Potpourri

by Leslie Cooper
Coopers Cattery Sphynx


Published July 2007

Leslie Cooper is a Sphynx breeder in Odessa, Texas.
She shares her traumatic experience her cat had with a basket of potpourri

I want to share with you the story about my recent emergency visit to the vet.

I'm sure some of you are already aware of this but for those of you who don't - potpourri is dangerous to your cats!

Here's the scoop:

While I was aware that eating potpourri could be bad for your cat, I recently learned that even just touching it could also be DEADLY.

The Ball Player

One of my 8 months old kitties has a real throwing talent - she could pitch for the New York Yankees.

Zoe can toss a ball or mouse about five feet across a room.

She was "warming up in the bullpen" recently and she accidentally threw one of her mice into a basket that had some potpourri still in the bags.

She jumped into the basket to retrieve her ball. She did not play in the basket but she touched the bags.

Something's Wrong

About five minutes later, she jumped up onto my lap.

She was right in my face - blinking her eyes at me. It was odd. She just kept acting like her eyes were burning.

Right after that, she developed welts all over her body!

I could smell the potpourri on her and immediately surmised the problem.

Immediate Action!

I ran to the tub and scrubbed her down, jumped in the car (in my husband's boxers with a ponytail on my head, no shoes - the psycho cat lady) and rushed to the vet.

I told them she was having an allergic reaction to potpourri. The look on the vet's face scared me to death.

I accompanied Zoe into the examination room and her welts had already gone WAY down form the scrub down in the tub but they gave her an anti-inflammatory and another allergy shot and she responded very quickly. By the time we got home she looked great.

Another Case

The reason that the vet was so concerned when I told them that it was potpourri is because they had just had a cat in there that belonged to an elderly couple that got into a very small amount of the liquid form (in some air freshener). The cat was furry so they did not catch the allergic skin reaction quite as quickly but it started bleeding from the mouth.

The cat developed bleeding blisters in the mouth and throat, the airway closed. It unfortunately died a terrible and painful death after two days despite constant veterinary care.

Good Advice

My vet told me that Zoe would have been much worse off if I had not immediately bathed her. And his advice for future reference if they get into something ON THE SKIN is to first give them a teaspoon of liquid Benadryl, wash them down and get them to the vet.

The vet called poison control and they contacted the company that produces the product, they admitted that they knew it was deadly but had no warning on the label.

Poison control told my vet that they have cases like that all of the time.

So… Let's all post a warning about potpourri on our websites and be sure to warn your new kitten owners about it. Don't let anyone else learn the hard way that the desire for a pleasant scent in the air can kill their cat.

Photo credit: Paw Prints Portraits


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