“Love was in the Air” by Lindsay Gilmore

toby1It all began Valentine’s Day 2012; a day of romance, happiness, wine, chocolate, and flowers. Adam Gilmore had all the bases covered, especially the large bouquet of beautiful flowers that he brought home to his sweetheart, Lindsay. Going against the trend of a dozen red roses, Adam chose a variety of fresh flowers containing one lovely Lily. The scent from it was intoxicating and the pollen-rich stamens hung heavily outwards, luring any passing pollinator – or, in absence of a bee, Toby the 2-yr.-old cat.

Toby was Lindsay’s rescue kitty. He was a big, fluffy, longhaired beauty. Orange and cuddly and friendly. And very attracted to the beautiful lily.

It took about a week for the symptoms to begin. A decline in appetite was first, followed by lethargy and weight loss; Toby was so tired. Lindsay couldn’t understand what was going on. A visit to the vet diagnosed the problem – acute renal failure i.e. kidney failure – but the prognosis wasn’t good. Such conditions are generally fatal, or leave the patient with lasting issues. And then the vet told her why…the Lily. The entire lily plant — leaf, pollen and flower — is poisonous for cats. Eating just a couple of leaves or licking a few pollen grains off their fur can quickly cause kidney failure. Little did Lindsay know that her Valentine’s bouquet was deadly. She was heartbroken.

And so began the long road of treatment for Toby. He was immediately hooked up to IV and kept in the clinic. Every morning and night Lindsay would bring him yogurt, and as his condition improved she mixed ground-up cat food to get his taste back. Eventually, Toby made the journey home although his prognosis was still not determined; he had to learn to eat on his own again and heal on his own time.

To monitor him, Lindsay slept with him in a separate room from her other cat – and Adam.  The first time she heard Toby eat on his own is etched in her memory; such a simple task that she took for granted a few months before was now a precious gift. But the moment of truth came when he looked up at her, held her gaze, and then reached his paw up and started playing with the zipper on her sweatshirt -time stood still – and it was then that she knew he wouldtoby be OK.  After a final visit to the vet to determine if his kidneys were fully working, Toby was given the thumbs up. Luckily, he was one of the survivors who had made a full recovery!

Flash forward, Valentine’s Day 2013: Adam Gilmore is now completely off the hook for flowers at Valentines in perpetuity! Kitties and Lilies don’t mix.