A cat is said to have nine lives, and the reason according to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable is that cats are “more tenacious of life than many animals, because a cat generally lights upon its feet without injury.” Even if we cats are tenacious, we are vulnerable during the holiday season when decorations are placed, plants arrive and the festivities begin. If you share your habitat with a feline family member, there are a few things that you should check to make sure the holiday season is safe for every member of your family.
Cat Safety Check for a Happy Healthy Holiday Season.
I talked about the most common holiday plants and their toxicities to cats in a previous post. I listed the Amaryllis, Holly, Lily, Mistletoe and the Paperwhite Narcissus. The Poinsettia often rumored to be highly toxic actually is considered to have a low toxicity for cats along with the Christmas cactus. If you are uncertain about a plant and are concerned that your cat may have eaten something dangerous, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s animal poison control center at 888-426-4435.
The Christmas Tree:
Real trees pose a threat because pine tree needles can be dangerous to a cat if ingested. Christmas tree water that keeps a cut tree fresh can contain chemicals that can make cats sick. Be sure your cat can’t get access to the water in the tree stand.
Ornaments can be a temptation for most cats. The shiny, swinging movement alone makes the ornament irresistible to cat paws. Make sure your low hanging ornaments are cat friendly and are not made of materials that your cat can chew or otherwise ingest. Be careful of low hanging glass ornaments too as they can shatter when they are batted off the tree causing injury to paws and feet and even worse if the cat were to ingest any of the pieces.
Tinsel and icicles:
If you share your habitat with a cat, just say no to the tinsel and silver glittery dangling icicles. Tinsel can be super dangerous and if your cat should eat the tinsel, they will most likely require emergency surgery to remove the silver tangled mess. ~shiver~ Let’s face it, we cats just cant help ourselves when there is that much shiny stuff hanging around. Please just say no to the tinsel.
Bright colored bows and ribbons:
This is the same as tinsel. If eaten, the ribbon can cause our intestines to twist and without surgery, this can be fatal. Ribbons are lovely to look at, but bad to chomp. Best to not place packages with ribbon in an unsupervised area of the habitat.
We cats like to leap and investigate new things in our habitat. Even though we don’t want to get burned, our tails might swing and knock over a candle. That would be bad, wouldn’t it? Be extra cautious if you have lit candles in your home. My parents opted for the battery operated candles a few years ago for fear I would singe my whiskers.
Potpourri sure smells nice but we cats might be tempted to chomp. Best to keep dishes of potpourri out of our reach.
Food glorious food! Is there any time of the year with more tempting morsels in the habitat for both humans and felines? Rich food is not good for cats. Even though we might beg for bites, resist the temptation to indulge us. Never give a cat a bone. Never! It is really best to stick to our feline food.
Electrical cords can become a temptation to a playful cat. Be careful not to leave cords dangling so as to tease your cat. Chomping into an electrical cord is crazy dangerous for us. Please place cords where your cat cannot get at them.
Guests can be a source of stress. My parents had a party this past week-end. I stomped my paw in protest but my dad said that 364 days of the year, I get my way, and he gets his way 1 day of the year. I agreed that seemed like a fair compromise. Never let it be said that I am unreasonable. So on the 1 night of the year when my parents have a holiday party I retreat to my place of refuge, the master bedroom.
It is super important that your cat has a place to be secluded from the gathering. Make sure you have food, water, toys, bedding and an iPad for entertainment, ok maybe not the iPad, but make sure there is access to litter facilities. Your cat will need peace and quiet from the party. Make sure this space is off limits to those attending the party.
Wow! This is quite a list, but I am sure I have forgotten some things. Please share with us your safety tips so that we all will have a safe, healthy and happy holiday season.