The festive season is a wonderful and magical time but, it also carries some hidden dangers for your cats. It’s easy to get distracted with family and guests in the household and the shiny decorations are exciting and highly tempting to our feline companions.
Who among us hasn’t imagined this scenario happening back at home whilst we were out visiting…
As cat owners, safety is a continuous and daily commitment that you make to your furbaby. During the holidays as our schedule becomes busier, strangers (to your cat) come into your home, and as we are required to multi-task more, some safety precautions may fall by the wayside. Don’t let your cat become a statistic this year.
Here are a few ways to keep your cat safe during the holidays.
Avoid Holiday Plants
Mistletoe and Poinsettias are two favorite holiday plants that many people bring into their homes for the holidays. If you have a cat, keep both these plants out of your home. They are both toxic-the Mistletoe more than the Poinsettias, but don’t take a chance with either of them. Other flowers and plants such as Lilies, Amaryllis and Holly are also highly toxic to cats and can cause organ damage and even death when ingested.
Cat Proof your Christmas Tree
Christmas tree water may contain pesticides and drinking this water can poison your cat. Most types of Christmas trees are also toxic to cats, please ensure to research safe trees or buy an artificial tree. Chewing or ingesting tinsel, strings, ribbons, tree decorations or artificial tree parts can cause painful and potentially fatal obstructions. Fake snow is also highly toxic when ingested.
Clear Away Small Toys
If you are having small children as visitors during the holidays that will bring small toys such as beads, marbles, small game board pieces, make sure your cat is confined to another room or the cage in the same room so it remains safe but feels included in the gathering. Warn children not to feed the cat anything unless you give them permission. After the children have gone, make sure all small pieces that could possibly cause choking have been cleared away before allowing your get to run free again.
Keep Cats Away from People Food
Holiday parties contain a lot of food that is great for people but toxic for cats. Remember your cat can climb to unbelievable heights so make sure that foods that are toxic to cats such as chocolate, tomatoes, green potatoes, garlic, grapes and raisins are contained in pet proof containers. What cat wouldn’t enjoy a little turkey at Thanksgiving? But cooked bones of any kind, from chicken to turkey, can have sharp splinters and should never be given to your cats.
To avoid any possibility of your cat ingesting these foods from the table at a party, or having an unknowing guest feed these foods to your cat, put your cat in his cage with a favorite toy in a room well away from the party, and ask guests who know you have a cat not to go into the room.
Contain Electrical Cords
An increased number of electrical cords are often used during the holidays to light up decorations. Many times they are seen as a new toy to your cat who may be tempted to swat at (and knock over) decorations, chew, or pull-none of which are good. Make sure that you tape cords together to avoid tangling or hanging, or enclose the cords in heavy plastic tubing that can be purchased from most hardware stores and reused each year. Avoid chewed cords, risk of electrical shock, or dragged decorations by keeping cords taped down and when possible, out of sight.
Candles and Menorahs
In addition to electrical cords, burning candles become more prevalent on the holidays. Never leave a candle unattended with a pet in the house, where it can easily be knocked to the ground.
Outdoor Safety in Cold Weather
Some people think that a cat’s winter coat will protect him from these conditions. This is true to a certain extent, but just like us, they need a bit of extra protection and comfort when the temperature takes a dive. There are a few things you can do to help your cat through the holiday and remaining winter months:
* Don’t leave your cat outside for too long, and keep an eye on him. Like humans, cats can be at risk from hypothermia and frostbite. A quick trip outside is unlikely to do any harm, but please don’t lock your cat out overnight.
* Elderly cats are especially sensitive to cold, so it’s best to keep them indoors as much as possible.
* Create some warm, cozy spots around the house. A nice basket, a box with a blanket or a soft cushion on the floor usually do the trick.
* If you have an open fire, it will probably become a cat magnet during cold days. Please make sure the fire is screened properly, and keep an eye on your cat in case of sparks.
* Your cat might eat a bit more than usual. This is no cause for concern – he’ll need it to keep his fur fluffy and healthy, and to build up resistance against the cold. This is especially the case if your cat ventures outdoors.
* Antifreeze is poisonous to cats, so please don’t leave it unattended and clean up any spills.
* A regular outdoor cat may be bored when having to stay inside more over the winter. He’s highly likely to appreciate it if you spend some extra time playing with him. Cats need the stimulation, and it helps you both to bond.
Cartoons via Scott Metzger Cartoons
Toxic plants infograph via @stella_andthe_tribe
Cat proof your tree infograph via Petcentric by Purina
Food safety infograph via Pam Johnson-Bennett
Winter cat safety infograph via @mcldybug