HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Have you ever had a pet you dearly love? You’ve known me long enough to have heard of my dear Lola (so tiny when I got her at the SPCA that she couldn’t even go up the stairs in my apartment) and Leon (who I saved from the torment of a pack of street kids on Ponce deLeon Avenue.) Lola lived to be 20, Leon 14. They never acknowledged the other, although lithe lived in the same apartment.
Anyway. I loved them. The incredible Annette Dashofy has Kensi. And the two of them will break your heart with this story. Stop, take a moment, read this. And cherish your loved ones.
We’re only four months in to the year and already it’s provided me with some fabulous highs (contract extension, USA Today Bestseller list, multi-book audio deal, wonderful reviews on the new release) and some devastating lows (my mom’s death, several illnesses, and nearly losing Kensi).
That last one involving my office assistant/kitty cat may not have been on the same level as losing my mom, but on the heels of everything else, having to rush Kensi to the emergency vet and leaving her there drove me to my knees.
Guilt had much to do with the anguish. What happened could have been—should have been—prevented. By me. The often overly cautious cat mom.
Some of you who follow me on Facebook already know the story. What surprised me was the response. Not because of the outpouring of support. I already knew I have the best Facebook friends. What surprised me was the number of pet owners who didn’t know about the hazards of plants.
So by way of a furry PSA, here’s Kensi’s and my story.
I love flowers, especially roses. Who doesn’t, right? So I squeed with delight when this gorgeous spring bouquet of roses and lilies showed up at my door. I also know Kensi loves to chew on plants, so I snapped a photo of the flowers with Miss Nosy checking them out and then promptly put them on top of our armoire, which is the only—and I do mean only—spot in this house where she can’t get to them. For the next week, I admired them and paused to inhale the scent of those gorgeous roses several times a day.
But as cut flowers do, they started to wilt. I thought I’d squeeze one more day out of them. And that was my mistake.
Monday morning was one of those Mondays. The kind you wish you could do over but are afraid you’d end up reliving a la Groundhog Day. I spilled a glass of water. Hubby kicked the cat food bowl sending crunchies all over the floor.
And in the midst of me rushing to get Hubby out the door for work, Kensi starting gakking. As I cleaned up the mess, I noticed something salmon-colored in it. I also noticed a few feet away, at the base of the armoire, several wilted lily petals from the bouquet. Salmon-colored lily petals.
Poor Kensi continued to gak. I followed her around, mopping up the liquid. Two petals had come back up. At first I thought, well that’s good. She should be fine. She’d thrown the things up, so there wasn’t anything left in her system to cause problems.
Except I knew almost immediately that things weren’t fine. She acted like her mouth was sore and she refused her favorite cat treats. So I did what I always do when I don’t know all the facts. I hit Google.
What I read terrified me. By now it was a little after 6:00 in the morning and my vet doesn’t open until 9:00. Plus he’s not an emergency vet. His staff might very well re-direct me elsewhere. Tamping down the panic, I called the nearest 24-hour emergency vet, which was still 45 minutes away. They did little to comfort me. Oh, they were calm about it, but the bottom line was “get her in here as soon as you can.” Do not pass go. Do not collect two-hundred dollars.
By the time I got her to the vet, she was definitely not herself. However, had I not witnessed her throwing up and not seen the petals on the floor, I wouldn’t have noticed anything wrong. She wasn’t glaringly ill. Just not quite right.
The vet assured me her prognosis was good. I’d gotten her there quickly. They would keep her for two to three days, keep her on IVs to flush her kidneys, give her meds to sooth her stomach, and otherwise support her while she fought the toxins. They would do bloodwork and monitor her vitals.
I’m not sure who was more upset about having to leave her there—Kensi or me. The best news that morning was that her baseline kidney numbers were good.
The information they gave me about cats and lilies (and a number of other plants and flowers) was sobering. Had I waited until she started showing obvious symptoms of being ill, the kidney damage would have been done. Her prognosis would have been bleak. It didn’t matter that she’d thrown up the pedals she’d eaten. If a bit of pollen falls into water and the cat drinks the water, the cat will likely die. They are that deadly.
Our story has a happy ending. Kensi came home after 48 hours. She was still a little off for another two days or so, but is now back to her normal, funny, cuddly self. Any future bouquets of flowers will be adored, photographed, and immediately donated to someone without pets.
To all of you slaves to fur babies out there, educate yourself. Not all plants are toxic, but avoid bringing those that are into your pet’s territory. [http://www.petmd.com/cat/emergency/poisoning-toxicity/e_ct_poisonous_plants]
By the way, I can continue to love my roses. They are not toxic to cats!
HANK: Oh, what a saga! And we are so pleased that Kensi is okay. I know you were so worried! Reds and readers, pet stories? Or—what things did you find out the hard way?
USA Today bestselling author Annette Dashofy has spent her entire life in rural Pennsylvania surrounded by cattle and horses. When she wasn’t roaming the family’s farm or playing in the barn, she could be found reading or writing. After high school, she spent five years as an EMT on the local ambulance service, dealing with everything from drunks passing out on the sidewalk to mangled bodies in car accidents. These days, she, her husband, and their spoiled cat, Kensi, live on property that was once part of her grandfather’s dairy.
Her Agatha-nominated Zoe Chambers mystery series includes (also nominated for the David Award for Best Mystery of 2014), , , and No Way Home.
A relaxing trail ride turns tragic when Paramedic and Deputy Coroner Zoe Chambers discovers the body of a popular county commissioner in her Pennsylvania woods. Inconsistencies surround the horrible “accident,” but before she can investigate further, she’s pried away by a plea for help from her best friend whose son has been deemed a person of interest in a homicide over a thousand miles away. When he vanishes without a trace, his mother begs Zoe to help clear him and bring him safely home. The task takes Zoe out of her comfort zone in a frantic trip to the desolate canyons and bluffs of New Mexico where she joins forces with the missing boy’s sister and a mysterious young Navajo.
Back at home, Vance Township’s Chief of Police Pete Adams must deal not only with the commissioner’s homicide, but with an influx of meth and a subsequent rash of drug overdoses in his rural community. Bodies keep turning up while suspects keep disappearing. However little else matters when he learns that half a continent away, a brutal killer has Zoe in his sights.
Website and Social Media: