Easter is a time of celebration and rebirth, but it can be deadly to your pet (who, unfortunately, is not equipped for rebirth). Here are the top six Easter/Spring dangers of which you should be aware:
All members of the lily family are lethal to cats. Consider safe alternatives like orchids, violets, daisies or other safe Spring flowers.
The Easter lily is extremely toxic – ingestion of a few leaves will result in severe, acute renal/kidney failure and kill your cat.
Dr. Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC explains further:
“This is your friendly reminder to keep those darned Easter lilies OUT OF YOUR HOUSE! There are dangerous and benign lilies out there, and its important to know the difference. Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies contain oxalate crystals that cause minor signs, such as tissue irritation to the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and esophagus this results in minor drooling.
“The more dangerous, potentially fatal lilies are true lilies, and these include Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies all of which are highly toxic to cats! Even small ingestions (such as 2-3 petals or leaves) can result in severe acute kidney failure.
“If your cat is seen consuming any part of a lily, bring your cat (and the plant) immediately to a veterinarian for medical care. The sooner you bring in your cat, the better and more efficiently we can treat the poisoning.
“Decontamination (like inducing vomiting and giving binders like activated charcoal) are imperative in the early toxic stage, as can improve survival. Once cats are already in severe anuric kidney failure (they arent making any urine anymore b/c their kidneys have shut down), the prognosis is grave. When in doubt, call an animal poison control like Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 if you think your cat may have gotten into anything!”
Plastic/Foil Easter Grass
Sure, it’s festive, but next to Easter lillies, Easter grass presents the gravest danger to your cat. It’s an enticing playtoy that is nearly irresistable to frisky felines.
Once it’s in your house, it is extremely hard to monitor and contain (especially if small children are involved). Like Christmas tinsel, it can be result in catastrophic intestinal distress, requiring immediate and expensive veterinary attention.
As an alternative, consider using paper grass or festive Easter-print fabric nested in the basket. (You should still be vigilant and ensure that Fluffy doesn’t ingest a bunch of paper grass, but it is less hazardous than plastic/foil grass.)
In the excitement of the day, small children (or adults) may leave half-eaten chocolate treats where Fluffy or Fido can find them. Chocolate can be lethal to pets. Dogs are the most vulnerable, but it can be dangerous to cats and other small pets as well. Learn more about chocolate toxicity in pets here.
Fresh eggs, properly handled, present no danger. But old spoiled eggs are veritable Petri dishes and can be lethal. It’s not unusual for young children to eat part of an egg and leave the rest where Fluffy will find it days later, consume it, and become gravely ill. Keep a strict count of your eggs, and ensure that everyone disposes of half-eaten eggs in the trash — not under furniture or in the yard.]
Cute Baby Animals
DO NOT purchase baby animals (chicks, bunnies, ducks) as Easter gifts. 99% of the time it is an act of cruelty (most Easter animals die of neglect or improper care; most of the rest are discarded), and they can carry Salmonella which can be transmitted to your pets and children.
If you feel you absolutely, pawsitively have to get your child an animal as a gift, please do so AFTER Easter–then visit your local animal shelter where there will be a wide array of abandoned buns (or chickens or ducks) from which to choose. You can get your children a great pet and teach them the value of adopting abandoned animals–a real-life example of Easter rebirth.
Depending on the guests, you may have to exercise extra caution so that your guests don’t allow your animals to escape. People who don’t own pets often don’t have the same auto-response to open doors that pet owners do.
Will young children be visiting? Brief them on how to handle (or ask them to not handle) your cat, and make sure they know not to feed your cats chocolate. If they are especially raucous, it might be better to sequester your cats in a spare bedroom for the duration of the visit.