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9th March 2021

A woman whose beloved cat died from acute kidney failure after coming into contact with lilies is supporting Cats Protection’s call for the rollout of pet-safe stickers on cut flowers and house plants to avoid more unnecessary deaths.

Emma Clarke (33) from Southampton is sharing her story ahead of Mother’s Day as a warning against sending bouquets containing poisonous plants to people that own pets.
 
Cats Protection believes the message is of particular importance this year as more people are likely to be sending flowers as Covid restrictions will still be affecting home visits.

Their concerns follow worrying findings in a recent YouGov survey1 commissioned by the feline welfare charity which revealed that:

  • Around six in 10 UK adults were not aware lilies are fatal to cats if they ingest them
  • When choosing to buy flowers, nine in 10 people did not say they would consider whether they’re toxic to pets
  • Half the people surveyed said they would be more likely to buy flowers if they had a pet safe warning attached

“Despite our campaigning on the issue, we’re really alarmed that lots of people still don’t know that certain flowers and plants can kill,” said Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations. “Indoor cats in particular sometimes nibble or brush past plants so it’s really important that everyone is aware of the dangers. This is why we’re calling on all retailers of cut flowers and house plants, especially online, to consider pet-safe stickers so consumers can have peace of mind that their beloved cats won’t come to any harm.”

Jacqui points out that lilies are particularly dangerous for cats, with all parts of the plant containing a toxin which can lead to rapid and severe kidney failure. Just licking pollen off their fur or drinking water from a vase containing lilies is enough for a cat to suffer a potentially fatal reaction.

Cats Protection says a lack of clear labelling means many owners are unwittingly exposing their beloved cat to a potentially fatal reaction simply by purchasing a bunch of flowers.

“We think mandatory stickers should be clearly displayed on bouquet packaging, with a universal logo that consumers can easily recognise and trust,” said Jacqui.

Emma who lost her cat last December agrees.

“The flowers were on the table and I saw Marie nibbling them a few times but didn’t think anything of it. Within a week or so, I noticed she was sleepier than usual. Then she started vomiting but I put this down to a recent change of food. Around four days later, she started going downhill quite fast – she was really lifeless and didn’t even react when the hoover came near her, so I knew something was seriously wrong.”

“I feel desperately sad but also very guilty that I didn’t know. I think bouquets should come with warnings and there should be advice given at the point of purchase. If any good can come out of this sadness, it will be making more people aware.”

For more information on which plants and flowers are dangerous to cats and how to recognise the signs of poisoning, please visit https://www.cats.org.uk/help-and-advice/home-and-environment/dangerous-plants.

Ends

For further information or an interview, please contact Cats Protection’s Media Office on 01825 741 911, at media.office@cats.org.uk, or @CPMediaTeam on Twitter.

Notes to editors:

  • All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2064 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 24th - 25th February 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+)
  • Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline charity, founded in 1927 as the Cats Protection League. We ask that you use the name Cats Protection when referring to the charity
  • Cats Protection is a national network of around 230 volunteer-run branches and 37 centres, helping around 200,000 cats and kittens every year
  • Registered charity number is 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland)
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