When the holidays arrive, many of our houses get a complete makeover inside. From decorations and candy to firewood and candles, the cold outside gives us the perfect opportunity to make it warm and cozy inside.
But don’t assume your indoor pets are going to accept the seasonal décor without being a little adventurous, especially those curious little cats we like to pet in our laps. Unfortunately, there are many dangers for your kitty cat that come with the holidays, and it’s just a good idea to make sure you have created a safe holiday home.
Don’t give chocolate to your cat. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is deadly to cats. It’s best to stick to the special cat treats (not people food) your pet has been used to eating all year.
Watch out for the food prep areas. If your cat likes to climb on the countertops, make sure you don’t leave any food unattended, especially bones. Poultry bones break apart easily, which can cause serious internal injury, not to mention upset stomachs.
Keep the holiday spirits out of kitty’s reach. It sounds funny to mention a cat ingesting alcohol, but it’s very serious. Alcohol makes felines very sick and weak, often causing respiratory failure.
Decorate with cat-friendly plants and floral decorations. Many popular holiday plants are poisonous to cats. Lilies can cause kidney failure in cats, and mistletoe and holly berries also can be toxic. Poinsettias are considered to be very low in toxicity, but they could cause mild vomiting or nausea if ingested. Safe alternatives can include silk or plastic artificial flowers.
Cat-proof your tree and the water in the tree stand. Just like toddlers, the Christmas tree seems like a great new thing to climb, and you kind of need to follow the same rules as if you had a small child around. Be sure your tree is secure, place ornaments out of paw’s reach, and, if possible use non-breakable ornaments. Also, watch out for stagnant tree water, which can cause all kinds of illnesses. It’s just a good idea to keep the tree stand covered.
No tinsel. Yes, cats are known to be curious about tinsel, and often try to eat it. Those that do can suffer serious intestinal problems that require surgery.
Keep kitty safe during parties. If you’re hosting a holiday gathering, place your cat in a separate room during the festivities. Cats tend to get stressed when their routines are interrupted, and this way you don’t have to worry either.
A dry, warm cat is a happy cat. Cats shouldn’t be taken outside after a bath unless they are absolutely, positively, 100 percent dry. And make sure you cat has a warm place to sleep. Their usual place may be colder than usual, so it’s time to check for drafts.
Kitty-proof the fireplace. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, always use a protective barrier or screen to keep your cat from getting burned by his curiosity.
Use safe antifreeze. Antifreeze smells and tastes good to cats, but ethylene glycol-based antifreeze is a lethal poison for animals. Even just a few licks can be deadly. While no antifreeze is safe for ingestion, a propylene glycol-based antifreeze generally is much less toxic. Be sure to keep the product stored in a clearly marked, sealed container in a place where pets don’t have access, and clean up any antifreeze spills immediately.