Miss Finley – Ragdoll of the Week

photo 1A cat lover all my life, I found myself looking for another kitty in 2011 two years after our beloved Himalayan passed at age 15. I had always heard about the Ragdoll breed, but did not know much about it. So after doing some online research about their fun and playful characteristics, sweet personalities and sheer beauty, I decided it was the breed for me!

Ragdolls come in a variety of colors and patterns which are all beautiful, but I narrowed my choices down by choosing one that did not resemble my last kitty…..I wanted this one to look different.  So I chose the blue lynx mitt and wanted a female and the hunt was on!

photo 4 (2)I found my girl Finley at Riterags in Asheville, NC and she arrived September 7, 2011.

She was three months old and the cutest and softest baby we had ever seen…..it was truly love at first sight!   Over the next two years the love and bond we have with her has grown stronger every day.  Her adorable ways, playful nature and captivating beauty make us laugh and smile every single day! She is a true member of our family. Her health was perfect….never sick one day…..never even looked like she felt unwell on any day…..until November 30,2013.

photo 3Two days after Thanksgiving Finley was showing some concerning signs. The day before she threw up a few times and we noticed a larger than usual pee pee in the litter box. By the next morning Saturday, the 30th, it was another very large pee pee and she seemed to be not very hungry, drinking a lot of water and looked like she just wasn’t feeling well. I had a busy day planned that day, but after noticing these signs decided to stop and look up these symptoms online. Everything I read pointed to Acute Renal (kidney) Failure. I thought surely that was not it, my girl was only two and never sick one day. I rationalized she likely had a little bug and was possibly a little dehydrated. We decided to take her to the vet that morning to rule out the renal failure so we wouldn’t  have that on our minds all weekend. The blood work was done and the vet returned 20 minutes later to tell us Finley was indeed in acute renal failure and needed to get to the emergency vet hospital immediately for treatment. Shock, despair, fright, consumed us.

photo 2 (2)How could this have happened to our perfect baby? The vet asked if we gave her the Chinese treats and we confirmed absolutely not. We could not understand this horrible news.

We immediately left and went straight to the vet hospital where she was evaluated and immediately hospitalized. The emergency vet came out to speak with us and after asking a few general questions asked if we had any lilies in the house. (Finley is strictly an indoor cat.)

I paused and remembered I did bring flowers ( a bouquet from the local market) in for the table on Thanksgiving. I don’t usually do that because I don’t want Fin around flowers much but made the exception due to the holiday. I kept them wrapped the night before and placed them on the table photo 2Thanksgiving morning when I set the table. I told the doctor I never saw Finley near the flowers nor evidence that she had chewed them or played with them………but obviously that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen while I was not looking.  The doctor explained it takes only one lick of the pollen or small ingestion of any part of the lily flower or plant. I was devastated. Something I did could now potentially kill my cat. I have had cats my whole life and never heard this before. We were all so heart broken.  The doctor gave a hopeful, yet cautious potential outcome but made no guarantees that she would survive. They reassured us they would do everything possible to save her. Treatment  included IV fluids to flush the kidneys along with other meds for secondary issues. She was was tested for physical reasons this event may have occurred and all were negative. Since Finley was a healthy young cat, the photo 4doctors were confident the lily was the cause since the symptoms started right after the lilies came into the house. After six long days in the hospital where we visited her twice daily, Finley’s kidney values were in a normal range and she was able to come home. The next day she developed a high fever which required another night in the hospital with IV antibiotics and fluids and four weeks of oral antibiotics. After some tests, the cause of the fever remains unknown. After this, Finley required daily subcutaneous fluids for three weeks to continue providing her body with additional fluids to aid the healing  of the kidneys. She then went to an every other day fluid regimen, then no fluids to see if she could manage on her own all the while monitoring her blood values on a weekly or bi weekly basis. This has been 10 week ordeal, but the great news is that Finley has recovered and her kidney values are within normal range! She is her normal adorable, fun, playful, beautiful, sweet lovable self and we could not be happier! We have our baby back! The team of doctors that treated her have repeatedly told me that because we noticed the early symptoms Finley showed and acted quickly to have her checked and treated is likely the reason she survived . If we had waited even a few  more hours, the damage to her kidneys may not have been repairable. We will check her blood levels again in three months and we will always have to monitor her kidney function throughout her lifetime.

Finley has always eaten a diet of premium dry food and wet food. Since this ARF event, the doctors have prescribed a renal prescription dry food ( she will not eat the renal wet food) mixed with her favorite premium grade dry food along with premium wet food twice daily. Finley has always been one to drink plenty water so that is in her favor too. Obviously, the more moisture in the diet the better for the kidneys. However, all of the doctors involved in her case agree she needs to be on the renal prescription cat food long term and if she will not eat the renal wet version then the dry is perfectly fine for her. It is a food specifically for cats with renal issues.

I write because I want everyone to know the lethal dangers of the lily flower to our precious cats.

Lilies, any type of lily and any part of the lily, can kill your cat. Please make yourself aware of all toxins that can harm your cat in any way….but particularly the deadly ones! This was a very heart wrenching and difficult experience…..as well as a very expensive one!…..but we made it through to a happy ending!  A HUGE thank you to Jenny at floppycats.com who corresponded with me daily during this time with her genuine love and support ….as well as other floppycats followers.

We are now back to normal and enjoying and loving our Finley more than ever!!

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. So glad your beautiful Finley is doing so well!
    Our oldest ragdoll nibbled on a stargazer lily leaf from a bouquet that was brought to us as a present last year. Until then, I had no idea lilies were so toxic. After a very scary weekend in the pet emergency hospital, and a thousand dollars in fees, our baby was ok, but it was an excruciatingly frightening experience. No flowers now enter the house until I check their toxicity! Just not worth it!

    1. Patricia Holland says:

      She also looks just like my Angel Dusty that I lost at 18 months of FIP.

  2. Dementia Boy says:

    I’m glad Miss Finley made it. Kudos for being an observant and diligent cat mom, for taking immediate action. I know you’ve got a tough road ahead.

    Most cats aren’t that lucky. Most cats don’t pull through, even with expensive treatment. Now that I’m down to two geriatric cats and no fosters or orphans, I’m no longer at the vet twice weekly. But based on prior vet visits (habitation? second residence?) and shelter experience, I’d say that “holiday” lilies are the deadliest plants/flowers found in the typical household. Please don’t risk it. Even if the lilies have been cut and are in water, the water is toxic.

    We didn’t have full service clinics at the shelters where I volunteered. We just did spays/neuters and took care of our own sick animals. But people would still bring in their animals, pleading for us to do something.

    Easter was the worst. I knew without asking what was wrong; questioning confirmed my suspicions. I’d take vitals, do gum/eye/scruff checks, and tell the owner to get Fluffy to a vet immediately if not sooner. In most cases, it was already too late. It’s easier to bring down a 104 temp than it is to bring up a 97 temp (normal range for an adult cat is 100-102.5). A low temp indicates systemic organ failure.

    If we had a certified euthanasia or vet tech working, we could put down the cat after calling a consulting vet and following certain protocol. But owners, obviously, didn’t want us to do that; they wanted us to save their precious animals. We couldn’t.

    Two of the best things you can do for your kitty: (1) Avoid ALL bulb plants, and (2) learn to take a temperature. Know what your cat’s normal is.

  3. What a beautiful girl! I knew lilies were toxic, but NOT to that degree! So glad Finley has recovered. Thanks for sharing your story!

  4. I just wanted to tell you that today I was at Trader Joe’s and contemplated buying some plants or flowers but then thought of you and since I didn’t know if any of their offerings were toxic or not I passed.

    Thanks again for sharing.

    Is there an app – if not, Jenny that would be a great app for you to build/market/make money off of. Is it Toxic?

  5. I am glad your beautiful Finley is fine now. Thank you for raising awareness by sharing your scary story. There is much to be learned from it – from not taking a “wait a day & see” approach, to carefully heeding all the warnings about poisonous plants and flowers. Thank you for all of it. I am glad Finley is fine and send wishes that you will continue to enjoy her for a long time to come!

  6. Nancy, H. says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am so glad you had a positive outcome. Although the circumstances were different. We too had a blue lynx mitted Ragdoll. His name was Andy. Unfortunately, we lost our beloved little boy a year ago this past January. He also had acute renal failure of unknown origin. Andy was 10 yrs old. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him. The reason I am sharing our story is to offer some reassurance that Finley will do okay on the dry low protein kidney food. It is very important to make sure she drinks plenty of water. We found that using a water fountain helped us with this. For some reason cats are attracted to this source of water. Maybe it is the flow of water they find attractive.
    You certainly heightened my awareness( and others’ too) of how much the Lilly flowers are lethal for cats.
    Thanks again,

  7. My goodness! What a horrifying ordeal to go through! I am so VERY HAPPY that Miss Finley survived and is back to her normal self now. 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing Miss Finley’s story with us. The pictures of her are simply divine! She is such a beautiful girl!

    I can definitely tell that she is your Pride & Joy! She certainly got lucky when she found her forever home with you and your family!

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Pink Sugar 🙂 <3

  8. Thank goodness your dear Finley is okay. I want to thank you for reminding all of us how deadly the lilies are. So many of us grow them in our gardens and may forget by cutting them to bring in for bouquets. Best kept outside is the message heard loud and clear after learning how sick Fin was. I’ll also remember this when we walk our Ragdoll Mulsanne outside on his leash to be careful where he explores. You really could have saved another kitties life or severe illness by bringing this out for us to hear. Best wishes.

  9. I could barely finish your heartbreaking story, because I lost my first cat, a stunning chinchilla persian to kidney failure at 13 years old. But, I couldnt be happier to hear that your beautiful raggie is now back to her normal playful healthy self. I now own a blue mitted Ragdoll also, Mittens, who was also ROTW last summer, and they are the most wonderful kitties. Thanks for sharing your remarkable story.

  10. Ragdoll Mommy says:

    That’s so scary!! SOOOO glad she’s back to normal!

  11. wow that is a scary story and so glad it had a happy ending for you and your beautiful cat!

  12. Thank you for sharing this harrowing story and so thankful that your baby is OK. Am so sorry you all had to go through all that but thank God you recognized the subtle signs of sickness. Hope that everyone here who reads this will also glean from your info that cats are very stoic creatures and don’t outwardly show their signs of sickness until it is serious sometimes. That goes back to their inherent behavior not to be seen by other animals as weak. You did a great job being so vigilant and noticing the signs and symptoms of acute renal failure and that you rushed her to get treatment.
    With her history of the renal trauma, hope that you can transition her as quickly as possible over to wet food as it is so beneficial to cats in general in keeping them well hydrated. You can even add water to that food and she will stay super hydrated and help her kidneys stay healthy. Am so happy for you all. She is a real beauty and looks incredibly soft and sweet. Sending you hugs and ♥♥♥

  13. OMG what a happy ending to a horrible story! I can’t have any plants or flowers either due to my two eating everything in sight! I knew lilies were deadly. Finely is gorgeous and am so happy she made a full recovery. I hope all pet parents are as observant as you!

  14. Jane Gill says:

    Thank you so much for all this information! Oh Lord I have a picture of my Callee smelling a lily and never in a million years would I want to hurt her!!! Jenny is it all Lilly’s! By the way your cat is beautiful and she and Callee are almost the same age:) 7/7/11:)

  15. I am so glad Miss Finley got the treatment she needed! We have four cats that needed to be hospitalized for 48 hours after a friend dropped off a large lily bouquet for my birthday when I was not home. It was a nightmare! I am glad your baby is doing well!

  16. Thank you for sharing beautiful Miss Finley♥ I can’t have any flowers, or plants either because my Rags will eat them, even fake ones! I hope by sharing this some other kitty doesn’t have to suffer because their parents didn’t know!!!

  17. Miss Finley is beautiful!

    Thank you for sharing your story and the medical crisis. I’m sure it could not have been easy to write but you have surely saved many from your selflessness to share.

    I can’t believe that you noticed those symptoms so quickly and decided to act so fast. So happy that Miss Finley is better and wishing you a long and happy life together.

  18. Even though my cats are not plant eaters, lilies will never even be brought into my house after reading your story! Thanks for sharing this cautionary tale. Finley is just beautiful and I’m so glad she’s recovered and feeling better.

  19. I’m very glad the hear that Finley is so much better. My own Ragdoll Ted is also a plant nibbler – I can only have edible plants around the house. His favourite to chew on at the moment is a small indoor rose, to be honest Ted is a bit dim and it’s like having a child in the house. Finley is very pretty and I can see her personality from the way she is lying on the sofa – upside down Ragdoll style! I hope she makes a full recovery and lives with you for many years. Good luck Caroline & Ted (seal colourpoint Ragdoll aged 5)

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