No matter which way you choose to celebrate the holiday season, there are many hidden dangers that we must watch for to keep our kitties safe from harm. Some of the things on this list you may already know, and some might come as a surprise. What’s most important is that we all work to keep our babies safe from these holiday dangers for cats.
And If you have a dog in your home, these are dangers for them, too. Keep all those four-legged kiddos safe and watch out for these dangers this holiday season.
1. Christmas Trees–And Christmas Tree Water
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree, how I want to jump on thee! I think it goes without saying that many cats are naturally enamored with that shiny, sparkly, dazzling tree that randomly shows up in your home once per year. Do yourself and your cat a favor and be sure that your tree is securely anchored in.
Sadly, many vets report an influx in vet visits during this time of year due to Christmas tree cat disasters from your cat’s overly curious and playful nature–not to mention that pine needles are dangerous for cats if ingested.
Or better yet, skip the real deal and go the artificial Christmas tree route instead. Stagnant tree water is another holiday danger for cats as it’s a breeding ground for bacteria. The blend of fertilizer from the tree and stagnant water can lead to nausea, diarrhea and upset stomach if they fancy themselves a drink of it. This serves for yet another reason it’s best to stick with the fake tree so you don’t have to worry about this potential danger as well.
While not all cats are drawn to tinsel, some cannot help themselves when they come in contact with it. Shiny string–must.play.with.it. is probably what most cats think at the sight of it. Just as with any string that a cat ingests, if your cat eats the tinsel it can very well lead to a “linear foreign body obstruction” inside their intestinal tract and could even cause death. Be wise and have a tinsel-less town about your home this holiday season to keep kitty safe.
3. Fireplace Ashes
Your cat isn’t going to launch themselves into an open flame, but those lingering ashes of soot and dust can appeal to their senses. Not only are they an absolute mess to clean off, but the toxic chemicals in those yule logs used around Christmastime can be poisonous to cats if ingested. If you must use your fireplace this holiday season, please be wise and keep a screen in front to protect your cat from danger. After the flames are through, keep the fire place tidy so your cat isn’t tempted to go explore this dangerous space.
4. Plants to Watch For: Poinsettias, Mistletoe, Holly, Amaryllis and Lilies of Any Kind
Many felines find the fanning leaves tempting on plants, but unfortunately, many of those pretty holiday plants with colorful leaves are highly toxic to our cat friends.
Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet
Our favorite ginger kitty cat, Marmalade, has a friendly reminder to us cat people about which plants to avoid in the presence of our feline friends:
- Remove any plant material from the hair and skin.
- If it necessary, you can wash the cat with warm water and a little non-irritating dish soap.
- The identity of the plant is very important for determining treatment. If you don’t know what kind of plant it is and you can bring it with you, do so. Veterinarians don’t receive much training in plant identification, but every effort needs to be made to identify the plant. If your cat has vomited at all, try to collect some it for the doctor.
- Call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-213-6680.
5. Holiday Parties
Often times when cats get scared, they run and hide. But when cats get scared and doors to the house are opening and shutting, they may make a beeline for the door. During holiday parties, this is a time when you need to be especially careful of those doors opening and closing as guests go to and from your home. Not all guests will know if your cats are exclusively indoor pets, and many times cats can move so quickly–especially when they’re frightened–that they may not even sneak out the door.
If you plan to have company over, offer your cat a sanctuary spot in your home where they’re safe and tucked away from guests that may not not realize they’ve actually given them an opportunity to sneak outdoors.
6. Wires, Cords, and String Lights
With all the lights strung up about in your home, this can be inviting to your cat’s curiosities. Exposed wires, cords and string lights are a major no-no for your kitty, and if their sharp teeth or claws punctures through the protective coating, this could equal very bad–not to mention painful and sometimes lethal–effects for your cat. Please do your best to keep exposed cords hidden from your cat’s sight.
7. Holiday Candles
Although the smells of holiday scents may tickle our noses with festive delight, a cat does not know what they should and should not knock over when they are moving about. An open flame that crashes to the ground can result in a suddenly dangerous–or even deadly–situation for your cat. If you like burning candles in your home during the holidays, do your best to never leave an open flame in your home whenever you are not present.
We want to wish every cat mom and dad and their precious kitties a happy and safe holiday season filled with merry and cheer. By following our helpful tips you’ll be able to ring in the new year together with your best fur friend safe by your side. Meowy Christmas, everyone!
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