Pet owner issues warning over Mother's Day flowers and plants after her cat dies from being poisoned by some

The heartbroken owner supports Cat Protection's call for a pet-safe sticker roll out scheme

Mother's Day flower warning, A cat and a bunch of fresh lilac in a vase in rustic style
(Image credit: Strawberry Mood Photography Getty)

A pet owner has urged people to be careful when picking Mother's Day flowers and plants after her beloved cat Marie died after nibbling on a bunch of flowers.

Emma Clarke, 33, from Southampton has shared her heartbreak in the hope to make pet owners aware of the hidden dangers in their home after her cat died from nibbling a bunch of flowers which proved toxic to animals.

The Cat Protection charity is calling for a rollout of pet-stickers on cut flowers and house plants to avoid more unnecessary deaths, as pets have a positive effect on their owners but plants can be just as deadly as feeding your pet homemade food.

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.

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Cat smelling tulips

(Image credit: Jennifer Causey Getty)

Emma, who lost her cat last December, recalled, "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."

Emma explained how Marie's health deteriorated quickly, she continued, "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."

Marie was taken to vets, but could not be saved. "I feel desperately sad but also very guilty that I didn’t know," said Emma. "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,' she added.

And with lockdown restrictions still in place, charities like the Cat Protection fear there could be a rise in tragedies as more people send flowers to their beloved mothers in absence of a personal visit. Also, more people are adopting dogs and cats throughout the pandemic.

A recent YouGov survey commissioned by the feline welfare charity 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, and half the people surveyed said they would be more likely to buy flowers if they had a pet-safe warning attached. As still more needs to be done to help pets live longer.

Plants that are toxic to cats:

  • Amaryllis 
  • Aphelandra
  • Azalea 
  • Castor Oil Plant (also see Ricinus) 
  • Christmas Cherry (also see Solanum) 
  • Cheese plant (see also Swiss Cheese Plant, Monstera deliciousa) 
  • Chrysanthemum (also see Dendranthema) 
  • Codiaeum 
  • Croton (also see Codiaeum) 
  • Cyclamen 
  • Devil’s Ivy (also see Epipremnum aureum) 
  • Dieffenbachia* 
  • Dumb Cane (also see Dieffenbachia) 
  • Elephant’s Ear (also see Alocasia, Caladium) 
  • Epipremnum aureum 
  • Eucalyptus Ferns 
  • Holly (also see Ilex) 
  • Hypoestes phyllostachya 
  • Hyacinthus Ivy (also see Hedera) 
  • Kalanchoe 
  • Mistletoe (also see Viscum) 
  • Nerium oleander 
  • Oleander (also see Nerium oleander) 
  • Ornithogalum 
  • Senecio 
  • Star of Bethlehem (also see Ornithogalum) 
  • Umbellatum 
  • Umbrella Plant (also see Schefflera) 
  • Zebra Plant (also see Aphelandra)

Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s head of advocacy and government relations added, "Despite our campaigning on the issue, we are really alarmed that lots of people still don’t know that certain flowers and plants can kill. Indoor cats in particular sometimes nibble or brush past plants so it’s really important that everyone is aware of the dangers."

Selina Maycock
Selina Maycock

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life.

Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. Having spent the start of her career working on local newspapers and online, Selina spent six years as Acting News Editor and Entertainment Reporter at the Scunthorpe Telegraph where she dug into hard news stories, conducted interviews, covered court reporting, features, and entertainment, whilst going to gigs in her spare time.

Whilst at the paper she was awarded an O2 Media Judges' Special Award for helping a terminally ill cancer sufferer realise his dying wish and marry his childhood sweetheart through a successful newspaper campaign. Things like this are close to her heart when it comes to using journalism to make a positive difference in people's lives.

Selina later branched further into all things celebrity to became a Showbiz Writer at Heat magazine, covering red carpet events, showbiz parties, and various launches before going freelance for two years. One of her biggest celebrity achievements - aside from generating celebrity exclusives - was interviewing Take That (including Robbie Williams) and bumping into Simon Cowell so much at events she told him 'I'm calling you my showbiz dad!'

In 2017 she joined TI Media as a senior reporter on Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, Woman's Weekly celebrity desk before branching online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first.

When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.