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My Pet World: If you have pets, don't bring lilies into your home

By Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Cathy,

We just lost our beloved cat because she ate a lily flower. Could you remind your readers of the dangers of this plant to cats? Our hearts are broken but maybe a little education might save somebody else from this heartache. -- Shelley K., Tucson, AZ

Dear Shelley,

I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for wanting to share your story to warn others. Lilies are a common cut-flower that are extremely poisonous to cats. Asiatic lilies, (including hybrids), Daylilies, Japanese Snow Lilies, Stargazer Lilies, Tiger Lilies, and Wood Lilies all fall into this category. The entire plant is toxic. Exposure to any part of it, whether leaf, flower, pollen or even the water in the vase, is considered a medical emergency and leads to acute kidney failure in cats. These particular lilies are not fatal to dogs but can cause a serious digestive-upset.

Exposure to the Lily of the Valley plant, however, is toxic to cats and dogs (and people) and can cause cardiac arrythmias and death. Gloriosa Lily can cause multi-system failure in cats and dogs that chew on them. Calla lilies and Peace lilies are less toxic but can cause respiratory distress and irritation to your pet's mouth, tongue, throat and esophagus.

The takeaway here is simple: If you have pets, don't bring lilies into your home.


Dear Cathy,

In your column in the Hartford Courant, there was a question about a yellow lab that had not been fixed yet. (The reader wanted to know if neutering would calm the dog and reduce his urge to life his leg). I had a golden retriever and did not get him fixed right away. He was pretty good about staying in the yard, but one day he was gone. It was a very tense three days looking for him. I am guessing he might have been bugging someone who had a female dog. Anyway, I got him neutered, and he never left the yard again on his own.

As for dogs lifting their legs, my dog still lifted his leg after neutering. If they smell another dogs scent, they leave their "mark" to cover the other scent. I had heard that if they get loose, sniffing their scent may help them find their way back home. Whether that helped my dog get home, I will never know.

Maybe you can pass this information on to Tom from Massapequa Park, N.Y. Thank you for writing such an informative column. -- Liz P., Newington, CT


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