Keep your feline friends safe and healthy this holiday season by keeping these seasonal dangers for your cat in mind:
Dangerous Wrapping—Brightly colored bows, ribbons and tinsel are a festive and enjoyable part of the holiday season, but remember that ribbon can be extremely dangerous for your cat. If ingested, it can cause a cat’s intestines to bunch and get twisted, and in many cases this will need to be remedied with surgery. If left untreated, this can be fatal.
Hanging Ornaments—From your cat’s perspective, low-hanging ornaments on a tree are just begging to be swatted at and then played with on the floor. If you have any low-hanging ornaments on your tree, be sure that they are made of materials that your cat can’t chew or otherwise destroy and ingest.
Poisonous Plants—While poinsettias have long been believed to be extremely dangerous for cats, the danger they pose when ingested by a cat (stomach upset) is not as bad as some other common holiday plants, such as mistletoe, pine tree needles, amaryllis lilies, red azaleas and paperwhites. If you have festive plants, make sure they are somewhere your cat won’t be tempted to chew on them. If you are unsure if a plant is poisonous, or are concerned that your cat may have eaten something dangerous, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s animal poison control center (888-426-4435) for more information.
Candles—Your cat probably isn’t going to be too intrigued by the candle itself, but a wayward swishing tail can easily knock a candle over, causing a host of problems. Keep candles out of reach, and make sure you stay vigilant around lit candles.
Holiday foods—While it may be tempting to give your cat just a nibble of turkey or other holiday food, resist the urge. Rich foods can upset a cat’s digestive system, which could produce unpleasant effects. Also, cats should never be given any type of bone, as they can splinter and cause internal injuries to your cat.
Stress—Cats like routine and predictability, so when their schedules or environments change, they can become upset. If you are planning on having holiday guests and your cat isn’t used to entertaining, create a safe, quiet space away from the action where your cat can have some peace and quiet.
Travel—If you are traveling with your cat during the holidays, be sure that your cat is properly secured in a carrier and that he or she has adequate identification, including a microchip. That way, if you get separated, your cat has a way to be reunited with you. Also, prior to leaving home, find contact information for a veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian in the area you’re visiting, so that, if your cat gets injured or becomes ill, you know where to go to get your cat the care and attention it requires.
Enjoy the holiday season with your cat and, as always, if you have questions or concerns, contact your veterinarian.