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Hoping for 9 lives

My friends Nicole and Brian sent me a gorgeous flower arrangement for my birthday. It came with a fun balloon. Here you can see my assistant bringing in the delivery.

I placed them on my counter where I could admire their awesomeness. I love love love fresh flowers. Last night I notice one of the lilies was torn up. Bad kitties! I chase them off the counter and go to bed. This morning I woke up and more of the same lily is missing. I see Daphne’s face in the flowers.


I think to myself “Hmm, just to be safe I should check ASPCA and make sure lilies are ok.” In hindsight I feel like an ass and a terrible mom for not doing that first. Turns out lilies are very toxic to cats. Thankfully Leia had just fallen asleep for her morning nap and I was able to panic privately.

I Google “can a cat die from eating lilies” and read a few horror stories. Even ingesting a small amount can cause kidney failure in 48 hours. I think “maybe she’s fine, she seems fine.” I had plans to go to the Festival of Sail at the Embarcadero with friends. Sick cat = canceled plans. One minute later I hear her cry and vomit up tuna and flower petals. Then she vomits again. Fuck.

I call our veterinary office. They were fully booked so the receptionist offers to refer me to another practice. I explain that I’m poor and I can’t afford to spend hundreds on a cat if she just needs some water and a nap. She puts me on hold to ask the vet. A few minutes later she confirms my Google induced paranoia – lily ingestion is bad news and I need to go to the ER, now.

At the ER the vet explains that they want to keep her for at least 3 days to pump her full of fluids to try to flush her kidneys. There were two possibilities – dialysis or kidney failure. On a holiday weekend I was looking at nearly $3,000 just for boarding. So I give my sob story about being poor and ask if there is anything else I can do. In return I get the “your cat could die” guilt trip. I cry. The vet hands me a tissue and suggests running a blood screen first to see where her kidney and liver enzymes are and then figure out a game plan. Two hours later Daphne did not show significantly elevated levels to require dialysis. I was allowed to bring her home as long as I could administer fluids and bring her back tomorrow for more blood tests. There is still a possibility the toxins are present and haven’t attacked her system yet. I excitedly agree to give her fluids at home.

They wheeled out a full hospital sized bag of fluid on that big metal pole with a long tube and needle. The tech gave me a bag of extra needles – “use a clean one each time you administer the fluids” she explained. Wait, what? I’m supposed to hook my cat up to an IV everyday and make her sit still? I had imagined a big syringe, quick and easy. I hesitated for a second, then rallied enough confidence to convince myself my first time injecting a living creature wasn’t a big deal. Daphne was a champ. She let me pull up the scruff of her neck, slide the 18 gauge needle in where the tech pointed, and then sat still with me holding her for the 10 minutes it took to get 300ml in.

$280 later we get to come home (tomorrow should only be another $170 if it’s just the exam and blood work). Daphne immediately wants to eat. I take that as a good sign. She’s acting like her normal self – scratching the bed, trying to get through the screen to the birds, letting Leia chase her around. I’m supposed to monitor how often she’s peeing. I’m not sure how to do that with another cat using the same box. Oh, and needing to watch my 13 month old. I guess I’ll just cross my fingers that I see her go in or out of their bathroom (yes, the cats have their own bathroom). Right now she is sleeping on our bed, waiting for me to get in so she can crawl on my hip and dig her claws into my leg. Things seem normal. I’m hopeful Daphne still has a few of her nine lives.


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