The holiday season should be one filled with love, happiness, and (hopefully!) worry-free days. When sharing the holidays with your fuzzy friend, knowing the ins-and-outs of cat safety can help you have a safe, healthy, and most enjoyable holiday with your cat.
Thinking Of Sharing Your Meal? Think Again
While it can be tempting to share some turkey with your fuzzy friends, it would be best if you ignored those watchful eyes. A cat’s diet can be extremely sensitive. Just as is mentioned in Town Cats’ Seasonal Safety Advocacy tips, “While a small piece of boneless, cooked turkey or a lick of pumpkin are probably ok, too much Thanksgiving food can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, or pancreatitis.”
Dispose All Bones: Make sure all bones and carcasses are thrown away securely. If your cat gets their paws on a bone, it could cause choking, digestive issues, or even salmonella poisoning.
Create a Safe Place When Guests Arrive
If you’re having family and friends over for the holidays, creating a quiet place for your more timid felines to retreat to could prevent potential escapes. Cats can get overwhelmed by the festivities and their flight instincts can kick in. All it takes is one open door for a cat to slip away unnoticed. Additionally, if any dogs may be entering your home that your cat may be unfamiliar with, keeping them apart will minimize your cat’s stress. Afterwards, try introducing them slowly. For more help on how to properly introduce cats and dogs, see American Humane Society’s Fact Sheet.
Holiday Observances: Elevate Candles and Menorahs
Although most adult cats understand a flame on a candle is dangerous, kittens may not. Always make sure lit candles are not in a spot easily accessible by your cat or a place they usually climb to. Do not leave candles burning while no one is in the room. Maybe your cat knows to be weary of flames, but sometimes their tails have a mind of their own and could be burnt by a flame or knock down the candle, potentially causing a fire.
Beware Of The ‘Christmas Tree Jungle Gym For Cats’ Scenario
Many cats will be intrigued by the smell of a large plant in the house and see it as nothing more than a giant jungle gym with an endless amount of hanging toys for them to bat at. The lovely pine smell will entice them alone, but once they take their first bite of a branch or pine needle and realize it’s a real tree, it may be difficult to ward them off. While it may be annoying for you to constantly sweep up pine needles off the ground, chewing on the tree could likely be harmful for your cat.
“The tree needles are toxic if ingested and you also don’t know whether fire retardants, preservatives or any type of pesticides were sprayed on the tree.”
A good alternative would be to purchase an artificial tree. There are still toxins for cats to ingest from plastic tree branches, but without that alluring pine smell, they will be much less likely to do so. Regardless of whether or not you choose to purchase a real or artificial tree, just make sure that the tree’s base is sturdy and resistant to falling if your cat is tempted to jump or climb its branches.
Bitter, Anti-Chew Product is Your Tree’s Best Friend: You can find anti-chew sprays or creams in just about any store that sells animal products. You can spray it all over your artificial tree to prevent your cat from chewing on the branches, and the smell may even deter them from climbing as well. You can also spray the product on the wires of your tree lights before you hang them up. Garland or tinsel is lightweight and tends to fall easily, making it a very accessible toy for cats and if eaten can create “intestinal blockage.” Spraying anti-chew product can keep your garland and tinsel looking shiny and your cat feeling fine.
Ornaments are Your Cat’s Favorite Toys During the Holidays
Everyone loves the bright lights and sparkle of a Christmas tree- and so does your cat. Replace glass bulbs or anything else that would break, should it fall from the tree, with plastic ornaments or those that are shatter-resistant. Hang special ornaments at the top of the tree, where a cat cannot reach them. This tip will both prevent your cat from injuring its paws from stepping on any broken glass and avoid a messy cleanup for you. Instead of just hooking ornaments on a tree, try tightly winding the metal hooks around the branches to make it more difficult for a cat to knock down. Additionally, avoid hanging edible ornaments like popcorn or cranberries- neither human food is healthy for pets and the smell can prove to be too enticing for your furry friends.
Entertain Your Furry Friends: Make the holidays special for your pets too, by purchasing them some new toys. Pets will always be less likely to get into trouble if they are distracted.
Electrical Tubing and Wrapping
Anti-Chew products can be a great preventative measure for the Christmas tree, but you may not want all your wires around your house to be covered in a bitter film. Christmas décor around the home, such as a Christmas Village, can utilize a lot of wires and wires remind cats of the strings attached to their favorite toys. An easy way to prevent your pet from chewing down to the wires is to wrap any chords in electrical tubing. You can find a variety of different types of tubing at any home improvement or department store.
Protect Your Tree’s Water Reservoir
Dogs and cats alike will drink the water out of your Christmas tree’s water reservoir. Besides potential toxins sprayed on the tree, your pet could also ingest tree sap which is poisonous for them as well. There are so many alternatives today to watering your tree without an open basin enticing your pets. You can buy covers for you water reservoir, some are now built in a dome shape, or you can purchase a funnel devise for your tree.
Finally, find some time to love your cat during the holidays — they will be sure to love you just as much, or even more!
Megan was born and raised on the East Coast in Fairfax, VA. After graduating from college with BA in Enlgish, she spent the last few years in various locations within the Washington DC Metro Area. She has been a government contractor for the Department of Homeland Security for over two years. When she’s not writing for the Homeland, she enjoys spending time with her senior kitty, Girl Kitty (this really is her name), who has been her loving companion since she was a young girl. Megan prefers to spend her time reading or watching Netflix, always with a glass of red wine in hand. While she has always loved and owned animals, she became passionate about working with animals when she began fostering stray dogs.