Cat killed by its owner’s vase of tulips
...and she ate the poison plants just moments after this picture was taken
WHEN Kiki the cat jumped up on the table next to a bunch of tulips, her owner snapped this enchanting picture.
But it would be one of the last photos she would ever take of her beloved pet.
Next morning, Juliet Cridlow found the six-year-old tortoiseshell collapsed on the floor.
She rushed Kiki straight to the vet where she was told the cat’s kidneys had been seriously damaged.
With little hope of recovery and her pet’s life ebbing away, Mrs Cridlow, 38, and her daughter Ella, 12, tearfully decided to have Kiki put down.
The vet told them it was likely that the cat had been poisoned after nibbling at the bunch of tulips. The bulbs of the flowers contain toxins called lactones, which can spread to the leaves or petals and are extremely poisonous to cats.
Mrs Cridlow, who works for a kitchen company, said she had only bought tulips twice in her life and had no idea of the danger. And after the death of her pet last Saturday she is warning other cat owners to steer clear of the flowers and believes they should be labelled as dangerous to animals.
Yesterday she told how a picture-perfect moment ended in the loss of the cat she and her daughter loved so much. ‘I was sitting on the sofa and Kiki jumped up and sat near the tulips,’ she recalled at her home in Gorleston, Norfolk. ‘It looked like a perfect photo opportunity so I quickly picked up my camera and did a series of snaps.
‘The tragic thing is that it is one of the last photos I took of her.’
The next day she found Kiki lying on the bathroom mat. ‘Being a crazy cat lady, I thought, lovely – I’ll pick her up to give her a cuddle,’ she said. ‘I sat down next to her and realised she wasn’t very responsive.
‘I picked her up and she made a very weak noise ... she was an indoor cat so I quickly racked my brain for anything in the house which could have caused this.
‘My thoughts went to lilies being so toxic to cats – then I had an instinctive feeling that the tulips must have caused this. I recalled back to the photo of her jumping up near the tulips and a sense of doom engulfed me.’
At the vet’s the extent of the damage became clear.
Tests showed that Kiki’s kidneys were failing. The level of urea nitrogen in her blood was off the charts. A healthy level for cats is fewer than ten miligrams per decilitre of blood – but Kiki’s was 25. Her temperature was also low.
Mrs Cridlow was faced with a decision to either put her down and end her suffering, or attempt a treatment that was likely to fail.
‘My daughter and I agonised over the decision for 40 minutes,’ she said. ‘We cried, discussed, cried, repeat for 40 minutes ... We decided the kindest thing would be to put her to sleep so that she was no longer suffering.’
An RSPCA spokesman said: ‘There are many different types of plants found in the home and garden which can be harmful to pets... owners should call their vet immediately if they are concerned that their pet has ingested any plant or flower.’
Common lilies are the most deadly flowers for cats, while azaleas, daffodils, holly and hyacinths are also poisonous.
Other dangers include alcohol – a tablespoon can put an adult cat in a coma – and chocolate, which can cause lethal seizures.
‘She was no longer suffering’
Last photo: Kiki had to be put down the next day. Inset, owners Juliet and Ella Cridlow