If you're like most people who are about to open your homes and hearts to a new kitten for the first time, you're really looking forward to watching the little ball of fur grow into a big, beautiful cat. Like most modern pet parents, you'll be opting to keep your cat strictly indoors due to the dangers posed by outdoor environments such as traffic and predators. However, you may unaware be that the average indoor home environment has dangers of its own when it comes to the health and safety of curious kittens.
One of the most common culprits is any houseplant in the Lily family. Easter Lilies and Peace Lilies are among the most widely sold houseplants in the country. Here's what new kitten owners need to know about them.
All Parts of the Plant Are Toxic
People often think they have little to worry about concerning their kittens and lilies because it is very unlikely that the animals are going to start chowing down on the leaves and flowers of the plants. Although this is true, it's also true that kittens like to play, and poisoning can occur simply as the result of licking pollen off the bottom of a paw after the kitten has taken a swipe at a blooming flower. Since lilies produce lots of loose, sticky pollen, this scenario isn't terribly far-fetched. Additionally, even drinking the water in a vase containing cut lily flowers can cause acute kidney failure in cats and kittens.
Symptoms of Lily Poisoning Are Progressive
Symptoms of lily poisoning often begin with what appears to be slight nausea and lethargy, which pet owners often write off as a brief bout with indigestion. Within 12 hours, symptoms typically progress to drooling and vomiting. Kidney failure generally sets in by 24 hours, and without treatment, lily poisoning is usually fatal in kittens.
The Local Animal Care Hospital May Save the Kitten's Life
The good news is that getting the kitten to a local animal care hospital in time can often save the kitten's life. However, it's important not to wait until the last minute. If you've got lilies in your home, whether they are cut flowers or potted plants, it's best to err on the side of caution and take the kitten for medical evaluation when it first starts exhibiting the above symptoms. Other types of houseplants can be toxic to cats as well, but lilies are the worst offenders.