Cats cannot help themselves. If they can get themselves into trouble, they will. The holidays are full of new fun and exciting decorations, tasty treats and the stress of events and visitors. Their routines are knocked out of sorts and their environments are turned upside down. Because cats are creatures of habit and habitat the holiday season can be particularly hard on them. Here are five common cat Christmas hazards and how to avoid them.
1.) Foreign Bodies
Tinsel, ornaments, pieces of toys, string and foam are some of the foreign objects that we have recovered from our feline patients over previous holiday seasons. Whether it is holiday stressors that cause a condition called Pica (eating non-food objects) or it is because they like the way it feels in their mouth, cats will eat things they shouldn’t. Ingested foreign objects often cause symptoms of vomiting, lethargy and anorexia and is medically urgent. Be extra diligent in picking up edible sized objects and maybe consider going tinsel or garland free around the house. Pheromone therapy or antianxiety medication may also help if it is a behavioural problem.
2.) Stranger Danger
So, Uncle Pat is coming to stay in the guest bedroom. Next thing you know Fluffy is peeing on all of your clean laundry. Little did we know that the guest bedroom is where Fluffy usually goes to rest and unwind after a busy day of squirrel patrol. Without that quiet reprieve Fluffy has decided to take out his frustrations all over your crisp, clean whites. It is important to respect our feline friends living quarters and allow them a place to get away from it all. Pheromone therapy or antianxiety treatments started before a stressful situation may help curb these fluid outbursts.
3 .) Poisonous Plants
Poinsettia, holly and mistletoe are toxic to our cats. Signs of ingestion include drooling, vomiting, anorexia, stumbling, head shaking and diarrhea. Cats love to nibble on plants so best to avoid these in your home.
4.) Toxic Food
Chocolate is usually the primary toxin exposure during the holiday. Other risky foods include grapes or raisins, xylitol, macadamia nuts, garlic, onion, yeast bread doughs, poultry bones and beverages that contain alcohol. Make sure that foods containing these items are not accessible to your kitty.
5.) Risky Decorations
It can be a cat’s instinct to climb trees. They love high places to hide in and perch on which could cause a tree to come crashing down with them in it. Sometimes they can hurt themselves worse trying to escape the timbering Christmas tree. Festive lights can also cause an electrocution risk. Cats may nibble on twinkling lights causing an electric shock. The best way to see if your cat is going to bother your holiday décor is to set it up and observe them. If they are engaging in risky play it is best to take precautions to prevent a possible injury.
The holidays can be a tumultuous time for our kitties but with a few preparations and precautions it can also be very enjoyable.