HO! HO! HO! That MERRY time of CHRISTMAS!! is fast approaching…
It’s at this time of year we remind our feline caretakers of the unfortunate and potentially cat-dangerous hazards that can turn this joyous time of year into a very serious and sometimes heart-wrenching time of year if we don’t take a few minutes to prepare.
It’s seems like yesterday that we received a very sad call from one of our lovely clients to say they had returned home to find their beloved kitty had in fact hung himself in the Christmas tree lights. A very sad Christmas indeed….
So maybe a good place to start is with the tree.
YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE
Your pride and joy in the corner…however, to your cat it’s the biggest cat toy they have ever seen! Thanks Mum and Dad for the new present!! Except this toy didn’t pass through any of the child safety tests let alone kitty safety tests!! What are the hazards, you ask- righto! Let’s list them.
TINSEL, ORNAMENTS & EVEN THE TREE ITSELF
Sharp pieces of plastic or metal are not so ‘intestine friendly’ and could require a trip to the vet and even an expensive and life threatening surgery if bits and pieces aren’t able to pass through, or have perforated intestines or bowel. Check your tree and decorations regularly as well as your cat’s bowel motions if you suspect your cat has been chewing to see if they are passing through. If you find blood in their motions or diarrhea or even NO bowel motions, especially if your cat seems unwell or off their food, could require a trip to the vet to check all is well.
*Sidenote: If you are using a natural Pine Christmas tree, please also be aware these are toxic to cats if they chew them – also the sharp pine needles can cause serious internal injury in some cases. Other toxic plants include Poinsettias, Holly and mistletoe. So bah-humbug to the Christmas plants for cats!
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS & ELECTRICAL ITEMS
Beware of the cord chewer!!! Many of these items plug straight into 240V of electricity and have that lovely soft plastic, so tempting to chew. Make sure your cords are unplugged when you are not around to supervise your Cat or especially watch your Teething Kitten.
*And remember the ability to get tangled, strung up or hung as we alerted you to earlier is a very real risk. A few hours of circulation being cut off to a limb while you’re out doing the Christmas shopping can be enough to also be life threatening with potential amputation of the affected limb.
With so much food out and around for your guests at Christmas beware of what your cat could inadvertently steal or chew on. Chocolate contains Caffeine as well as Theobromine which is toxic to cats – so no tempting your feline with chocolate! Dark chocolate contains significantly higher levels and is to be especially avoided. Xylitol, and very common artificial sweetener is also no sweet treat at all. Deathly toxic in extremely small quantities, make sure your ‘healthier’ options for a reduced calorie Christmas is not part of your sneaky treats for Puss.
Aluminium foil covered leftovers in the bin, or on benches can also prove hazardous as often the ‘treat’ inside will have your kitty bite right through the foil ingesting it in the process. Again, this is not intestine friendly or digestible and depending on how much they eat, can actually cause intestinal blockage. Watch for signs of constipation or no bowel movements or again, blood in the motions. It they stop eating or vomit repeatedly, seek veterinary assistance straight away.
Never feed cooked Turkey or chicken BONES as these too do not digest and are particularly sharp. Also NEVER feed ham or bacon as the nitrites and sulphites used to cure the ham can do severe damage to your cat’s kidneys and potentially send them into renal failure. Ham fat in high quantities can also lead to pancreatitis, both are life threatening conditions. Seek veterinary attention immediately if your cat has ‘found’ the ham or cooked bones by mistake.
YES! You can feed small quantities of cooked breast/leg meat as a special treat if they like it as a Christmas treat. Also ok are potato, sweetpotato, carrots, peas (not many will eat peas) and other cooked vegies.
Ribbons and bows can be lots of fun, but beware of sharp ‘paper cut’ injuries to eyes and also are not intestine friendly if chewed or swallowed. A piece of ribbon can ‘gather’ up your cat’s intestines as it tries to move through and cause what is called an ‘intussusception’ which effectively telescopes the intestines inside itself – again this is life threatening and needs veterinary attention immediately which is generally surgical intervention.
No…We’re not finished yet.
A known hazard to cats! Make sure you have a quiet space your cat can retreat to as their safety zone otherwise ‘stressed cat’ behavior such as urine spraying, inappropriate toileting and bad manners such as hissing and striking your guests may occur. Some of your guests may not like cats or not treat them as you would and ‘discipline’ your cat which can only lead to further problems. To avoid conflict and Christmas arguments, best not to put non-cat people in the same space as your precious feline friend. Make sure they have a spot under the bed, a cupboard or up high they can get away from the action if they choose.
Can be another issue if you are going to be leaving your cat at home over the heat of the day. Most cats can find a cool spot by pure instinct, but in some cases and in some houses this is unavoidable. Even if you put them outside, ensure they have plenty of water, shade and sufficient weather protection to endure the 30+ temperatures. If you return to find your cat drooling, staggering or passed out, seek veterinary attention immediately. Heat stroke is life threatening.
The same goes for car travel.
Ensure their carry crate is well ventilated & not packed tight with presents and bags around to block ventilation, and ensure it’s out of the sun. Frequent water stops are recommended if travelling for long periods of time.
Thinking you’ll just cancel Christmas??? Well here’s the last little bit for you that if you can get through all of the above, will put a smile on your face and a purr in your puddy-tat’s chest.
THE BIG YES’s
Yes! Give your cat lots of cuddles on Christmas Day!
Yes! Santa comes to cats too. Presents are always appreciated – just make sure they are cat friendly and can’t cause more misadventure than fun.
Yes! Turkey, Chicken and vegies are perfectly fine in small quantities! (no bones).
Yes! Have a wonderful cat friendly Christmas! They will enjoy the activity, the happy atmosphere and the extra attention.
From every one at Cat’s Meow Cattery – have a wonderful cat-safe Christmas!