A veterinary nurse from Shoreham hopes to save cats’ lives by raising awareness of the potential deadliness of lilies ahead of Valentines Day.
Carla Finzel RVN, a vet of 18 years, first saw the ‘heartbreaking’ danger the flowers can cause while working in the emergency department at New Priory Vets in Brighton in Feburary 2010.
She said a man had proposed to his girlfriend on Valentines Day with a bunch of flowers before ‘whisking her away’ for the night – only to return and find her cat was seriously unwell.
Ms Finzel discovered that the cat had come into contact with lilies – from which toxins can cause severe damage to cats’ kidneys.
The cat was rushed to the vets and treated but, sadly, could not be saved.
“It was heartbreaking,” Ms Finzel said.
“While it was nobody’s fault, I don’t think it ended up a very happy engagement weekend.”
The incident spurred Ms Finzel, who now has her own business in which she works as a veterinary district nurse, to launch a petition calling on supermarkets, garden centres and florists to display warning labels on bunches of flowers that contain lilies.
The stickers would inform pet owners, or people buying gifts for pet owners, of the dangers, she said.
“In order to help animals, we need to support their owners,” said Ms Finzel, who has a pet cat called Millie.
“We don’t want animals to be sick.”
Signs that a cat may have been poisoned by lilies include drooling, vomiting, refusing food or lethargy. They can survive, but only if seen by a vet immediately.
Ms Finzel said it was ‘fantastic’ that her campaign was being supported by Andrea Mabbott, who has agreed to display a poster at Walter Smith Flowers in Buckingham Road, which she has owned for ten years.
Andrea said it was important to highlight the issue, as she said: “There are always a few customers who aren’t aware.”
(https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-cats-alive-label-lilies-safely|Sign the petition here}