The holidays are the perfect time to snuggle indoors and spend time with family members and pets, but did you know these are also one of the most dangerous times for cats? Some of the biggest dangers for felines during the festive seasons include intoxication (from foods such as chocolate, pudding, and grapes), digestive trouble from toxic plants, and even damage to paws from walking in the snow. In this post we highlight a few ways you can ensure your cat stays safe and sound during one of the most wondrous times of the year.
Avoid Feeding Your Cat Leftovers
We all know by now that chocolate can be toxic to cats, but did you know that mince pies (which contain sultanas and raisins), stuffing (which can have plenty of onion, garlic and other sulphurous plants) and nuts such as pistachio and macadamia (which can cause lethargy, tremors and lameness) are also harmful to cats? Even xylitol, a common ingredient in sugar-free gum, can damage your cat’s liver so make sure that Christmas indulgence is only partaken in by the humans in the family. If your cat has health issues and is on treatment, follow the advice of your veterinarian or specialist if a special diet is recommended.
Keep your Cat Safe in the Snow
If you live in a snowy or cold area, don’t leave your cat outside for long without supervision, since snow trapped between the toes of his paws can damage vulnerable skin and sometimes even cost frostbite. Be very careful of antifreeze, which is found on most driveways and which has a tempting, sweet taste for cats and dogs. Cats should always have the option to be inside, since cold temperatures can result in hypothermia, an emergency situation in which the body temperature, heart rate and other activities drop dramatically and can result in death.
Avoid Toxic Plants in the House or Garden
Poinsettia is a beautiful, scarlet-hued plant that symbolizes the festive season. However, it can cause irritation to your cat’s mouth and sometimes lead to vomiting. Holly, mistletoe and even pine needles can also be harmful to pets. Avoid these and all other plants on the ASPCA’s list of poisonous plants.
Take Precautions Against Fireworks Anxiety
Cats and dogs can suffer greatly when fireworks explode, and the worst thing for pooches is that these light displays can go on for hours. Try to find a nice, dark quiet space for them on nights such as New Year’s Eve. Place a crate there, but leave the door open, so your pet can feel safe but leave if she wants to. Cover the crate with a blanket for soothing darkness. If your cat is old or fighting a health condition that can be exacerbated by stress, consider allowing her to stay overnight at a friend or family member’s home, if they live in a quieter area where fireworks won’t be seen or heard.
There is no reason why your cat can’t enjoy the best of the festive season with you. Show him you love him by taking long walks, playing, and giving him lots of cuddles, but make sure that his feeding is as normal, and that potential toxins and irritants are kept far away from his reach.