The holidays are here again and along with the fun, food and merriment also comes a responsibility to keep kitty safe from harm. Here are some safety tips you can follow to ensure that the holidays are spent in the company of your loved ones and not at the veterinary ER!
THE CHRISTMAS TREE
- Pine needles can cause serious problems if swallowed, so keep your tree well-watered and clean up excess needles.
-Keep the water reservoir for your tree covered so kitty can't drink from it. Pine sap can make your cats very sick and some additives designed to prolong the life of your tree, like aspirin, can be deadly.
-When hanging ornaments put fragile/breakable decorations high on the tree out of reach of kitty.
-To keep ornaments from being batted off of the tree, bend the top of the hanger so it fits tightly around the branch.
-Cover exposed Christmas light wires with clear plastic tubing slit down one side, or use Bitter Apple cream applied to the wire casing, to keep kitty from chewing them. Unplug lights when you're not around to supervise.
-Fake snow is toxic to cats and should not be used.
-Tinsel is very attractive to cats and may seem like a fun toy to them, but it has very sharp edges and can cause lacerations in the mouth, throat and intestines if swallowed. Don't use it as a toy or tree decoration.
-Installing a hook in the ceiling and securing the top of the tree to it with fishing line or wire is an easy way to keep the tree from falling over as a result of an overly rambunctious cat.
-To keep cats from climbing the tree fill a few empty soda cans with several pennies and tape them shut, then balance them on the lower tree branches. If the cat goes up the tree the soda cans should fall off, they will make a loud noise that startles the cat, and he should associate the resulting scare with the tree and stay away.
Putting large packages under the tree as close to the trunk as possible should also help to block access.
-When wrapping or opening presents, keep track of where the ribbon is! Ribbon is irresistible to cats, but swallowing it can result in intestinal damage or blockages.
-Mistletoe can be deadly. If you have cats around, don't hang the real stuff. There are very good fake versions you can purchase and use instead. Holly, Amaryllis, Lilies and Poinsettias should also be kept out of reach.
-Keep all burning candles safely out of reach. There have been too many incidents of cats walking by a lit candle on a table and having their whiskers or tail catch on fire. Burning candles can also be knocked over which could result in a fire.
Not only can regular potpourri be harmful, but simmering potpourri oil one uses in the home contains essential oils that are toxic to cats. Keep it out of reach, and keep bottles containing the oil wiped clean as there have been reports of cats rubbing against the bottle, licking the oil off of their fur and getting ill.
-Cats LOVE to play in bags, but if the bag has a handle make sure to cut it off. Cats that get their heads caught in the handle will panic, start running scared, and often get seriously injured in the process.
-If you are serving turkey or chicken, make sure to clean up plates right away and discard bones in a pet proof container. Cooked bones can break and splinter easily which can be very dangerous if swallowed by kitty.
-Chocolate is toxic to cats, so make sure to keep chocolate foods and candies out of reach and covered.
-According to veterinarians at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), when bread dough is ingested, an animal's body heat causes the dough to rise in the stomach.
As alcohol is produced during the rising process, the dough expands. Pets who've eaten bread dough may experience abdominal pain, bloat, vomiting, disorientation and depression. Alcohol toxicosis, caused by fermentation of the dough, is also a danger. An animal needs to eat only a small amount to cause a problem, because bread dough can rise to many times its size. Take care not to let Fluffy or Fido in the kitchen unsupervised when you're baking
WHEN COMPANY ARRIVES
-Sometimes the best thing you can do for kitty is to isolate them in a room with their litterbox and water while company is around. Many cats get upset by too much activity in the home, and providing a safe, quiet haven from the holiday hustle and bustle will do them a huge favor. This will also help prevent kitty from accidentally getting outside. While we cat people know to be careful to watch and make sure kitty doesn't slip outside when we are going in and out, others often are not so aware.
My cats and I hope you have wonderful and safe holiday season. May you and your furry loved ones have a very meowy Christmas and a happy new year!