Holidays Spell Potential Danger for Cats - This Fact Sheet Can Help

Holidays Spell Potential DANGER for CATS

Some cats view a Christmas tree as the world’s greatest scratching post. Set up your tree on a wide, flat, stable base, and consider anchoring it to a window or wall using fishing line. Ornaments should be pet-safe, i.e. made of fabric or wood. Glass ornaments may fall and shatter, cutting an animal's foot. Tinsel, ribbon, or popcorn strands, if swallowed, may cause intestinal obstruction.

Christmas tree water, if ingested, can make your cat sick if it contains fertilizers, or if it has become stagnant. Use a skirt or a cloth to cover the water source at the base of the tree.

Crowds and indoor festivities may frighten cats. If throwing a party at home, make sure your cat has a safe, quiet room all alone. Party horns, fireworks, and loud music may make cats anxious and upset. Please try not to take your cat with you to parties. With so many guests coming in and out, cats can dart out the door during holiday season.

Make sure your cat has a collar and proper ID tags. If you are traveling away from home during the holidays, try to have a trusted family member, friend, or professional pet sitter care for your cat when you are away. If you must travel with your pet, avoid airline travel, unless you can take your cat in the cabin with you, rather than the cargo hold below. Check with your airline regarding guidelines.

Be careful with holiday leftovers. Chicken bones can cause gastrointestinal obstructions, and chocolate can be toxic to cats and dogs. An unattended poultry carcass is a disaster waiting to happen. Any sudden change in diet has the potential to cause stomach upset.

Aluminum foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be harmful if swallowed as well. Clever cats will quickly discover the turkey string in the garbage, and if ingested, can cause stomach upset or intestinal obstruction. Keep garbage cans covered, or throw the turkey string in an outdoor garbage receptacle.

Exercise caution with lit pumpkins, Christmas and Hanukkah candles. Curious kittens may get burned or start a fire if they knock candles over.

Some kittens like to chew on exposed wires, putting them at risk for electrocution. Wires from holiday lights should be taped to baseboards or hidden as much as possible.

Some dogs may tolerate festive holiday attire, but cats rarely enjoy being dressed up. If you insist on an outfit for your cat, make sure it’s safe. It shouldn’t constrict movement, hearing, vision, or ability to breathe. There shouldn’t be any dangling or easily swallowed pieces on the costume.

Some holiday decorations can be dangerous. Poinsettias, mistletoe, ivy, and holly berries are poisonous. Lilies are commonly used in seasonal floral arrangements, but most varieties are poisonous to cats and can lead to kidney failure.

Ribbons and bows from holiday gifts are enticing to cats and kittens. Ingestion of them can cause intestinal blockage.


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