Dangers of Snowglobes and Cats: Snow Globes Contain Anti-Freeze
Written by Donna (Originally published on June 15, 2012. Donna writes me EVERY year reminding me to repost this in Charlie’s honor.)
This is a difficult story to write but every year before the holidays I send out a warning about the unknown dangers of snow globes. You know the beautiful holiday decoration that many of us collect and display. I’m sharing it with you with hopes you will publish on Floppycats.
This is a story of Charlie. We adopted him in May of 2006 during an All Pet Adopt-A-Thon I founded and organized in Jacksonville Florida. He was about 4 months old and had a beautiful coat, fabulous eyes and a face you couldn’t resist! I knew he had to be mine.
As Charlie adjusted into his new forever home it became apparent he was a very smart kitty, always ready to play but also always ready to love and be loved. He shared his home with his brothers and sisters and had great time. He was growing and developing into a magnificent animal. His fur grew longer, eyes turned a beautiful blue gray and his tail was the envy of all the kitties. Thick, bushy and amazing! Charlie had the personality and looks you can only imagine. He was my boy.
On Christmas Eve day 2006 my beautiful Ragdoll wannabe Charlie was being himself, into everything. The door to the guest bedroom was open because one of my other kitties was sleeping on the bed. Usually the door is kept locked. We have a couple of kitties that have acquired door opening skills. I didn’t want to disturb him so I just walked by and headed for work. Later in the day I received a call from my husband saying I was not going to be to happy because Charlie had jump on the chest of drawers, knocked over a snow globe and it had broken. Although I was upset (it had been my mom’s before she passed away in 2004) you have to expect things happening when you have cats.
Jim, my husband, had cleaned up the mess and dried Charlie off. I work retail so I didn’t get home until after 6:00 p.m. that evening and noticed Charlie behaving a little strange. His big fluffy tail was down and he seemed to be not feeling well. I asked Jim how he had been through out the day. Jim said Charlie had joined him for a nap earlier and was very affectionate rubbing all over him and wouldn’t leave him alone.
I decided to do some research into what could be in the liquid contents of the snow globe. I called poison control and was told most likely it could have salmonella and Charlie had just a little upset stomach. I am never satisfied with an assumption and hit the computer to further my research. To my horror, I discovered snow globes contain ethylene glycol (anti-freeze) to prevent freezing during shipping. Most are imported from China.
Charlie had anti-freeze positioning! Just a small amount left on his fur was enough to do the damage even after my husband had dried him off. The poison was destroying his kidneys.
Panic stricken I called a friend from a rescue group to see if she had any info in how to treat Charlie. With no experience in treating anti-freeze poisoning I rushed Charlie to our local emergency vet hospital. By this time 7 hours had passed since the accident and Charlie’s time was running out.
After what seemed to an eternity, Charlie was tested for anti-freeze poison. The results were positive and unfortunately too much time had passed and his kidneys had started to crystallize. I was devastated and asked they treat him with the slightest possibility he could be saved. In nine hours the damage is irreversible.
I left Charlie for treatment overnight and picked him up on Christmas day. He was still hanging on but was getting worse by the hour. The next day I took Charlie to another emergency vet hospital. He was treated and but his chances for survival were becoming slim. The following day my regular vet was open and I brought Charlie in. Dr. Sleeper made arrangements for Charlie to be seen at the teaching hospital in Gainesville, Florida. They confirmed our worse fears. There was no hope of saving Charlie.
My husband looked into a transplant but it was too late. Charlie was to weak and too far gone for the operation. On December 27, 2006 at 3:20 p.m. just three days after the accident, our precious baby passed away….He was only 10 months old.
We later learned the overly affectionate behavior was all part of the anti-freeze poisoning. It gives the pet a feeling like being drunk and the small amount of anti-freeze left on Charlie coat even after being dried off was enough to poison him.
I can’t begin to describe the feelings of helplessness and guilt my husband and I felt. Me for leaving the door open and Jim for not washing him off. I made a promise on that day his death it would not be in vain. I started calling and emailing every news media in my area. Some one had to listen. I finally got a call from Allie Gorman, health reported. She agreed to hear my story.
I told her of the events leading up to Charlie’s passing and the lack of knowledge and dangers of snow globes. She agreed to air Charlie’s story. It was heart breaking to relive the events leading up to his death but I knew if even one pet could be saved from Charlie’s story it would be worth it.
I had contacted poison control, Humane Society of United States, ASPCA and anyone else I could thing of to inform them of anti-freeze used in snow globes. It was very surprising to discover how many people (vets and other humane societies) had no idea about the anti-freeze added to the contents of snow globes. Our local newspaper also ran a full page on snow globes.
Each year I relive the nightmare, Christmas has never been the same but I make sure Charlie’s story is shared with hopes it can prevent another tragedy from happening.
That is how I started with my love for Ragdolls. Still devastated from our loss I started looking for another long haired kitty when I discovered Charlie looked so much like a Ragdoll. Of course in my search I found Sammie at a local shelter. Sammie is a Maine Coon I just couldn’t resist! Then one day a week before my husband’s birthday an ad for Ragdoll kitten was run in the newspaper classified. I called Jim and asked if he want to “just look” at the kittens. He agreed. The rest is history. I selected a little boy, Georgie and Jim picked out Gracie. to join our family with Sammie, Stella, Tux, Frankie and Scoots. These little fur balls do not replace Charlie but the joy they have brought us is priceless!’
It’s hard to put into detail, I’m crying as I type. Please print what you can. I hope Charlie’s story will make a difference in someone life.
Read more about things that poison cats:
- Ragdoll Cat Poisoning from a snow globe
- Holiday Alert: Watch Out For Plants Poisonous to Your Cat
- Poisonous Holiday Plants and More for Cats by Boris’ Mom
- Ragdoll Cat Poisoning from Bath and Body Works Plug in Air Freshener
- Read more about preventing pet poisoning