Beatrice couple spreads awareness after Valentine’s bouquet poisons and kills their cat

A Beatrice couple’s cat was poisoned and killed by Valentine’s bouquet that contained a flower toxic to cats.
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 5:01 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2023 at 12:30 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A Beatrice couple’s cat was poisoned and killed by Valentine’s bouquet that contained a flower toxic to cats.

Tommy and Lisa Denton are hoping to spread awareness about cat toxins after Valentine’s bouquet of roses and lilies killed their cat, Mia, within days.

On Monday, Feb. 13, Tommy Denton brought a bought a bouquet of roses and lilies home.

“I had just roses. And I thought, let’s get some lilies in there to add some color to it. So that’s what I did. And I brought them home, she put them in the vase. Everything was fine,” Tommy Denton said.

By Friday, Feb. 17, Mia the half-Bobtail, half-Maine Coon cat was acting strange.

“Then by Monday night, she had a seizure,” Tommy Denton said.

Lisa Denton rushed Mia to the vet in Lincoln. Her x-rays and blood work showed a shrunken kidney and the vets could not see the other one.

“At first she said ‘Well, it could be a birth defect.’ And then she says, ‘but this is the time of year for flowers. Do you happen have any lilies in the house?’ And at first my mind went to a plant? And I’m like, ‘No, I don’t have any lilies and the house.’ And then my son said ‘mom, weren’t those lilies and with your roses,’ and I went, ‘Oh my God,’” Lisa said. “And she said, ‘that’s what it is.’ And she said they merely have to brush by them. It gets on there for and when they clean themselves. They ingest the toxin, which in less than three days will shut their kidneys down.”

Lily plant that poisoned and killed Tommy and Lisa Denton's cat, Mia.
Lily plant that poisoned and killed Tommy and Lisa Denton's cat, Mia.(Tommy and Lisa Denton)

Mia died the next day and the Dentons were heartbroken.

“We didn’t know, I wish that would have been more publicized. You know, you hear different things that are dangerous to animals and stuff like that. But you don’t hear much about cat, right and hear about dogs all the time that you don’t really hear much about cats,” Tommy Denton said.

A veterinarian with the Capital Humane Society said if your cat ingests a lily, it’s a race against the clock.

“The true method of how it is poisonous to cats or toxic to cats is really not known,” Veterinarian Jake Bornschlegl said. “But what it does is it attacks their kidneys, and causes their kidneys to basically shut down and stop functioning. And it’s a very quick onset. So if they ingest it, it only takes probably three to four hours to start seeing symptoms.”

Mia (left) and Hooti (right)
Mia (left) and Hooti (right)(Tommy and Lisa Denton)

Now the Dentons and their dog, Hooti, are really missing Mia and working to make sure nobody else goes through what they did.

“We don’t have any kids together,” Tommy and Lisa Denton said. “You know, so all of our kids are grown. You know, they’re all grown up. So that was, those are our kids. And she was just so sweet. She didn’t deserve what happened to her. It was let’s just add and I, I just don’t want to see anybody else have to go through that. So I’ve kind of made it my mission to get the word out there. Whatever I have to do to let people know that how toxic lilies are.”

The top 10 cat toxins that cat owners should look out for are:

  • Lilies (Lilium species)
  • Chocolate
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Onions and garlic
  • Mouse and rat poisons
  • Household cleaners
  • Antidepressants
  • Vitamin D overdose
  • Essential oils
  • Stimulant medications (e.g., for ADD/ADHD)

For more information on cat toxins, contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-886-7965 or visit