Friday, March 27, 2015

Four Easter Dangers for Cats to Avoid

Easter is the perfect time for family and friends to get together and celebrate.  It's important, however, as pet parents, that we keep our furry friends in mind during holiday celebrations.  I've listed potential Easter hazards for cats below as well as some safe alternatives to help you keep your kitty safe during the holiday festivities.

Plants and Flowers: Many people enjoy decorating their homes with beautiful flowers or plants at the start of Spring.  However, there are several plants that pose danger to cats.  Please note that this is not a full list of toxic flowers and plants.  For a complete list of toxic plants, please visit the ASPA's list of toxic and non-toxic plants.

Easter Lily: All species of "true" lilies, including the Easter Lily, are incredibly dangerous for cats.  A cat who ingests any part of the Easter Lily may experience: vomiting, lack of appetite, decreased or excessive thirst and urination, dehydration, acute kidney failure, and possible death.  According to the Pet Health Network, even ingesting a few Easter Lily petals or leaves, licking the pollen of its fur or paw, or drinking an Easter Lily's water from its vase can cause acute kidney failure in cats.

Other "true" lilies include: Asiatic, Tiger, Day, Japanese show, Stargazer, Wood, Red, Western, and Rubrum lilies.  Due to the severe consequences of "true" lily toxicity, I would highly recommend not bringing any of these flowers to a home where cats reside.

Azalea: Azalea is another Spring-time flower that is toxic to cats.  Kitties who ingest Azalea may experience: excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, weakness, central nervous system depression, coma, cardiac collapse, and possibly death.

Daffodil: Daffodils are beautiful flowers, but they are also dangerous for our companions.  Ingestion of Daffodils in small amounts may lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling.  Ingested in large quantities, cats may experience: low blood pressure, convulsions, tremors, and arrhythmias.

Safe Alternatives: Fortunately there are many beautiful non-toxic flowers and plants you can decorate your home with.  Easter Daisies, Easter Orchids, Gerber Daisies, Petunias, Roses, and Bachelors Buttons are just a few of the safe flowers you can use to decorate your home.  The ASPCA has a complete list of non-toxic plants to cats.  Even though these plants are not toxic to cats, I recommend not allowing your kitty to eat them.  Keep plants and flowers out of your cat's reach when you are not around to supervise him.

If you believe your cat has ingested a toxic plant, please call your veterinarian or local animal hospital.  You can also call the ASPCA Poison Control at: 888-426-4435.  The ASPCA Poison Control charges a $65 consultation fee for their services.

Plastic Easter Grass: Although plastic Easter grass makes Easter baskets look pretty, it is dangerous for your cat.  Most cats have a difficult time resisting eating stringy things, like Easter grass, ribbon, yarn, and tinsel.  When ingested, Easter grass can cause an abdominal or intestinal obstruction, which requires surgical removal.

If you believe your companion has ingested a foreign body, please call your veterinarian or local animal hospital immediately.  Do NOT try to pull out any visible string, ribbon, etc. from your cat's body.  Doing this can cause serious damage to your cat's organs.

Initial signs that your cat has ingested a foreign body include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, lack of appetite, straining to have a bowel movement, and abdominal pain.  According to VCA Animal Hospitals, your cat may also exhibit behavior changes, such as hissing or growling when you touch his stomach or pick him up.  He may also paw at his mouth or face if string, Easter grass, or ribbon got wrapped around the base of his tongue.

Safe Alternative: Instead of using Easter grass in children's baskets, cover the bottom of the basket with green fabric.  It's also best to keep Easter baskets out of your kitty's reach so that he isn't tempted to eat its contents.

Chocolate: Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which are part of a group of chemicals called methylxanthines.  The compounds found in chocolate stimulate the cat's nervous system and heart.

According to the ASPCA, in general, the darker the chocolate is, the more toxic it is.  For instance, white chocolate contains the fewest methylxanthines and is the least toxic while dark baker's chocolate contains many more methylxanthines and is therefore much more toxic.  The symptoms your cat experiences after ingesting chocolate will depend on how much and what type of chocolate she ate.  Signs of chocolate toxicity can range from abdominal pain, vomiting, restlessness, and increased thirst to muscle tremors, high body temperature, irregular heart rhythms, severe agitation, seizures, and possible death.  If you think your companion has ingested chocolate, please call your veterinarian or animal hospital.

Xylitol: Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in many candies, some baked goods, gum, and toothpaste.  According to WebMD, xylitol may lead your cat's body to produce more insulin, which will result in a drop in your kitty's blood sugar (hypoglycemia).  Liver failure may also occur after your companion ingests xylitol.  Initial signs that your cat has eaten xylitol include: vomiting, loss of coordination, and lethargy.  Seizures may also occur, and liver failure may show up within a few days of xylitol ingestion.

Easter is a joyous time that certainly calls for celebration.  Using these tips will help you keep your cat safe during the holiday.

What are your Easter plans?  How will you keep your cat safe during the holiday?


Pet Health Network: Easter Lily Poisoning in Cats.

ASPCA: Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants.

VCA Animal Hospitals: Ingestion of Foreign Bodies in Cats. 

ASPCA: Foods That Are Hazardous to Cats.

WebMD: Slideshow: Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat. 


  1. Great post and I like that you list alternatives. Please visit our giveaway.

  2. Holidays should be safe and fun instead of dangerous. Great info!

  3. Thank you for great information. Unfortunately, Lillies are my favorite flower, but my kitties are more important. I put the poison control number in my phone. ~Dawn~

  4. Thanks so much fur this good info.

    Not in the league with the Easter Lilies, but Lily of the Valley is POISONOUS. to furs and peeps alike...and um...we have here a whole garden full of them, inherited from the peeps that lived here befur.

    We no longer have any plants in the den, except silk ones...and um...they even try to munch on those, MOL!!

  5. My very favorite, Lillies of the Valey are toxic to everybody.

  6. Luckily for all my little animals we don't have any children, so there will be no "dangerous" items. I do keep a pic of the toxic plants on my phone so when we are purchasing flowers and plants I know what not to buy.

  7. Nice post! Thanks for sharing the dangers. I don't have a cat, but I'll definitely be keeping Simba away from any of the candies that Jordyn gets and that plastic Easter grass!

  8. There are so many dangers lurking around for kitties. Thanks for spreading the information. Hopefully it will help some cat owners to make better decisions about their holiday celebrations.

  9. Great informative post! Unfortunately I had a friend whose cat died after eating lilies - such a tragedy and very sad.

  10. Thanks for this important info! I wish no one used that plastic Easter grass! It's so harmful to many animals. I always get the shredded paper for my kids.

  11. Very important information! I just did an event to educate people on dangerous flowers and plants because so many people don't know! Thanks for sharing.
    -Jessica from Beagles & Bargains

  12. I'm so glad you posted this! I thought I knew all the dangers, but I didn't. I'll definitely skip the fake Easter "grass" - I have 4 cats, 3 of which would be "meh" about the baskets - but my youngest, Blazer - would SO try to eat it! Good info - thanks! :)

  13. Great post ! Thank your for giving alternatives ! Purrs

  14. Love this post! I never thought about recommending other flowers! I love your creativity!

  15. It is always great to have reminders of the things to avoid. We nearly lost a dog after she chewed on a hydrangea. I was the only one who knew it was toxic. I just assumed other people knew it too.

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  17. Great tips and reminders to keep our kitties safe! Pinning this as a reference!