Cat safety tips: 8 Things to avoid this Christmas
It’s that special time of the year when we must pay extra attention to the hazards of the holidays when it comes to guaranteeing that our cats remain safe.
- Decorate your tree, the cat friendly way
Christmas tree ornaments and tinsel should be hung at a safe distance away from cats, especially playful kittens. Most ornaments can be lethal to a cat when ingested, especially the little unsuspecting metal hooks that tend to scatter around the base of the tree from fallen and broken ornaments. So when trimming your tree, make sure to secure ornaments to the branch. Also, in order to avoid a catastrophe, trim any large branches from the bottom of the tree that your cat might be tempted to climb on. If you have a live tree don’t use additives to the water as this could make your cat sick if ingested. As an extra precautionary measure that’s festive, wrap the entire base of the tree in a red velvet skirt.
- Let their be light, safely
Enjoy lighting your favorite gingerbread and pine scented Christmas candles but place them away from curious kitties that think batting at the flames is a fun pastime. Hide any exposed Christmas lights in the tree branches to prevent your cat from chewing on the wires. Also, consider using plastic LED lights that cannot burn or shatter in your cat’s mouth if chewed.
- Strings are for presents, not cats
Although ribbons of various sizes are pretty and super fun for your cat to play with, when ingested ribbons can cause serious damage to your pet’s gastrointestinal system. Before ripping into gifts, be sure to have a garbage bag handy to throw discarded wrappings and ribbon to avoid any problems.
- No bubbly for your furry friends
Be mindful not to set caffeinated and alcoholic beverages on the floor or in an easily accessible spot as they could be extremely harmful to your cat if swallowed. If your adorable but naughty kitty has a propensity for bathing in the eggnog then perhaps it’s best to give them a temporary time out with plenty of treats and catnip in a closed room until the party is over.
- Flowers are decor, not kitty food
As you are decking the halls in mistletoe, poinsettias, hollies and lilies make sure your cat does not make them a snack. Unfortunately, eating any of these Christmas flowers can cause severe gastrointestinal upset, lethargy, irritation to the tissue lining the mouth and stomach; and in severe cases, kidney failure to cats. Be safe adn bedeck your home in a faux-floral spectacle that is safe for all your furry friends.
- Keep fatty meats off the menu
When cooking and dining this Christmas, don’t cave in and throw a fatty piece of meat their way despite your cat’s dramatic begging and pleading. Fatty meats and dishes swimming in gravy can cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) which leads to abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Have a little dish of cat treats on hand to satiate your kitty instead.
- Chocolates and gum are catastrophic
Go ahead and splurge, inhale a whole box of Whitman Sampler chocolates but keep all chocolates strictly off limits to your cats. Chocolates and cocoa (containing theobromine) are toxic to your furry babies. Even ingesting a small amount of chocolate can cause nausea, diarrhea and/or vomiting. Large amounts of your favorite candy can cause your pet to suffer seizures and heart arrhythmias. As much as we would love seeing our cat benefit from a refreshing minty piece of gum or candy mitigating any unpleasant odors caused by halitosis or bad breath, don’t tempt fate by leaving gum or candy around. Even by placing freshly chewed or discarded candies in an accessible trash receptacle is problematic. Some sugarless gum and candies contains Xylitol, which is toxic to cats by potentially causing a life – threatening drop in blood sugar levels as well as liver failure.
- We love onions and garlic, our cats do not
Some of our favorite herbs and seasonings like onions and garlic (including powder forms) can lead to anemia (a decrease in red blood cells) and gastrointestinal upset. Onions and garlic poisoning can have a delayed onset. If you suspect ingestion contact your vet ASAP.
Even after all your cautionary measures, if your kitty does get sick be certain to call your VET ASAP or the ASPCA animal poison center for further assistance (1-888-4ANI- HELP).
HAVE A VERY MEOWY CHRISTMAS!