The holidays are here, and that means life is busier than normal. We have parties to host and attend as well as friends and family stopping by to spread holiday cheer. Our homes are fancifully decorated with trees, glitter, a singing Santa Clause, gifts covered in wrapping paper with bows, and that dreaded fruitcake from Aunt Alice that will sit on your counter through the New Year. All of these things leave opportunities for your cat to experience harm in some way. This article from catster.com gives tips from a vet on keeping your cat safe this holiday season.
1. Poisonous plants
While some pet owners have worried for decades about their cats getting into the poinsettia, vets don’t lose any sleep over these plants, because poisoning problems are rare and mild, more often causing slight stomach irritation.
On the other hand, there is a saying among veterinarians that “lilies are lethal,” and they scare them to death. Why? Cats are easily attracted to the smell, taste, and texture of lilies, and the petals, leaves, stems, and pollen are very poisonous.
During the holidays, we love to have candles burning in most rooms our the house. Ahhh, the scent of balsam fir, gingerbread, and pumpkin filling the kitchen, family room, and master bedroom. What we don’t want to smell is burnt cat fur.
It’s easy for a cat to jump up on a counter or table, swish a languid tail across an open flame, and have the hair on his tail go up like tinder. Use covers on jar candles, and put candles up where they’re inaccessible. Best option: Use the new battery-operated candles that look like the real thing.
3. People food
While cats aren’t typically garbage guts like dogs, they can definitely get into problems by eating the wrong thing or too much of the right thing. For example, a 7-pound cat can run into digestive problems if you give him half a pound of fatty turkey, ham, or roast beef trimmings. Sticking to cat food — or a few cat treats from Brookside Barkery is always the best option.
4. Well-meaning family members
We never want to see our cats in pain or discomfort, and it’s our first instinct to want to help them. However, resist the urge to give them any non-prescribed medicines. There have been many cases of cats becoming ill or even poisoned, because their owners decided to try and treat a medical problem with something from their own medicine cabinet.
Never give your feline any human, over-the-counter products or prescriptions without getting permission and dosages from your veterinarian.
5. Wrappings and ribbon
“Leave the box for them to play in, but get the ribbon and decorations out of sight,” said Dr. Elizabeth Colleran, past president of the AAFP and member of the Cat Friendly Practice initiative. “Playing with ribbon can result in a very dangerous obstruction in the intestines [that is] often life threatening. Almost always, these require surgery.”
6. Trees and decorations
Choose decorations that are feline-friendly to make it a happy holiday for the entire household.
- Low hanging ornaments on your tree should not be breakable or made of a material or small pieces that your cat could chew and ingest.
- Some cats like to climb, and your tree might make an excellent adventure opportunity. Secure it in place, so it cannot be knocked over.
- Tinsel can be very tempting to cats, and, like ribbon, it can require surgery.
If you are hitting the road for the holidays, make sure your travel plans include how your cats will spend them.
- Pet-friendly hotels are common now, but you’ll need to pack some extras. Familiar bedding brings along a little bit of home, along with disposable litter boxes, food, and water bowls.
- If staying with family, see if there is a separate space, so the cats don’t have to share with unfamiliar pets.
- If the cats get to stay home, make sure that the people taking care of them are familiar to your cats as well as familiar with your cats. It’s also good for the cat sitters to know your cat’s habits, hiding places, and any special needs. Write down everything they need to know, including your veterinarian’s phone number for questions or emergencies.
However you and your cat are spending the holidays, make sure checkups and vaccines are current. It is always a great precaution; no one likes these types of surprises. Keep these simple steps in mind, and you and your cat will have a very happy holiday!
Don’t FURget to pick up a gift for your cat as well! A sealable, customized treat jar with your cat’s name on it is great for those frisky felines who love to tear into their presents early. If you are concerned about protecting your guests’ ugly holiday sweaters from cat hair, pick up a Be Forever Furless Brush. It’s a reusable hair and lint remover that doesn’t require refills and cleans with a little soap and water. Whatever your needs, Brookside Barkery has a huge selection of cat treats, food, and toys that will keep your cat occupied and happy through all of the holiday hustle and bustle!