Cats & Easter Lilies, A Deadly Combo!

White lilies on black background

Image courtesy of DepositPhotos.com

This is a repeat of a column I write nearly every year to warn pet lovers and especially those with cats. The gorgeous lily makes its appearance each Easter, decorating church, home, and garden. I can’t have them in my house, though. I won’t to risk having an Easter lily anywhere near my cats Seren and Karma or for Magical-Dog. For cats especially, the fragrant blooms can mean death.

Don’t get me wrong, I love lilies. They’re gorgeous. And I love flowers–our house is surrounded by about 500 rose bushes getting ready to bloom this spring. But my Seren-kitty likes to munch any plant I bring into the house and Karma will play with anything.

Cat

What’s WRONG with this picture??? Image Courtesy of DepositPhotos.com

Many lilies are lethal to cats. Easter lilies, stargazer lilies, and Asiatic lilies are the most dangerous, and different cats react in various ways. The plants contain a chemical that can damage the kidneys, and kill your cat. Dogs often gnaw leaves, dig up the plant, or eat the whole thing.

Felines more often paw-pat and shred leaves and stems during play, and may be poisoned when they later lick and clean their paws and claws. Just biting a leaf or petal can be enough to cause serious kidney disease. Hopefully that picture, above, used fake blooms to stage the image–YIKES!

CATS CAN BE POISONED BY DRINKING THE WATER FROM THE VASE!

SIGNS OF LILY POISONING

Cats poisoned by lily toxin typically suffer kidney failure within 36 to 72 hours. Symptoms include vomiting, lethargy or loss of appetite. Some cats suffer permanent kidney damage and lose their lives, while others can recover if treated in time with dialysis that gives the organs enough time to heal.

Seren eating yellow roses

Roses can injure cats if they bite thorns, but aren’t toxic and actually are edible…according to Seren!

The easiest way to protect your cats is to keep toxic plants out of reach—or out of your house altogether. Besides lilies, other potential harmful plants include rhododendron, sago palm, kalanchoe and schefflera. Azalea can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, coma and death. Eating or chewing caladium, dieffenbachia or philodendron makes the tongue and throat swell up so breathing is difficult. Mother-in-law’s tongue (snake plant) causes everything from mouth irritation to collapse. Crown of thorns and English ivy will prompt thirst, vomiting and diarrhea, stomach pain, and death in one to two days. Holly also causes stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea.

You can keep your pet family members safe and sound by choosing only pet-friendly safe varieties for your garden and home. Calla lilies and peace lilies, which don’t belong to the Lilium genus, are harmless to cats.

There are many other plants that prompt mild problems, such as excess salivation or mouth discomfort. Keeping these out of reach of curious paws may be sufficient to protect your animals. But pet lovers should steer clear of the worst plant offenders, both inside and out. If you see your pet with one or more of these signs, particularly if a suspect plant is within reach, get help immediately! First aid can save the cat or dog’s life. Then take the pet to see the veterinarian as quickly as possible.

FIRST AID FOR PLANT POISONING

Different poisons require very specific first aid. Usually that will be either 1) induce vomiting, (cats do this on their own very well–but never when you want them to!) or 2) give milk or water to wash out the mouth and dilute the poison. Making the pet vomit the wrong poisonous plant, though, could make a serious situation even more deadly, so you MUST know what to do for each type of plant.

first-aid

Detailed advice for dealing with the most common plant poisoning is available in the book The First-Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats. The ASPCA Animal Poison-Control Center is available for telephone consultations (1-888-426-4435) in case of poisoning emergency.

What cat-safe plants do you have in your home? How do you keep the cat from destroying/eating them? Have you ever had a kitty-plant encounter of the dangerous kind?


 

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–lick the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways, kewl product offers, and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Do You Speak Dog? Learn How in This Webinar

australian shepherd and phone

Image courtesy DepositPhotos.com

Hey there Sweet Peeps! Thanks to the great folks at Pet Healthy Store, I’ll present a fun AND FREE! webinar this Thursday March 26 (3:30 EDT).

SAY, WHAT? How Learning

“Dog-Speak” Solves Your Pet Peeves

This is based on the information from my ComPETability(Dogs) book, and is so important I wanted to share these basics for free. You will learn :

  • Three ways dogs communicate.
  • How to “listen” to what your dog says.NEW-DogCompet-COVER-kindle
  • Ways to “talk” so your dog WANTS to understand.
  • How dogs learn, & quick fixes for obnoxious behaviors.

SIGN UP AT THIS LINK

Q&A to follow so bring your fun doggy questions to Ask Amy.

And yes…did you notice the neato-torpedo new COVER for the book? I am wagging my virtual tail!

Stay tuned–sign up for next week’s CAT WEBINAR and learn how to “speak cat.” Hey, the fur-kids demand equal time!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–lick the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways, kewl product offers, and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Cat Nutrition & Animal Shelter Adoptions: #FoodShelterLove

KarmaEating

Karma loves his Perfect Weight food. Image copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Science Diet® and Food, Shelter & Love™ Program, but BLING, BITCHES & BLOOD BLOG only shares information I feel is relevant to my readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

FoodShelterLove

Image Courtesy of Hill’s Pet Nutrition

I wasn’t planning an animal shelter adoption when a kitten showed up on my patio just over a year ago. Karma-Kat acted starved for attention–and also food–and immediately purred his way into our hearts. Yet integrating a new cat into our household proved challenging on several levels, especially cat nutrition issues. In fact, if he’d been at the shelter, Karma’s food-obsession and subsequent weight gain could have kept him from being adopted, because Karma wanted to eat EVERYTHING.

Why Cats Steal Food

Cats that have had to fend for themselves as strays may be more prone to food obsession–yes, food actually can affect kitty mood. Karma was about 8 months old and weighed 8 pounds when he arrived. He probably hadn’t been out on his own very long, but long enough to figure out that you better EAT whenever/wherever you find it. So once the prelim intros were done between him and the 18-year-old Seren-Kitty and 8-year-old Magical-Dawg, we discovered just how much of a foodie he was.

Karma ate Magic’s food (thank goodness Magic was tolerant!), not just from his bowl–Karma snuck into the pantry and chewed holes in Magic’s dog food bag. Karma cruised countertops and absconded with hubby’s bag of doughnuts. Karma pushed Seren aside and ate her therapeutic kidney diet food. And Karma swiped a kabob from my husband’s plate.

KarmaMagicHills

“I love cat food, too!” Dogs often relish cat food–Karma isn’t sharing! Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

I know, I know! Magic and Seren’s food isn’t appropriate for a growing kitten (GROWING was the operative word, LOL!). Generally I recommend growing kittens be fed all they want of an appropriate kitten-specific ration but Karma really seemed to pack on the pudge doing this. While it only hurt Magic’s feelings to have his food stolen, 6-pound Seren needs every bit of her own food, and the added stress of guarding food bowls also impacts cats health.

The answer in Karma’s case was two-fold. 1) Manage the meals. 2) Feed Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight.

Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love Program Saves Cat Lives

The sad truth is that cats languish in shelters at this time of year, especially if they’re not a cute kitten. Hanging out in a cage all day gives little opportunity to stay a healthy, svelt weight and obese cats are less likely to get adopted.

That’s the impetus behind the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love Program, which offers shelters the opportunity to offer quality nutrition to their resident cats and kittens. The Perfect Weight Diet helps slim down tubby tabbies to make them MORE adoptable by creating a weight loss system that new owners can then easily continue in the new home.

KarmaHills1

Karma’s tummy pudge has reduced since transitioning to Hill’s Perfect Weight food. Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

I’d be a fan of this program anyway–Hill’s has provided over $240 million worth of food to nearly 1,000 shelters…and counting. But my personal experience with Karma tells me cats love the food, the program is easy to use and it works. In fact, over 70% of cats in this program lost weight within 10 weeks when fed this diet.

Find a shelter near you that participates in this plan.  Scroll down to see the video about Stoli the kitty who has benefit from this program.

So do you have a pudgy kitty? Or do you have several pets that all need to eat different kinds of food? Maybe the tips that helped me will help you, too.

6 Tips to Manage Meals in MultiPet Homes

Your pets’ personalities, social interactions, and health issues impact appetite, diet and feeding schedule and how to manage your multi-pet household. If you’re lucky, all the cats can eat the same food but in many cases you’ll have pets of different ages or health status (or species!) that require very specific nutrition unique to their situation.

PerfectWeight

Image Courtesy of Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Last summer, I received a free sample of the Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight food as a Klout Perk. Karma had just turned a year old, and I’d grown more concerned about his burgeoning tummy. The sample came with measuring cups and feeding recommendations and–Karma LOVED the food! Well, so did Magic and Seren, so then I had that to contend with.

Choosing the right food is just the first step.When you share your home and heart with multiple pets, managing mealtime takes planning but it can be done. I’ve written about this in my ComPETability book series, and put it to work with Karma. Use one or more of the steps, below, to keep your pets munching from the right bowl.

  • No rule says all the pets must all be fed at once. Staggered feedings even 10 minutes apart may allow you to supervise each meal, and “ride herd” on the kitties who shouldn’t nibble from a particular formula.
  • Move bowls a safe distance apart. Eating near each other can create a positive association (other cat presence=yummy food). But if a cat stops chewing to stare at another feline, move the bowls further apart.
  • Cats that guard feeding stations or act fearful to eat in another pets’ present require separate times/areas/rooms to eat. Countertops, tables, various levels on the cat tree, or book shelves all offer valuable kitty real estate for individual feeding locations each cat can “own.” In our case, Seren-Kitty eats her meals on the dining room table next to her bed, while Karma-Kat’s feeding station is in the master bathroom clear across the house.
  • A pet or baby gate can segregate feeding stations by allowing only the more nimble cats to pass through or jump over. Our kitchen pet-gates control access to where Magic is fed. Neither Magic or Karma can get through these gates, but Seren is so tiny she gets to come and go. Hey, she’s the QUEEN and so has access to everything–but never has had interest in dog food. :)
  • Cats like Karma love to scrounge, “hunt” or swipe food, so give these cat burglars a legal outlet. Treat balls dispense a single meal to one cat, or treats to a group so as the cat plays, the dry food inserted into the ball or toy dispenses a kibble at a time. That keeps Kitty fed and entertained, and out of another feline’s bowl.
  • When cats of different sizes must eat two specific diets, such as a weight-reducing food for the big guy and a regular food for the little one, separate cats during meals in different rooms or create a ‘boxed lunch.’ Cut a tiny cat-size opening in a cardboard or transparent plastic storage box to fit the smaller cat, and place the small cat’s food bowl inside the box, where he can access and nibble at his leisure.

At his kitty wellness check two weeks ago, Karma weighed 13.2 pounds. He’s still a bit on the large size but his food obsession has waned. Now that he gets plenty of tasty food and doesn’t worry about going hungry, he’s relaxed around food (his own and others).

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways, and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Benefits Of Blogging? Authors Dish About Blogging

SPARKLY-KEYBOARD.jpgHow kewl is this? I was interviewed for Susan Gilbert’s website where top authors give advice about blogging, and now have become part of this neato-torpedo infographic! There’s more about the interview at her site so please do check it out.

And for those who have landed here as a result of reading the interview, WELCOME! And I’d love to point you to some sample chapters of my September Day thriller series that (yes, indeed!) includes a dog viewpoint character and a trained cat. *s*

Read samples from the first book LOST AND FOUND here.

Read samples from the sequel HIDE AND SEEK here.

Hope you’ll return time and again for SQUEEE-licious pet care info, writer-icity fun and more.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–lick the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways, kewl product offers, and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

 

St. Patricks Day, Cats & Dogs: Playing Green

St Patricks Day Puppies and Kittens

Image courtesy of DepositPhotos.com

Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Even though my pets are not of the Irish purr-suasion, they’ve got into the holiday fun.

MagicGreenTie

Magic is ROCKIN’ his green tie. Image copr Amy Shojai, CABC

 

 

 

 

 

 

SerenGreenScarf

Seren’s not interested in green, unless it involves treats. Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

KarmaGreenFeather

Even Karma’s tag is green! Image copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

MagicGreenBall

“Green, schmean, just THROW THE BALL!” Image copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

How do your pets celebrate the day? Green toys? I think later today the kitties will vote for some extra-green ‘nip!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–lick the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways, kewl product offers, and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!