Home Depot Christmas Tree Kills Kitten – Unproven!

Home Depot Christmas Tree Kills Kitten – Unproven!

Summary of eRumor: 

A Christmas tree purchased from Home Depot was treated with a chemical that killed a family’s pet kitten.

The Truth:

It’s true that a family says its pet kitten, Luna, died a day after they brought home a Christmas tree from Home Depot, but the kitten’s cause of death isn’t yet known.

Paul Berto, a spokesperson for The Home Depot Canada, told TruthorFiction.com that the report pertains to just one of the retailer’s specialty decor trees, a Fraser fir  with artificially frosted white tips. The tree was only sold at stores in Canada’s Ontario province.

“Less than 300 units were sold,” Berto said. “From a scope standpoint, we have removed the product from the stores, and we’re working with vendors and merchants in determining where an issue may lie.”

Home Depot’s vendor had never before encountered an issue with the product, Berto said, and the retailer hasn’t encountered any issues with the other varieties of fresh-cut Christmas trees it sells.

Social media users quickly posted warnings about Home Depot Christmas trees after CBC News broke the story about Luna the kitten on December 11, 2014:

“A kitten is dead after it apparently ingested some amount of ethylene glycol, a chemical commonly found in anti-freeze, suspected to have been on a Christmas tree purchased at Home Depot.

A Stoney Creek, Ont., family adopted a black kitten named Luna from the cat rescue group called Forever Home.

Kimberley Coates brought home a Christmas tree from Home Depot after taking the kitten home. They said the feline ingested needles from the tree and later died. A veterinarian informed the family the cause of death may be poisoning from ethylene glycol, extremely toxic to cats.”

The Coates family said Luna began “acting strange, falling over, and had to be rushed to the vet” a day after she chewed needles on low-hanging branches of the frosted Fraser fir, The Hamilton Spectator reports:

“Coates called Home Depot in a panic. She says the store told her the trees are sprayed with ‘a hypoallergenic pet-friendly substance akin to house paint.’

After speaking with Home Depot, Coates says the supplier provided her veterinarian with a list of ingredients in the spray, one of which is ethylene glycol.

Coates put the tree outside and Home Depot came to pick it up.

This is the same chemical found in antifreeze and is highly toxic to animals, which are drawn by its sweet taste.

The family’s vet, Dr. Jenny Kungl, is cautious about jumping to conclusions. She says she’s awaiting post-mortem results and without that, ‘we need more significant evidence to say exactly what happened here.’”

In the wake of reports of Luna’s death, online commenters have suggested that Home Depot sprays or treats all of its live Christmas trees with chemicals to preserve them. That’s not the case, Berto said.

“The trees are harvested, packaged and shipped directly to the store,” Berto said.