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.

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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 is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 15 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She has covered 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.