Many of the plants we use to decorate our garden and homes can be poisonous, even deadly for our pets. Ivies, palms, dieffenbachia, weeping fig, schefflera, clivia, philodendron and Norfolk Island pine are just a few.
But one stands at the top of the list for being fatal to cats. Just a tiny amount of lily pollen, leaf or flower causes kidney failure in cats, which frequently causes death. If a cat walks by a vase of cut flowers that contains lilies and pollen falls on its fur, the cat risks poisoning when it grooms itself.
One of the first signs of toxins in the system is a lack of eating. Usually within 48 hours of exposure, a cat will stop eating as the kidneys shut down. Not all cats die, but the care can be intensive.
In 2011, the ASPCA reported 1,750 calls about plant poisonings to its Animal Poison Control Center. The top culprits included peace lily, dracaena, philodendron, Easter lily, euphorbia, aloe vera, jade plants and mother-in-law tongue.
Both dogs and cats will eat plants, but plants are much higher on the list for cats than dogs, who are more fond of pills and food products.
Hibiscus can be a serious problem, too, including the tropical hibiscus, which is a popular houseplant. After ingesting hibiscus, a dog will vomit persistently, may vomit blood and have bloody diarrhea. The loss of body fluid may be severe enough to be lethal in some cases.