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Common Easter Dangers for Cats

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Easter is right around the corner.  While it's a great time for celebrating with family and friends, this holiday poses some serious dangers to our cats.  Not only have I listed some of the most common Easter dangers to cats below, I've also suggested some safe alternatives.

Flowers: A lot of people like to decorate their homes for Easter, but it's important to keep your cat in mind when considering which flowers to bring home.  I've listed a few of the flowers toxic to cats below.  However, please note that this is not a complete list of toxic plants to cats.  You can find a complete list of toxic plants for cats on ASPCA's website

Easter Lilies: Easter lilies are perhaps among the most toxic flowers to cats.  In fact, all "true" lilies are poisonous to kitties.  Ingesting any part of an Easter Lily can lead to vomiting, decreased or excessive urination and drinking, dehydration, anorexia (lack of appetite), acute kidney failure, and in some cases, death.  Pet Health Network reports that a cat who licks an Easter Lily's pollen off his paw or fur, drinks the flower's water from its vase, or eats just a few flower petals or leaves can develop acute kidney failure.  

Due to the serious consequences of a cat ingesting a "true" lily, I would highly suggest never bringing a "true" lily home if you have a cat residing with you.  Other "true" lilies include: Day, Asiatic, Japanese show, Rubrum, Tiger, Wood, Red, Stargazer, and Western lilies.  Lily of the Valley is also known to be toxic to cats.  

Daffodils: Daffodils are pretty, but they are also toxic to cats.  If a cat ingests a small quantity of Daffodils, she may vomit, drool, and have diarrhea.  However, if a cat ingests a large quantity of these flowers, she may experience low blood pressure, tremors, heart irregularities, and convulsions.

Azaleas: Azaleas are another Springtime flower that poses a danger to kitties.  Ingestion of Azaleas may lead to vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, low blood pressure, weakness, coma, central nervous system depression, cardiac collapse, and in some cases, death.  

Baby's Breath: Baby's Breath is often used to accent flower bouquets, but if it can cause gastrointestinal distress for a cat who eats it.

Safe Alternatives: Fortunately, there are plenty of beautiful flowers you can use to decorate your home that are also safe for cats.  Roses, Easter Daisies, Easter Orchids, Sunflowers, Petunias, and African Violets are just a few safe flowers you can display in your home.

Candy: Candy is a sweet treat to be enjoyed by humans - not cats.  Specifically, chocolate is toxic to cats.  The ASPCA states that in general the darker the chocolate is, the more toxic it is.  Thus, white chocolate is the least toxic while dark Baker's chocolate is much more toxic to cats.  The severity of your cat's symptoms after he's eaten chocolate will depend on what type and how much chocolate he ate.  Symptoms of chocolate toxicity vary widely from vomiting, abdominal distress, increased thirst, and restlessness to irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, high body temperature, seizures, severe agitation, and in some cases, death.  

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in some baked goods, sugar-free candies, gum, and toothpaste, is also poisonous to kitties.  WebMD states that when ingested, xylitol can cause your cat's body to produce more insulin, which in turn, can result in low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).  Unfortunately, xylitol may also lead to liver failure, if ingested.  Vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination are initial signs that your kitty has eaten something containing xylitol.  Seizures can also occur.  Liver failure can show up a few days after your kitty ingests xylitol.

Safe Alternatives:  Instead of allowing your companion to snack on candy or baked goods, buy her some cat treats or her favorite canned cat food to enjoy.  Alternatively, if your kitty enjoys catnip, allow her to have some of that on Easter.

If you suspect your cat has ingested anything toxic, please seek veterinary attention. 

Easter Grass: Plastic Easter grass makes a nice accessory for Easter baskets.  Unfortunately, the plastic grass is potentially dangerous for your companion if he happens to eat it. If your feline eats plastic Easter grass, an abdominal or intestinal blockage may occur, which is typically remedied with surgery.  If you see Easter grass poking out of your kitty's mouth or behind, do NOT try to pull it out.  Doing so could cause serious internal damage.  Instead, call your veterinarian or local animal hospital for instructions.  

Initial symptoms of an abdominal or intestinal obstruction can include: vomiting, diarrhea or straining to have a bowel movement, abdominal pain, drooling, and lack of appetite.  Your kitty may also exhibit some behavior changes if he has an obstruction, such as growling or hissing when you try to pick him up or touch his stomach.  VCA Animal Hospitals also warns that he may paw at his face or mouth if the Easter grass gets wrapped around the base of his tongue.  

Safe Alternative: Many kitties have difficulty resisting the temptation to play with or eat stringy things, such as yarn, tinsel, ribbon, and Easter grass.  Therefore, instead of using plastic Easter grass, cover the bottom of Easter baskets with green fabric.  Additionally, it is a good idea to keep Easter baskets out of your cat's reach to prevent her from eating any of its contents.  

I hope these tips will help you have a safe and happy Easter! 

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This post is written by Sierra M. Koester, Professional Blogger and Cat Care Society Volunteer. 


Pet Health Network: Easter Lily Poisoning in Cats.

VCA Animal Hospitals: Ingestion of Foreign Bodies in Cats.

WebMD: Slideshow: Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat.

ASPCA: Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants.

ASPCA: Foods That Are Hazardous to Cats. 

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