BY: Kathleen Rodgers

Valentine’s Day is a time to shower those you love with roses, chocolates and sparkly gifts. Whether you are the giver or the receiver, be careful about what you bring home if you’re a cat parent. Here’s how to keep your pet safe on Valentine’s Day.


Roses and other flowers are a very popular Valentine gift. Many bouquets contain some variety of lily. All lilies are extremely toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure. If you receive a bouquet that includes lilies, remove those flowers from the arrangement and dispose of them where your cat can’t access them. Flowers in general are irresistible to cats and might be best kept in a room where the cat isn’t allowed.


Candy is the second most-popular Valentine gift, closely following flowers. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are dangerous to cats. Theobromine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous and cardiac systems. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.


Sugar-free candies, including gum and mints, contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to cats and dogs and can cause liver failure. Read the ingredients list and if the candy contains Xylitol, keep it away from your cat.


Don’t leave half-full glasses of wine or other alcohol unattended. Many cats are fascinated with glasses containing liquid, and even a small amount of booze can be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. The dangers of alcohol to cats include lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, vomiting, coma and even respiratory failure.


Ribbon, string, tape and cellophane all attract cats. Ribbon and string that are ingested can get caught in the cat’s intestines and cause a life-threatening situation. Some cats enjoy chewing on tape and cellophane and can swallow pieces that might cause choking.


Flickering candlelight is extremely enticing to a cat’s sense of curiosity. Never leave your pet unattended when a candle or your fireplace is lit. A cat can easily knock over a burning candle and set your home ablaze.

All your cat needs on Valentine’s Day is your love… and maybe a cat treat or two.

Kathleen Rodgers has been a writer and a cat lover for most of her life. She has been published in cat and non-cat publications such as Iams’ Your Cat, Cat Country, Country Almanac and others. A former Maine Coon cat breeder, she now lives in rural Oklahoma with her husband where she scoops litter for two pampered feline siblings.