Happy ‘pawlidays’, everyone! We are ‘whiskering’ you a Happy Hannukah and very ‘meowy’ Christmas! All cat puns aside, the month of December is here, and it is a great time to talk about holiday safety for your cat. After Thanksgiving, the trees start to go up, the menorah gets shined, and holiday lights get untangled. What you might not be thinking of, however, is the safety of your feline friends!
Here are some safety tips to help avoid a holiday disaster:
A Christmas Tree
Cats are notoriously curious and sometimes to their own detriment. When you put up a tree in your feline friendly home, your cats will, without a doubt, take it upon themselves to investigate the new indoor foliage. Trees pose a variety of threats to cats and the most common is their inability to resist the urge to climb it. Both real and artificial trees make for a seemingly good perch. The problem is, they are not rooted to the ground and pose a tipping hazard. It is important to discourage climbing by providing other perching options like a cat tree or comfortable and sturdy shelf to survey their kingdom from.
Besides climbing, trees are covered with an endless assortment of ornaments and baubles that looks suspiciously like cat toys to your feline friend. If you are a new cat owner, most experienced cat folks will warn against any delicate or treasured ornaments low to the ground; shatter-proof ornaments are certainly your best bet! Lights can be fascinating (especially on twinkle mode!) and the string that they are attached to can definitely be mistaken for a toy. Chewing on lights can cause electrocution, fires, and burns to the mouth. Be sure to discourage this behavior by closely supervising time around the tree. Dr. Shea recommends use of Bitter Apple spray on the tree to prevent chewing.
Real trees require watering, and it is important to make sure your cat doesn’t see the tree stand as their new hidden source of fresh water. Pesticides from the Christmas tree farm, oils from the tree, and the aspirin that is sometimes used to help keep trees looking fresh are all bad for your kitty. If your cat is intent on tasting the forbidden tree water, try laying aluminum foil over the tree stand to keep them out.
Plants are common holiday gifts or purchases to help bring joy into the home. Stores are stocked with gorgeous poinsettias, amaryllis, lilies, festive swags of evergreen and holly, and traditional bundles of mistletoe. If consumed in large enough quantity, all plants pose a treat for intestinal blockages, but there are certain plants that are downright poisonous to cats. This includes holly, mistletoe, amaryllis, and lilies. Ready for some good news? It was once thought that poinsettias were highly toxic, and while excessive ingestion can cause issues, poinsettias are actually considered to be low toxicity. If your cat is a wannabe vegetarian that likes to munch on any houseplant, just opt for fake options and consider getting a cat grass or catnip grow kit for them for the holidays.
The Menorah and Other Candles
Like twinkle lights, flickering flames are beyond mesmerizing for cats. They emit a comfortable warmth and the flame moves in a way that just makes curious cats even more curious. Cases of singed whiskers, tails, and even severe burns are quite common during the holidays. Even more seriously, cats can cause fires throughout your home with deadly consequences. Has your cat ever looked you dead in the eye while they knock an item on to the floor? Lit candles are no exception and fallen candles can cause house fires. Be sure to always supervise your cat around open flames.
Wrapping paper and ribbons may be fun for your cat to play with, but it is of the utmost importance that these items are not being eaten. We do not recommend allowing your feline to play with items such as shiny tinsel, ribbons or bows, as they can cause intestinal obstructions resulting in costly surgery or even death if not addressed in time.
Dressed in Their Holiday Best
We have all seen the infamously adorable photos of catss in festive bow ties, little hats, sweaters, and even full-on costumes. If you wish to deck the halls and then deck out your kitty, be sure that they are always supervised while in their best attire. The vast majority of cats are uncomfortable and even anxious wearing clothing so it’s best to dress them up, snap a few photos, and then remove for use next year.
Delicious Human Food
Just like your own, your cat’s mouth will start to water as delicious aromas start to waft from your kitchen with your holiday baking and cooking adventures. Keep your feline friend out of the kitchen while you are cooking to help avoid burns, trips, and spills. Some cats are finicky eaters and others will gobble down anything they can find, so be sure to keep counters clear and leftovers put away if your cat is an opportunistic eater. As tempting as it may be to share a full out feast with your cat, avoid any overly fatty, salty, or sugary foods. A lean slice of meat or a special cat friendly food topper are your safest options to avoid pancreatitis or digestive issues.
We hope these holiday tips are helpful! If you find yourself in a holiday emergency, please give us a call! We will be closed on December 24th and 25th, as well as December 31st and January 1st. If you have an emergency after hours or on a day we are closed, please contact your nearest Blue Pearl Pet Hospital. TLC Cat Clinic would like to wish you and yours the happiest of holidays and a happy MEW year!