Your cat is a very special and unique creature as most kitty lovers would agree. With the holidays coming up, there are likely to be changes in the household that may not be in kitty’s best interest. Holiday guests, gifts, wrapping paper, decorations, poinsettias and a variety of rich Christmas foods are things that we humans all enjoy, but they represent a safety threat for cats. To keep your beloved pet and out of harm’s way, here are 10-holiday safety tips for your cats that can help to keep your furry four-legged friend safe and healthy.
1. Make a safe room for kitty to go
Holiday guests and young children who are new to your cat can cause a lot of excess stress, especially if your cat isn’t used to crowds. Cats are sensitive animals and a houseful of people can frighten them or create anxiety. Make sure that there is a quiet and private place that your cat can go to escape the noise and excitement. You may want to let small children know that when kitty goes into this room it is their own private refuge and it’s off limits to everyone else.
2. Keep holiday plants up and out of reach of cats
Some plants, especially poinsettias, have poisonous leaves. We all know how much cats love to chew on colorful things, so it’s best to keep all of these types of things well out of their reach. An emergency trip to the veterinarian is the last thing that either of you need during the holidays.
3. Block kitty’s access to the Christmas tree
Christmas trees are another feline favorite. With all of the shiny baubles and glowing lights, don’t be surprised if your cat is fond of batting low hanging glass balls around. They’re almost too much for a cat to resist. Glass balls can break easily and we all know how much they love active play and chewing. Keep breakable ornaments up high or better yet, place potentially dangerous glass ornaments up higher and out of kitty’s reach. It’s a good idea to block access to the tree by putting it in a corner or arranging gifts around it so your cat can’t easily reach the lights and ornaments.
4. Power cords are a danger
During the holidays, there are generally Christmas tree light strings that have cords plugged into extension cords or wall sockets. Cats and dogs are notorious for chewing on the cords, especially kittens. This is an activity that could prove fatal for the cat and for everyone else in the house. There is not only the risk of electrocution but also for causing a fire that would burn down the house. Keep all power cords out of reach and unplug them, hiding the cords out of the cat’s sight and reach when you go to bed at night.
5. Watch out for bows and ribbons
Bows and ribbons from holiday packages may seem harmless, but did you know that a lot of cats end up at the vet’s office over swallowing them? The materials fray easily and if your cat ingests them, ribbons and string can cause serious and even fatal digestive issues. Strings and ribbon can wrap around the intestines and strangle the gut, leading to a host of serious problems so keep them all picked up and out of your cat’s reach.
6. Watch those holiday beverages
If you or your guests are enjoying holiday cocktails or any type of drinks that contain alcohol, it’s important to keep the glasses up and out of your cat’s reach. Yes, cats will lap up alcoholic beverages, especially if they taste sweet. Alcohol is poisonous to cats and it can lead to seizures and even death, so remind guests not to leave their drinks on a low lying table where your cat has free access to join in the party.
7. Candies and foods containing chocolate are trouble too
As the list of holiday dangers for cats grow, we can’t forget to add chocolate. Sweets, in general, aren’t good for your cat, but foods that have chocolate in them are real trouble. It’s a food that is a definite no-no for dogs and cats because chocolate contains compounds that can make your pets very ill. Remind the kids and adult guests to keep them out of reach of your kitties and tell them not to share their treats. Instead, give the kids some healthy cat approved snacks to dole out.
8. Make your garbage can inaccessible
When you’re enjoying the holidays there are lots of things that go into the garbage. Anything from ribbons to wrapping paper, broken ornaments, discarded plastic, bones from the meat that you enjoyed at your meals and much more that may attract your cat. Most cat lovers know that if their kitty wants something bad enough, they’ll wait until you’re not around and help themselves. Make sure to keep your garbage tightly covered or in a place where your cat can’t get to it because it will likely be full of attractive scents and very dangerous contents for cats.
9. Check your driveway for antifreeze
Antifreeze is a deadly poison for dogs and cats. Although some brands have changed the formulation so it’s not so sweet tasting, it’s not worth taking a chance. With multiple vehicles coming and going, there may be pools of antifreeze in your driveway. It happens more often than people think. Dogs and cats are curious creatures that they tend to lap up pools of antifreeze. Protect your cat by visually scanning the driveway before letting them out to do their business, just to be sure. If you see any pools, cover them with gravel or clean it up with paper towels and seal the towels in bags, disposing of them out of kitty’s reach because they don’t know what you do.
10. Keep your cat’s paws and legs clean
The final tip may sound like an odd one, but if you live in an area where you need to put down de-icer on your outdoor porches and sidewalks, these chemicals stay on the surface and when your cat walks over them, the de-icer sticks to the fur on their feet and legs. Cats are notorious for performing hours of self-grooming and they will likely lick the fur and pads of their feet to remove these irritating chemicals. Even if you only use salt, it can still cause a lot of irritation, so keep kitty’s paws and legs clean by wiping them after they come back in the house if they traverse over treated surfaces.