Most of us tend to share wonderful moments with our loved ones during the holiday season, but this usually means hectic gatherings or celebrations that can present dangers to our furry friends.
Cats, by nature, are intrigued by new scents, noises, and sights of the season; however, many of these are not pet-friendly and can send your kitty to the emergency room.
Here are some helpful tips for keeping your cat safe over the holidays!
Make sure to know where the closest 24/7 animal hospital is located and how to get there.
Ask your regular vet where you should take your kitty and prepare your route. It's smart to keep a list of medical contacts on both your phone and your home.
Remember to register your kitty with the local Animal Services.
Keeping your feline buddy's microchip updated and registered will also increase the possibility of reuniting with them with you if they happen to get lost.
FOOD DANGERS DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON
Allowing your cat to eat rich holiday foods meant for humans is not a good idea! Pick up some special treats made just for them if you decide to share the holiday celebration with your pet. If you're taking your cat on a trip, bring their regular food and/or confirm it's available at your final destination. Unexpected dietary changes can upset their stomach.
Here are some foods you should definitely not give your kitty during the holidays:
Chocolate. Chocolate is poisonous to cats; the toxicity level varies depending on the kind (in general, the darker the chocolate, the worse it is for pets), the amount ingested, and the size of the pet.
Alcohol. Animals are unable to digest alcohol as humans do. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hypothermia (low temperature), and hypotension (low blood pressure) are all symptoms of alcohol poisoning, and if not addressed, they can become life-threatening. The yeast from fermented alcoholic beverages also causes bloating.
Sweets. Sugar itself can contribute to diabetes and obesity in cats. Also, some sweets can include an artificial sweetener known as xylitol, which can be lethal for cats and dogs.
Nuts. Nuts like almonds, pecans, and walnuts can irritate a cat's stomach and potentially lead to pancreatitis.
Scraps. Because we consume more rich meals around the holidays, our table scraps may include too many fatty, poisonous, and hard-to-digest ingredients. In our pets, this can result in a variety of symptoms ranging from mild upset stomach to pancreatitis to full-blown poisoning. It's best to not feed them any scraps at all!
If you want to share the holiday feasting with your furry friend, you can prepare a turkey meal for them (without the skin), as well as fruits and vegetables such as bananas, apples, and carrots.
CAT PROOFING YOUR HOLIDAY DECORATIONS
Just like all the novel meals, the holiday décor can attract your cat's curiosity. If parents don't take care to pet-proof these very appealing ornaments, your kitty cat may end up at the vet.
Trees. Christmas trees fascinate our feline friends, keep your tree affixed to the ceiling or a wall to avoid them tilting or toppling over, which might harm your kitty. Also, live trees may be treated with additives, so ensure access to the tree's base is impossible for your cat.
Plants. A variety of festive plants and flowers are poisonous to your cat. Nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal issues have been linked to mistletoe, amaryllis, and holly. Poinsettias are less poisonous, but depending on how much a kitty ingests, they still create problems. You have the choice of just using artificial plants that your cat will not like or pet-safe flowers and plants.
Ornaments. Many Christmas decorations are fragile, while others kind of look like chew toys to kitties; all of these pose a serious risk of harm to your cat. Keep them securely attached and out of reach.
String Lights and Cords. Cats are curious about anything you put in their vicinity and territory, so don't put string lights on the bottom part of your tree where they might get tangled in the cables. Because some cats also like chewing on wires and cords, it's wise to tape them to the floor or hide them behind furniture.
Fireplaces and Candles. Never leave your cat alone near a candle or a fireplace! Cats like bright lights and fast-moving objects, which might lead to accidents. Always keep candles out of reach and cover fireplaces with a screen.
CAT SAFETY WHEN HOSTING HOLIDAY GUESTS
The holiday chaos affects even the most friendly of cats, they become uneasy in the company of all the guests.
Give them a Room. Provide your kitty with a private room where they can go if they want to get away from the commotion. Bring along their litter box, toys, bowls, and their favourite blanket or bed.
Other Pets. It is not a good idea to bring in new pets during this time of the year. If you can't avoid it, make ample time to accustom the pets to one another, supervise their interactions, and keep an eye on their behaviour.
Keep an eye on the available exits. Any cat will have plenty of opportunities to go out the doors and get lost in the middle of the holiday bustle.
To summarize, keeping a routine around your kitty is the safest option. Don’t change their diet, don’t let them play with any decorations as toys, just give them lots of love and attention.
We hope these safety tips help you have a lovely holiday season!
If you believe your cat has consumed or had access to something they shouldn’t have, or if they’re showing any discomfort, behavioural changes, or symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, contact your veterinarian immediately.
This article provides a summary view of some aspects you need to know about pets and how to protect them during the holidays. We recommend you take the time to talk in detail with one of our licensed veterinarians. They will provide the best suggestions and strategies for your pet. For an appointment please contact us at (416) 351-1212.