As we jump on that speeding train toward the Christmas holiday, let's take time before all the decorating, chaos and festivities to make sure this is a safe time of year for the family cat. If your cat has experienced several holidays then you're probably well aware of the possible dangers but if this is your first Christmas holiday with kitty or if you've always dreaded what danger your inquisitive little feline is going to get into, then here are some general reminders to help you have a safer holiday.
- Cats love to climb so when you set up the Christmas tree, make sure it is secure. One way is to secure the tree to the wall with picture wire.
- Leave the tree up for a while before decorating it so your cat gets used to it.
- If you have a live tree, cover the reservoir with netting so kitty can't drink the water. Pine sap is toxic, as is tree preservative.
- Secure light strands by wrapping them around branches so they don't dangle to limit the temptation that a cat may chew on wire. For added security, coat wires with a bitter anti-chew product.
- Don't leave tree lights on when you aren't home to supervise just in case your cat chews wires.
- Instead of ornament hooks, secure ornaments to the tree using twist ties so they can't get knocked off when a cat bats at them.
- Don't use tinsel because if swallowed, it can cause intestinal damage.
- Keep candles completely out of a cat's reach to prevent noses, whiskers or tails from getting burned. Battery-powered candles these days are so life-like and are a much safer option.
- Don't leave wrapped gifts around that are tied with dangling ribbon.
- If you're having company for the holiday, keep your cat in a separate room if there's a chance he may try to dart out the front door or if he gets stressed by visitors.
- Don't feed table scraps and make sure guests know not to feed your cat.
- Don't leave food out on the kitchen counter if your cat tends to be a food thief.
- Don't offer any bones to your cat to chew on. Bones can splinter and cause intestinal damage.
- Chocolate is extremely toxic to cats so don't leave candy around. Even though cats don't generally have a sweet tooth, some may have developed a taste for sugar if they've been fed sweet food in the past.
- Don't allow your cat to taste any alcoholic beverages. A guest may think it's funny to give an animal a sip of beer or wine but it's not safe.
With a little planning and supervision, you can ensure that your entire family has a safe and wonderful holiday.
Wishing you and your cats a wonderful holiday and a very Happy New Year!
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