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Artificial plants can be just as dangerous as live plants

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you can’t always protect your pets. I found out the hard way that not only live houseplants can pose a danger to your pets, but artificial plants too.

It was Christmas, and for years he had removed tinsel, live poinsettia plants, live Christmas cacti, live mistletoe, and any other potentially dangerous items from that season. I had done research to keep my pets safe during the holiday seasons, but had never seen the dangers of artificial plants.

I am writing this in loving memory of my Maine Coon cat, Miranda. She was never one to nibble on artificial plants, so I never expected that to be the cause of her not feeling well. She had skipped meals, lost weight, had not cleaned up regularly, and had been on her own. My husband and I decided that I needed to see the vet. She was quite dehydrated, so they kept her in the clinic. They couldn’t find anything wrong with her at first, the blood tests came out fine, but she still wasn’t eating. The vet inserted an endoscope down his throat to see if something might have lodged in his esophagus, but they found nothing.

She stayed at the clinic for Christmas and we would pick her up the next day. Before going to look for her, the vet called and asked if we had any artificial plants that she could have eaten. It had an artificial arrangement on the coffee table, but it didn’t look like it had been chewed. Miranda had coughed up a small stick that had lodged sideways in her throat that morning. The doctor had not seen him during the endoscope procedure. It came from the plant on the coffee table.

He was on the road to recovery! It took him a few weeks to eat again; his throat was quite sore from the stick. It seemed to be returning to normal, but that was misleading.

Two months after bringing her home, my husband and I rushed her to the vet. I found her lying on the ground, having trouble breathing and gasping for every breath. She suffered from congestive heart failure. The fluids made it difficult for him to breathe. He was in a lot of pain and the vet thought he would not survive. We made the heartbreaking decision to ease your pain.

When talking to the vet, he felt that the previous incident with the stick lodged in his throat caused anguish in his heart. Over time, the fluid built up until he could no longer breathe freely.

It is very difficult to know what dangers are in your home. I can’t get Miranda back, but I can help others not to make the same mistake. Check all your plants, artificial or real, and make sure your cats or dogs are not harmed if they think this is something to eat or play with. It will only take a few minutes of your time, but the reward will be a happy, healthy and safe pet!

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