Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you cannot always protect your pets. I found out the hard way, that it was not only live house plants that can pose a danger to your pets, but artificial plants as well.
It was Christmas, and for years I had eliminated tinsel, live poinsettia plants, live Christmas cactus, live Mistletoe and any other potentially dangerous items of that season. I had researched to keep my pets safe during the holiday seasons, but I had never seen the dangers of artificial plants.
I am writing this in loving memory of my Maine Coon cat, Miranda. She was never one to nibble on the artificial plants, so I never expected that to be the cause of her not feeling well. She had been skipping meals, losing weight, not cleaning herself regularly and keeping to herself. My husband and I decided she needed to see the vet. She was quite dehydrated, so they kept her at the clinic. They couldn’t find anything wrong with her at first, blood tests came back fine, but she was still not eating. The vet put a scope down her throat to see if anything could have been lodged in her esophagus, but they found nothing.
She stayed in the clinic over Christmas and we were to pick her up the day after. Before we were to pick her up, the vet called and asked if we had any artificial plants that she could have eaten. I had an artificial arrangement on the coffee table, but it didn’t look like it had been chewed. Miranda had coughed up a small stick that had been lodged sideways in her throat that morning. The doctor hadn’t seen it during the scope procedure. It had come from the plant on the coffee table.
She was on the road to recovery! It took a few weeks for her to resume eating; her throat was quite irritated from the stick. She seemed to be getting back to normal, but that was misleading.
Two months after bringing her home, my husband and I rushed her back to the vet. I found her lying on the floor, having trouble breathing and gasping for each breath. She was suffering from congestive heart failure. The fluids were making it hard for her to breathe. She was in a lot of pain and the vet did not think she would survive. We made the heartbreaking decision to ease her pain.
When talking with the vet, she felt that the previous incident with the stick lodged in her throat caused the distress on her heart. Over time, the fluid built up until she could no longer breathe freely.
It is so hard to know what dangers are in your house. I can’t bring my Miranda back, but I can help others from making the same mistake. Check all of your plants, artificial or real, and make sure that your cats or dogs are not going to be harmed if they think this is something to eat or play with. It will take only a few minutes of your time, but the rewards will be a happy, healthy and safe pet!