As the saying goes: “as curious as a cat”, you know your cat is no different. Certain precautions need to be taken during the holiday season to keep your cat safe. There are many items that are very harmful to your cat, but by following a few simple guidelines you and your cat can get through the holidays safely! Read on to start making your plans to keep your curious cat safe these holidays.
· Holiday Plants – There are several holiday plants that are poisonous to your cat such as the mistletoe, holly berries, ivy and lilies. They should only be kept in an area not frequented by your cat. The most common plant, the poinsettia, is rated low in toxicity, but will still cause troubles for your feline. If you believe your cat has eaten any toxic substance contact your vet immediately. If you cannot contact your vet then contact the National Animal Poison Control Center.
· Holiday Guests—New people coming into your cat’s house can be very scary to them. If you are having a get together with several people be sure to have a place you cat can go that is away from all the excitement and intruders. Your cat will feel more secure when they can avoid the noise and the guests. Even if you are only going to have one or two people over, you need to make arrangements for your cat if they are not used to company.
· Holiday Candles/Potpourri Liquids – Your cat will be curious of a burning candle in a dark room, so never leave any lit candles unattended. Your cat could be seriously burned or knock over the candle causing hot wax to spill. If you insist on burning candles this time of year, always be aware of them and your cat! Potpourri liquids can cause many hazards for your cat and some are even fatal. Your cat can come in contact with them from the leaking bottles or by spilling them and all it takes is for them to rub against them. Avoid these if possible.
· Holiday Lights – When laying out lights to be tested; be careful your cat does not decide to “help” you with lit lights, which could burn them They could even break and cause severe damage to your cat. Keep an eye on your cat when putting up your lights also. You should always be sure to secure the lights and wires. Use PVC pipes if necessary to keep your cat from chewing on them and being electrocuted.
· Holiday Gifts – Your cat will love to play with the pretty wrapping, bows and glitter all those gifts come in, but be aware of the dangers. Be sure to remove any type of ribbon and never tie a ribbon around your pet as it could cause choking or strangulation by getting stuck on something. Get rid of any yarn or anything else that could be swallowed and cause intestinal blockage. Leave the boxes and paper out for a little while and your cats will be very happy!
· Holiday Food – Try to resist the temptation to feed your cat all the holiday foods that you will have. Cats have very sensitive stomachs and their systems do not like any changes in their diets. There may be consequences such as diarrhea and stomach discomfort. If you must give them something, a little chicken or turkey will not cause too much trouble, but be sure there are no bones that can cause intestinal blockage or internal lacerations. Chocolate in large portions is very toxic to your cat and should be kept safely away from them at all times. Be sure to properly discard all aluminum foil used for cooking or that candy comes in. Your cat could be interested in this, but this can cause intestinal blockage, vomiting or more severe problems for you cat.
· Holiday Tree – When your cat sees their first tree, they will think for sure you have brought this in the house just for them to enjoy. There are many precautions you need to take concerning your holiday tree. Be sure it is in wide, flat and secure stand. Another good idea is to have it attached securely to hold it in place. You can do this with wire or rope and hooks connected to the wall. Replace metal hooks used for decorating with ribbon or yarn in case your cat decides to put them in their mouths where they could get stuck. Do not use popcorn or cranberry strands. They could get caught around your cat’s neck or cause intestinal blockage if eaten. Tinsel can also cause intestinal blockage and obstruction and should not be used around cats. Any type of ornament made from glass should not be used around your cat in case it breaks. It is deadly if eaten and this includes angel hair, that is made from spun glass. Flocking or fake snow should be avoided as it can be caught in the nasal passages if inhaled or ingested. Place fresh lemon peels at the bottom of the tree to keep your cat away or if possible put your tree in an area that your cat does not have access to.
Your cat and you can have many happy holiday memories for many years to come and safe ones by following these guidelines. Your cat will not even notice most of the things you do, but will be much more safe and secure. The main thing to remember is: if you plan for everything, then you will not run into unexpected trouble later. Have a very happy holiday with your cat(s). I know I will!
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