My two cats broke a snowglobe and both died within days from ethylene glycol (antifreeze) poisoning

Posted December 21, 2018 by Patricia DeMaggio Siergiej

Introduction from Elisa. This is quite a long story but it’s important. Snowglobes may seem innocent. They’re deadly. I found Patricia’s story on Facebook and she gave me permission to tell it. I’m using her own words as to what happened to cause the deaths of two of her precious cats. 

The same danger holds true for dogs except they have a longer time limit before irreparable damage is caused. Dogs have 4-6 hours to receive treatment while for cats it’s only 2-3 hours.

This article requires a tissue alert and will definitely be upsetting to many readers.

December 6, 2018

This has not been a good morning for me. I found my cat Peekaboo, only three years old, having seizures and totally limp and barely responsive. It was as if she was poisoned but she never goes outside and I never have anything dangerous or poisonous around.

Peekaboo died after ingesting liquid from a broken snowglobe
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment written by visitors. It is a way visitors can contribute to animal welfare without much effort and no financial cost. Please comment. It helps this website too which at heart is about cat welfare.

She’s always been a very active healthy cat. But then it occurred to me what happened the other day. I had put out a big glass Christmas musical snow globe I received as a gift one year. I had it on a table and the cats knocked it onto the floor during the night several nights ago. I woke up to liquid and shards of glass on the floor.

Thinking later she may have ingested it I researched the pet poison control website and I came across an article that said many of these snow globes contain ethylene glycol or anti-freeze.. which is extremely toxic to cats and dogs. Sure enough, I looked at the bottom and it said the liquid in this product freezes at 23°F. It didn’t actually list the ingredients but that tells me it was not all water.

I took the cat to the emergency vet and her kidney values were off the charts and kidneys enlarged on the x-rays. They said I should just euthanize her but I took her to my regular vet who is trying to flush her with IVs although she said the prognosis is poor.

We are quite sure that it was from the liquid in the snow globe as the vet said the seizures and the high kidney values point to this. My vet said 1 teaspoon or three licks is fatal to a cat. I want to warn all my cat owning friends that this is a possibility I never would have considered before. Neither the emergency vet nor my vet had ever come across it either from the liquid in Snow Globes although the critical vets are aware.

Peekaboo didn’t make it.

My cat Guy was throwing up about the same time I found her semi-conscious. My vet thought he had gastritis but it turned out to be exposure to the same poison which has severely injured his kidneys.

Click to see search results on this site for the word ‘antifreeze’ – there are lots of pages.

December 11, 2018

It breaks my heart to inform my friends that my beloved cat Guy is no longer with us. After spending five days at OVRS critical care hospital being treated for exposure to the antifreeze poisoning from the holiday snow globe that broke he was transferred up to MSU veterinary school in Lansing for further assessment.

Guy his first night at the vet. He looked healthy

The critical care specialist told me that based on his values his kidneys likely had severe permanent damage and continuous IV fluids were not bringing the toxic values down. He stayed there a couple days in the ICU on IV fluids and medications for further testing.

They said any small chance for him would have required weeks or months in the hospital on IV fluids plus dialysis. The cost for IV fluids alone for two weeks was $7000 and the cost for dialysis was $5000 to $10,000 for the first three days and $5000 for each week after that with the costs for ICU hospitalization, fluids, and medications which could easily run up to as much as $40,000 or $50,000 with no guarantees that the kidneys would recover any real function.

The specialist told me that if this was her cat and she had all the money in the world she would not proceed because there are so many risks to the cat from the dialysis such as blood clots and sepsis and it puts them through a lot. I could tell the last day I visited him that he seemed tired and I could see in his eyes that he was unwell.

She said he was very critically ill and not feeling well and so with a heavy heart it was decided to let him go. She said I did more than most people would have done having spent $8000 trying to save him and Peekaboo. If there would have been a better prognosis I would have spent any amount to get him well but I did not want him to suffer.

I want to warn others

Losing both Peekaboo and Guy in this way to this extremely poisonous substance in a holiday snow globe has been the biggest heartbreak to me.  They are still selling these toxic snow globes in every store with no warnings on them.

Guy didn’t survive either

Please, everyone, feel free to share this post to spread awareness. I want to thank all of you for your prayers, support, and kind words during this very difficult time for me. I have the most wonderful friends and I will never forget all your kindness. Rest In Peace my sweet Peekaboo and Tough Guy.


Michael (Admin) wrote this last July:

Snow globes can kill cats

6 thoughts on “My two cats broke a snowglobe and both died within days from ethylene glycol (antifreeze) poisoning”

  1. I’m very sorry for your loss. They are precious and beautiful kitties. It’s very hard to lose not only one but 2 beautiful babies in tragic way. They will always look over you and your family up there

  2. Thank you for sharing this information about snow globes and their danger if broken. I have a large collection. I was not feeling very Christmasy this year so did not put them out. It must have been an Angel watching out for my 6 cats and 2 dogs.
    I recently lost a dig and a kitten so don’t believe I could have coped with more deaths.
    Sincere condolences on the loss of your beloved family members Peekaboo and Guy. They both have a permanent place in your heart and memories so will still be with you spirit.

  3. What a horrible story! I am crushed by this and pray that Patricia finds comfort. Cats are the same as children in my book.

    On a side note: There may be a lawsuit waiting to happen because there are no warnings on the globes. If this had happened to small children they may have suffered the same way.

  4. This is so sad, what an awful way to lose such beautiful companions. Thank you to Patricia for sharing this horrific experience, that acts as a warning to us all.

    If all countries added a strong bitterant to these lethal chemicals, it might reduce the number of fatalities.

    Sending love to Patricia x


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