From commentor Manyakitty, a link to her friend’s GiveForward page:
On Friday, April 29th, my friend bought a hydrangea from Trader Joe. There was no warning about potential toxicity to children or pets. Her 2.5 year old cat, Loki, nibbled the edge of a leaf that night. Loki is now struggling to survive. He is suffering from suspected cyanide family poisoning (as Cyanogenic glycoside is found in hydrangeas), and grayanotoxin poisoning (a neurotoxin usually found in rhododendrons)…
“The doctors believe the hydrangea was either cross-bred or cross-pollinated with a plant in the rhododendron family, and that is why Loki is struggling to survive. They did not expect him to survive beyond 24 hours. It has been almost 5 days now, and Loki is still fighting hard for his life. We are doing everything we can to support him. He is 100% blind and deaf from the poisons. He has a significantly diminished sense of smell. His balance is compromised, and he has a drop paw and a limp leg. His heart rate shot up to 220bpm, but it’s back down to a normal 160 now.
We have taken Loki to the doctor three times already for blood work, testing, subcutaneous fluids, and activated charcoal treatments. We are taking him back to the vet tomorrow, and several more times to check his kidney function and hopefully keep him out of renal failure.
Initially, Loki could not eat or drink on his own. Now he can! Initially, Loki was dying. He is now stable! We have a lot of treatments ahead of us to monitor his condition. Also, our local vets are unsure if his neurological deficits are permanent, so we are taking Loki to see a feline neurologist in Fort Pierce. Her examination will determine our next steps, but we hope she can suggest therapies to accelerate his recovery.
Our hearts are breaking for Loki. It is so hard to see him like this, yet his spirit continues to impress us. We are hopeful that with the best care possible, and time, our little kitty will rebound. He has an indomitable spirit. He is fighting. And we are all rallying around our baby. Go, Loki, Go!! We love you so much!”
Again, the link is here if you need more information.
Never buy any plant for your home with out checking to see if it is poisonous to pets, outside or inside.
Several years ago, one of our kitties, Princess Yukihime, unbeknownst to us, had nibbled a bit of curl ribbon off a Christmas package, and although she was fine when we left to spend a couple of days at my brother’s house, when we came back, she was deathly ill with an intestinal blockage and was so weak there was nothing that could be done for her. So we learned the hard way that seemingly harmless household items can kill your pets. Luckily, we don’t have houseplants, because the other cats have destroyed all of them.
That’s a gut-punch. My little Mandalay is a black kitty and loves her chairs. While her older sibling probably only has 1-2 more years left, and I’ve gone through two FLV deaths (the worst), I can’t bear to think about her (or anyone like her) suffering. Brings back memories of my mother’s favorite cat (a tiny black kitty named Chocolate), who I inherited after Mom died. Chocolate always hated me until I inherited her and gained her trust. Then she was the sweetest thing in the world. She had what seemed like a stroke, and she died while I was in traffic taking her to the cat vet (he said there probably wasn’t any hope to save her anyway).
On that donation page, I only see CC’s. My only CC is a debit card, so I don’t use it for internet commerce. There isn’t some hidden PayPal option on there that I’m missing, is there?
@gindy51: Particularly with cats. The toxic list for them is HUGE. When I first tried to populate my atrium years ago, I had to print out the list, and I must have passed over half the plants at Lowe’s.
Agreed; so many plants people buy are toxic – to either people and/or pets. The old saw of chocolate is also too true (and garlic, and even onions.) But on a level of risk, it is fairly small compared to guns, cars and the biggest killer of all – tobacco.
I don’t want to be that guy, but someone’s got to say it: the only humane thing at this point is to put the poor little guy down. Fucking awful. Had no idea about the hydrangeas.
@Keith P.: I’ll see if I can add a PayPal option and let you know. Thanks!
Then don’t be that guy. There is still hope.
@CONGRATULATIONS!: He’s at the vet right now. They’re evaluating his condition and prognosis, and will proceed from there. He’s young, and was healthy, so there’s some legitimate hope. He’s also regained a bit of his hearing and is walking better today.
@CONGRATULATIONS!: I never give up until they stop eating and drinking. I’ve had two sick ones stop, and it’s heartbreaking. They’re thirsty, but as soon as they start to drink, they dry heave. Weight loss is fast (this is end-stage feline leukemia), and they both would find cabinets to just sit in.
I’ve got one now with FIV (picked a fight with a feral), and he’s lost some weight and throws up periodically (particularly on my damn bed), but he enthusiastically demands food/water and loves getting his spine scratched and sitting in the sun, so I know he’s still going to be around a bit more.
Poor kitty. Had to give our kitty hugs.
@CONGRATULATIONS!: I’m that guy too. If you have a pet, it is your responsibility to keep your home safe, not the grocery store’s.
@Keith P.: For Jessie’s personal PayPal account, use [email protected]
@BR: I keep hugging mine every time I think about this.
@Keith P.: I’m on my first cats right now. All three are right around 8, and I’ve had them for most of their lives. Their inevitable ends will probably be harder on me than on them (if I do it right).
@manyakitty: Thank you! Sending some $$ now
Loki reminds me of my much beloved late Jazz. My heart is breaking. Will send some $$ your way.
@manyakitty: I’ve raised a cat from a week old when I was a teenager (best cat EVER…I’d wear him around like a scarf, and he loved it). 14 years ago, I got a couple of kittens from a co-worker, my mom died so I got her 3 cats plus I had a pit bull by then. Then my mom’s oldest died, one of mine and one of hers vanished within 3 months of each other, then I got 2 more cats from Pet Rescue here, then I lost my other original plus my mom’s last to FLV, and so now I’ve got 2 left. All the cats have been great, but I’ve had so many I like to think I understand them pretty well. I like dogs (and vice versa), but I have a special affection for cats, as does my brother and father.
@Keith P.: About FIV, had an interesting experience. My cousin’s cat got FIV, and by the time he took him to a vet he was very far gone. (It was not the initial infection stage when they get sick and recover for a few years, but the later stage, when the viral load gets very high.) The vet said he didn’t have long to live. He was throwing up a lot, very weak. We bought him high quality “limited ingredient” canned food when we could, with the idea that it might be easier for him to digest, so he would get better nutrition. (It had probiotics in it and other supplements, maybe digestive enzymes for cats too.) Those limited ingredient diets are suggested for animals with food allergies whose stomachs react to foods by getting inflammation, which causes vomiting and diarrhea. So the ingredients were just meat and one or two other things, no wheat (which is inflammatory) or byproducts (which can have unregulated weird stuff in them). A lot of extra attention and brushing also helped his immune system bounce back, I think. Appetite pills from the vet were important, but initially not enough–he kept throwing them up until we switched to an easier diet. His vomiting became very rare, and he gained his weight back and recovered most of his energy and drive for another 2 years. The vet was shocked. I think the diet being easier to digest reduced the stress load on his system, and he could absorb the nutrition better. When he did die it was very fast, fine one day and gone in his sleep two days later. My cousin being the way he is, he did not even take him to the vet more than 3 times total in the 2 years. (I’m sure there were other variables too.)
I can’t imagine why you said this. Did you really think it needed to be said at this point? CONGRATULATIONS’ “that guy” message was a little different.
@Princess: There’s an appropriate time for that kind of comment, when it can actually be helpful, but this is not it.
we had a dog that ate some castor beans that had been turned into costume jewelry. He was only saved by having activated charcoal forced through him from both ends. Now I learn that rhododendron is toxic to dogs. Huh. I’m trying to decide if I should cut the plants down, our crazy dogs seem to eat everything. Central PA is absolutely covered with rhododendron
@Eric U.: I am using vole repellent made from castor oil, and they swear it’s safe for kids and pets. ???
edit: I accidentally broke off some jasmine branches while repotting on tuesday. I brought them in and put them in a vase. I just read that some jasmine is okay for pets but other things that can be called jasmine, also, are not. I just moved my vase outside.
@WaterGirl: ricin is made from castor beans. Yes, the well known neurotoxin. I assume that castor oil is non-toxic, since people have been taking it for a long time. I’m really impressed that someone decided to use castor oil after all of his compatriots died a horrible death after eating the seeds. Maybe they tried to poison someone and it just worked as a laxative.
I have to wonder about the vet. Speculating about a hydrangea-rhododendron cross. That is about as likely as a lion-elephant cross.
If there were two chemicals found that would have had to come from such a hybrid, it didn’t happen. It reminds me of the Poinsettia is poisonous fable.
Someone should be looking for what really happened. By thinking it was caused by a hybrid the real poisoning agent is still there.
Yes, hydrangea x rhododendron is not likely. Also pollinating wouldn’t change the hydrangeas chemistry. He may be a competent vet but that speculation is just foolish.
Years ago my cat ate a skink as we deduced afterwards. She was nearly parallized for a while and dad thought she had broken her back. He had his gun out but I was crying so hard she managed to get up to come to me walking like a really drunken sailor with front legs falling one way and back legs the other clearly not a broken back. Vet said it would wear off and it did. Lots of amphibians have some toxins in them to discourage being eaten.
Funny how we never ever see Trumps trophy wife. Wonder if they can avoid trotting her out for the whole campaign. She would be the most embarassing first lady the US has ever had without a doubt…lol.
@Keith P.: You’re awesome! Thanks!
@CaseyL: Thanks so much!
Wow, this community is the best! Thank you all so much!
Best to assume all house plants will poison your cats, just to be on the safe side. I hope poor little Loki comes home.
Crap. I just bought my mom a hydrangea for Mother’s Day. I texted my brother to tell her to keep it out of their reach until she has a chance to plant it outside (indoor cats).
If someone is allergic to peanuts, shouldn’t it be their responsibility to read the ingredients list to look for allergens rather than making the manufacturer put a special warning on it?
@manyakitty: No problem. When I got Mandalay and Flash from here I guess 3 years ago, I wanted the black cat but was willing to take both (the last of the owner’s cats after he could no longer care for them). IIRC it was $400to ship them to me, but I was pretty broke at the time, able to maybe put together half that. But the daughter(?) of the owner paid the full shipping to send them to me. I feel it’s my duty to keep trying to repay that gesture a little bit at a time and by paying it forward.
A daylily may cause sever kidney damage when eaten by a cat. Not all species of the plant, but best not to have any around.
@Tokyokie: This is one of my great fears. So sorry.
@Keith P.: Beautiful sentiment. Karma is a thing.
@Pogonip: Jessie has been posting updates on the donation page. As of last night, the doctors confirmed that Loki is not completely deaf any more, and that his pupils are now reacting to light, but he’s still blind. His walking and balance are also improving. The doctors are surprised because they’ve never seen a cat in his shape survive, let alone start to recover.
@Mnemosyne: Yes, actually. Particularly, if they’re buying a fucking Payday. It’s actually fairly common knowledge that many decorative plants are toxic to kids and animals, but since you seem to be of the “How dare they not put a nut warning label on the peanut butter!” school of personal irresponsibility, don’t eat the oleander or the foxgloves either.
@gindy51: You are absolutely correct, and I was not aware of the danger. It should be noted,however, that even the link you posted only suggests gastro-intestinal distress from hydrangea. In this case, something else was mixed in. I am making it my life’s mission to spread awareness about the dangers of bringing certain plants into a home with children and animals. Thank you for the support!
@Tokyokie: I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story so that hopefully, it can help prevent some other people from the same tragic experience.
@Keith P.: Thank you so very much, Keith. We are just waiting on Loki’s most recent blood test results, and then plan on making an appointment to take him to see the feline neurologist.
@James Rogers: You are correct,James, and I apologize for the misinformation. It was entirely my fault as I did not fully understand what the vet was saying at the time, as my kitty was knocking at death’s door in my arms. I have since had a conversation of clarification and am taking the appropriate steps to get the correct information out there. Loki is suffering from suspected cyanide family poisoning (as Cyanogenic glycoside is found in hydrangeas). However, the doctors believe that Loki has been exposed to more than just Cyanogenic glycoside, as he is greatly afflicted, and in ways that are atypical for this kind of poisoning alone. As rhododendrons and hydrangeas are frequently grown together in hot houses, and Loki is exhibiting signs of grayanotoxin poisoning (a neurotoxin usually found in rhododendrons) it is a possibility that the plant that we purchased had a small shoot from a rhododendron in the pot. Additionally, we cannot rule out that some kind of unknown spray was on the leaves, and that this poison is also contributing to Loki’s severe condition. These are the reasons why Loki is struggling to survive. Diagnostic testing to determine the kind(s) of poison is very expensive, and we were advised against it, as the results would not impact Loki’s treatment.
@Mnemosyne: I did read the label, and it did not mention anything about the plant being a danger, just suggestions for proper temperature, water, and sun.
@CONGRATULATIONS!: I am so happy to say that Loki is proving you and all the statistics wrong. The vet advised us to put Loki down on Sunday, and although I have had to put down several kitties in my life when it was time, this did NOT feel like it was the time. When we refused, the doctor then smiled with great deal of compassion and told us not to give up hope – that sometimes the thing that turns around a bad situation, better than any medication or treatment a doctor can offer – is good nursing care, hope, and love. Never give up.
@Princess: I agree that it is my responsibility, and I never would intentionally bring anything into my home that would hurt my children or my kitties. That being said, I did the responsible thing. I checked the label, and that provided me with instructions about water, sun, and temperature for this plant. I did make the assumption that the label would have a caution on it, if there was a need to be careful, and I don’t believe I was wrong in thinking this. We live in world where everything IS labeled so that consumers can make smart choices. Coffee is hot. Cigarettes and alcohol cause birth defects. Small items are choking hazard. Cleaning products are toxic. I have since found out, that in many countries around the world, plants are indeed labeled.
I’m not a botanist,and although I have had kitties my entire life, I’ve never had one that snacked on plants. For the most part, we don’t even have plants in our home, as I don’t have much of a green thumb. I have yet to find a single animal lover, or doctor who could have anticipated or expected this kind of a reaction from a hydrangea. One simply needs to google the number of children and pets that are harmed annually from plant poisonings to see that this is a serious problem, and that many, many people are not aware of the dangers. I am going to work on changing that.
For anyone who’s curious, Jessie has been posting updates at the link. Loki is making amazing strides and is adapting to his current disabilities like a champ. Thanks again for the kindness and generosity!