This is also the time of year where when hear about so many unnecessary problems with pets that end up at the vet because they got themselves into trouble.
The holidays is a time of year where everything in the house changes. Decorations, excitement from kids, family and friends in the house and generally a different atmosphere than normal. All of this can cause a lot of stress in cats and kittens and can get them in trouble. So here are tips and tricks to keep your furry friend safe during the holidays.
THE TREE: Most people have a tree in their house during the holidays. Your cat will think you have just given them the best cat perch ever along with shiny toys and bells to bat at. Cats love heights and tree attraction is natural for a cat, so the odds they will climb in it, all the way to the top and knock the entire thing down is fairly big.
1: Leave your tree up a few days without decorations for your cat to get used to it before adding all the irresistible shiny objects.
2: Secure your tree with picture wire. If your tree is close to a picture frame on the wall, take the frame down and use the hook to secure the tree so it won't top over.
3: Use shatter proof ornaments especially on the bottom of the tree. They will come down, and if it shatters in a thousands pieces your cat will think it just magically gained a thousand toys and end up hurt.
4: If you get a real tree, make sure the water is clean! If a cat drinks from the bottom of the tree base and it has fertilizer in it, you will end up at the vet.
5: Most cats are put off by citrus scents. Use some natural essential oil and mix it with water and spray it on your tree to make it unattractive for your cat to climb in it.
6: Give your cat a few plain shatterproof ornaments to play with. I put mine on the floor under the tree and the next morning they are usually on the other side of the house. Might as well make it easier for them to get what they want right?
PLANTS: Poinsettia, holly, mistletoe, you name it and it's poisonous for cats. I have a few that chew on plants, others won't but they will lick or claw at it and then later lick their paws. Consider using silk or plastic plants for the holidays!
LIGHTS AND WIRES: Oh boy, blinking lights to chase and lots of wires to chew up! Get yourself some natural bitter anti chew like bitter apple and coat the wires with it, so cats will leave them alone. Make sure you secure lights to the branches and dangling lights are a temptation for cats to jump at.
CANDLES: I speak from experience here! Cats like to sniff and paw things when they are exploring which can results in very painful singed whiskers and paws. Keep them away from candles! Use battery operated candles instead to keep your cat from having to walk around without whiskers for weeks. Candles are a fire hazard as well should your dear fluff ball decide to knock over the menorah. And speaking of fire, keep that screen in front of the fireplace at all times. You want great scents for the holidays? Use safe essential oils and a diffuser!
ORNAMENTS AND GIFTS: Like mentioned previously, use shatterproof ornaments and give your kitty a few plain ones (without the glitter on it) to play with, so ripping them out of the tree becomes less attractive because you already gave them what they want. Don't use ornament hooks, but rather green twisties so they will stay securely on the branches. Avoid leaving gifts under the tree that have long ribbon tendrils or other decorations that your cat could chew. Stay away from using tinsel or angel hair. It's easy to chew on and ingest and will cause choking or major blockage in your cat.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS: Usually the holidays is a time of year that you get many guests in the house, possibly young children. Give your cat their own room for that time. That way they cannot accidentally slip out the door or get stepped on, nor does your cat have to deal with the stress of unwanted handling and having so many noisy strangers in the house. keep them safely tucked away in their own room is the most beneficial thing to do for them.
FOOD: Cats are food thieves, but lots of food is highly toxic to cats, like chocolate. Make sure you don't leave any food out in the open and if you do have it out in the open, make sure someone is watching at all times. Don't let them stick your nose in your alcoholic cocktails either. Some people think it's funny to let their cat drink alcohol but it is very dangerous and in many cases, fatal. The best thing to do is keep your cat in their own separate room when food is being served.
STRESS: Watch for stress! Don't get so caught up in the holidays that you forget about your cat. Again, have their own room ready where they can retreat so they don't get into trouble. This way you will avoid them chewing on things and ingest things they shouldn't. They can stay away from loud guests and unwanted attention and be safe and calm in their own space.
I hope you will consider these things as you prepare for the holidays!