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by Abigail Van Buren

Tasty Temptations Can Be Deadly to Pets and Kids

DEAR ABBY: In our family, pets are irreplaceable, full-fledged, beloved members. One of them was a beautiful, very affectionate cat we had rescued as an abandoned kitten. Tragically, he didn't make it through an operation we hoped would save his life. His death was a needless accident, and we are writing this in the hope that you will print it to warn other readers so no other animals will die in a similar fashion.

On the day before he died, he suddenly stopped eating and drinking. He became lethargic and vomited several times. Our vet diagnosed him with a bowel obstruction. Apparently, he had eaten a piece of a palm from Palm Sunday. Unable to pass through his system, it had perforated his bowel. The damage was too extensive to fix.

The vet later told us about many other items he had removed throughout his experience: Q-tips, cotton balls, coins, twist ties, string, buttons, Easter grass, Christmas tree icicles, etc. Abby, please warn your readers to pick up anything that's small enough for a pet to put in its mouth, and to keep anything a pet might be tempted to taste out of reach. If you do, perhaps our precious kitty's death will not have been in vain. -- IN MOURNING IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR IN MOURNING: I'm sorry about the untimely loss of your adored pet. I, too, hope your letter will alert pet owners -- as well as parents and caregivers of small children.