Lilies are highly toxic to cats. It is safest to avoid all lilies -- both as cut flowers as part of a bouquet or as a garden plant.

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Lilies are highly toxic to cats. It is safest to avoid all lilies — both as cut flowers as part of a bouquet or as a garden plant.

denise.jpgDr. Denise Petryk, an emergency medicine vet and co-owner of the Animal Emergency Clinic / Puget Sound Veterinary Referral Center in Tacoma, answers this week’s question.

Question: What spring yard plants are safe — and not safe — for our pets?

Answer: Spring in our Pacific Northwest is so beautiful. With a little careful planning, it is very easy to create a pet-safe garden. There are two main factors to consider when putting together our spring plantings:

— Which plants? Which mulch? Which fertilizers? Which bug and slug deterrents?

– What is the nature of our pet or pets? Are they chewers, eaters and sniffers?

AVOID the 10 most dangerous, most toxic plants:

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— Castor bean (Ricinus communis) — oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney failure, convulsions, death.

– Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), pictured right – vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, cardiac failure, death.

– Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata) — tremors, difficulty breathing, vomiting, seizures, death.

– Jerusalem cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum) — vomiting, seizures, depression, trouble breathing.

– Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) — vomiting, heart trouble, disorientation, coma, seizures.

– Lily (Lilium species) — kidney failure in cats — ALL parts of the plant, even in small amounts.

– Morning Glory (Ipomea sp.) – vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, tremors, disorientation, ataxia, anorexia.

– Nightshade (Atropa belladonna) — drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, slow heart, weakness.

– Oleander (Nerium oleander) – diarrhea, trouble breathing, tremors, collapse, incoordination.

– Precatory Beans (Arbus precatorius) – severe vomiting and diarrhea, tremors, fever, shock, death.