Lilies and cats

Jane McGary via pbs
Sun, 28 Jun 2020 12:47:31 PDT
I agree that the belief that garden plants are likely to kill pets is 
much overblown. Since settling in a temperate climate, I've grown 
hundreds of more or less toxic plants in situations where my dogs 
(Alaskan Malamutes) could get at them. Malamutes are notably omnivorous, 
foraging for both wild and cultivated fruits and vegetables, but mine 
never ate a toxic plant, except when a recently acquired bitch took a 
paper bag of colchicum corms and ate some. I caught her at it and got 
her to the vet for treatment immediately, with no ill effects except 
that she then threw up some activated charcoal onto an Ardebil rug. I 
suspect she had been used to observing treats in bags. It is possible, 
however, that some extremely selected dog breeds lack good instincts 
about what they eat, and as Garak wrote, unhappily confined animals can 
develop eating disorders.

On the other hand, human children are well known to ingest toxic plant 
materials. I warned a neighbor with young children about the deadly 
nightshade in her yard, and she had me come over and identify other 
toxic plants. In communities living closer to the natural world, mothers 
teach their children what not to consume.

I was amused by Mark's note mentioning the susceptibility of guinea fowl 
to cats -- presumably these are the chicks, as the adults fly well, and 
they will come over your fence and eat your vegetable garden! At least 
they don't scream like peacocks, nor can they eat a whole broccoli plant 
in one bite, as moose do. You think you have trouble with deer? Try a 
vegetable garden in Alaska.

Jane McGary, Portland, Oregon, USA

On 6/28/2020 10:39 AM, Mark Mazer via pbs wrote:
> Unfortunately, here on the farm, feral and outdoor cats prove devastating
> to ground nesting birds, mainly quail and killdeer (and our guinea fowl).
> It goes in cycles: birds, then cats, then coyotes, and finally the local
> deer hunters come and eliminate the coyotes. Rinse, repeat.
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