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Sussex cat lover warns over killer lilies
An animal lover given a romantic bunch of flowers on Valentine’s Day watched in horror as they poisoned and killed her three pet cats.
Sonia Barnett, 40, put the bouquet of lilies, roses and carnations on her window sill – unaware that pollen from lillies can blind, paralyse or kill cats. Her prized pets brushed against the plants and inhaled the toxic dust and began trembling and meowing in pain before keeling over. Sonia rushed the stricken cats to the vets but within days lost Tinker, one, Charlie, five, and her beloved companion of 17 years, Garfy. A fourth cat Sparky, three, survived but could have suffered permanent renal failure.
Sonia, a gardener from Hailsham, East Sussex, said: “The flowers were a lovely Valentine’s surprise from an ex-partner.
I put them in a vase on the windowsill and thought nothing more of it.
“I had absolutely no idea they could harm my babies.
“The next morning I found Tinker collapsed behind the sofa. I took him to the vet but ten minutes later my friend came rushing in carrying Garfy.
“They looked terrible, they were trembling and crying out. It broke my heart to see them in pain like that. I had no idea what was happening.” Experts warn that many common lilies sold in Britain, including the Easter lily, tiger lily, rubrum lily and Japanese lily, can cause kidney failure and sudden death if a cat ingests any part of the plant or its pollen. Animals taken to the vets within six hours can recover but their chances of survival diminish rapidly after that. Sonia’s four other kittens mercifully avoided contact with the flowers which were bought from a local florist.
Sonia and her daughter Lauren, 14, are visiting local florists, shops and super- markets and asking staff to put up warning signs in time for Mother’s Day. The RSPCA urged all animal lovers to consult its website for a full list of everyday house- hold items that can cause harm to pets.