are poisonous to cats to an extent, some more so than others.

Though I am far from being considered a person with a green thumb, I do occasionally like to keep a plant or two or some fresh flowers in my apartment. Fortunately, Marge isn’t ever too interested and thus, rarely even pays them any mind. Betty, however, has me convinced that her chlorophyll radar starts going off as soon as I start eyeballing a new plant to bring home because she is on it the second I set it down on an accessible surface. She’ll sometimes be polite and just hover around, scoping out the new addition, but as soon as I turn my head, it’s snack time. Other times, of course, she doesn’t give a wink that I am watching her and will just get straight to munching, usually while staring right as me as if to say, “What? I don’t care that you’re watching. Sue me.”

Admittedly, back in the early days of having Betty, I was unaware of the dangers of lilies or any type of flowers and plants, in general, for cats. I’d had Easter lilies, tiger lilies and various other “no-no” flowers in my apartment and thankfully, her instincts told her not to mess with them and I never had a problem, but I know other people and their cats have not been so lucky.

Thankfully, I learned, and not the hard way. Now, whenever the mood for some fresh flowers strikes, I will be “that guy” and stand right there in the store, looking up various flowers and plants to see which ones are safe for cats to eat- because who am I kidding, the petals are going to be pulled off and bite marks left in the leaves eventually. After doing this routinely for a few years, I’ve found that my go-to preferences for fresh flowers are roses and gerbera daisies. Pet grass, orchids, African violets and the classic hit, fresh catnip, are also great, safe options, just to name a few.

All it takes is a mere leaf of an Easter Lily to make your cat seriously ill. Even pollen that may have gotten on their fur that was eventually groomed off can pose a grave consequence. If you keep any type of lily in your house and you suspect your cat is trying to test out one of their nine lives by snacking on one, be sure to call your vet immediately to advise you, whether or not there are symptoms. If you see initial signs that may include vomiting, dehydration, lethargy and/or loss of appetite and seek medical treatment immediately. Not doing so or waiting too long could result in acute kidney failure, which is the last thing anyone wants to happen. However, when it comes to Easter lilies and the other members of their family, it’s best to just say no!

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