The holiday season is generally jam-packed with parties, dinners, and get-togethers. However, all of these lovely moments for family and friends can be dangerous for our kitty companions.
Remember, cats are drawn to novel sights, smells, and noises; but many of the season’s most common elements are not feline-friendly and may end up causing a trip to the vet.
Here are some tips for keeping your cat safe throughout the holiday season!
You should know how to get to the nearest 24/7 emergency hospital and have their contact information close at hand if needed. Consult your usual vet about where you should transfer your pet if necessary and map out your path. It’s a good idea to have a list of veterinary medical contacts on your phone and at home.
Microchips and ID tags.
Make sure your cat is properly identified and also registered with your local Animal Services department. Keeping your cat’s microchip up to date and included in the databases can greatly increase the possibility of reuniting your kitty with you and your family if they suddenly wander off during the holiday bustle.
HOLIDAY FOOD HAZARDS TO AVOID
Do not allow your kitty to consume rich holiday dishes made for humans! If you want to share the holiday dining with them, pick up some unique snacks prepared just for them. If you’re travelling with your cat, make sure you pack their normal food and/or check to see if it’s available where you’re going. Sudden diet changes might upset their stomach, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea.
Here are some specific holiday foods that you should avoid giving your pet:
People tend to use chocolate extensively in holiday dishes and sweets, but this ingredient is poisonous to cats. The toxicity of chocolate varies depending on the kind (the darker the chocolate, the worse it is for pets), the amount ingested, and the size of the pet.
Animals are unable to digest alcohol in the same manner that 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 alcoholic beverages can also ferment in the intestines causing bloating.
Sugar contributes to obesity and the onset of diabetes in pets. Added to this, some sweets contain an artificial sweetener, xylitol, which is harmless for humans but very bad for cats and dogs.
The oils present in most nuts can cause stomach upset and even pancreatitis.
We usually eat richer foods during the holidays, this means our table scraps may contain too many fatty, toxic, and difficult-to-digest ingredients for our kitties. This can cause anything from moderate gastrointestinal distress to pancreatitis to full-blown food poisoning. The safest bet is to not feed them scraps at all!
If you want your kitty to partake in the holiday feasting, you can make some turkey specifically for them (without skin), you can also give them fruits or vegetables like bananas, apples and carrots.
MAKE YOUR HOLIDAY DECOR CAT-FRIENDLY
Likewise, new decorations around the house for the holiday season provide new aromas, colours, and noises that will spark your cat’s interest. These can also result in a trip to the vet if pet parents don’t take care to pet-proof the alluring ornaments.
These are some of the most prevalent decorations to avoid:
Christmas trees pique the interest of cats. To avoid your cat getting injured by falling trees, keep your tree well anchored, either to the roof or wall. Also, live Christmas trees are sometimes treated with preservatives, so make sure to block access to the tree’s base and any liquid that may be there.
Cords and String Lights.
Cats like to investigate every new thing you place in their territory; you want to avoid placing string lights close to the bottom part of your tree where a kitty could get tangled in them. Some cats also enjoy chewing on things, so tape wiring and cords to the floor/wall or hide them under furniture.
Many Christmas ornaments and baubles are fragile, while others can look like chew toys to pets. All of these pose a serious risk of harm to your cat. Firmly attach any hanging decorations and keep them out of reach of your kitty.
Candles and Fireplaces.
Never leave a cat alone near lit candles or fireplaces; lights and moving objects might attract cats, resulting in mishaps. Candles should be kept out of reach at all times, and fireplaces should be protected with a screen.
Mistletoe, amaryllis, and holly are all known to cause nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal problems. Poinsettias have a lesser degree of toxicity, but depending on the amount consumed, they might still cause issues. You have the option of using synthetic plants that your cat will not find appealing or using pet-safe flowers.
SAFETY TIPS FOR HOSTING
The bustle of holiday celebrations affects even the most sociable cats, making them uncomfortable in the presence of so many guests.
Designate a cat room.
Provide them with a private space where they may escape when they want to be alone; bring their litter box, toys, water and food bowls, as well as their favourite blanket or bed.
The holidays are not the time to bring in new pets to the home, permanent or temporary. If you can’t prevent it, make enough time to acclimate the pets to one another, monitor their interactions, and keep an eye on their behaviour.
Watch out for all exits.
Whether your cat is social or not, with so many people coming and going around the holidays, they’ll have lots of opportunities to escape and possibly get lost.
To sum up, your safest choice is to maintain a routine around your pets. Stick to the same diet, let them play with their usual toys, and shower them with love and attention.
We hope this advice helps you have a safe and wonderful festive season!
Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your kitty has ingested or had access to anything they shouldn’t have; if they’re displaying any discomfort, behavioural changes, or present any symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea.
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 416-362-9696 or click the button below.