The holiday season is upon us and it is the time of the year when you need to be doubly careful about the safety of your cat. Your cat needs to be protected from the cold and sundry other things that can hurt him or her during the festival season. Why the need for special care during this time of the year? The simple answer to this question is that there is a significant change in our regular routines as we go through the holiday season. Changes that can be upsetting to cats.
Cats are a curios mix – inquisitive, timid, independent and they are also small. It’s not for nothing that the phrase “Curiosity killed the cat” has been with us for so long.
Cats actually need to be cared for more than dogs during the holiday season because they are so small and quiet and can so easily disappear from our eyesight. Ever heard of the fire brigade coming to rescue a frazzled dog that can’t climb down from a tree? Nope. Besides, dogs are usually bigger with stronger metabolism. For example, chocolate is extremely dangerous for both animals but can easily be lethal for cats even in smaller doses because of their size.
Cats are great climbers and usually have full run of the house and remember they are curious; which means they are going to explore Christmas decorations and the Christmas tree and all the treats you leave out on tables. If you have a real Christmas tree in the front garden, make sure it is well-watered so that the pine leaves do not dry out and fall. These sharp leaves can puncture the internal organs if ingested, they are also poisonous. A fake tree is a better option in a cat home; it is more manageable as it can be moved. Ensure that it is firmly grounded; avoid placing it close to furniture and shelves so that it does not topple over should your cat decide to explore it closely or try to climb to the top.
Loose and detachable decorative items are perhaps the biggest worry. Confetti, tinsel, ribbons, wraps, and other such decorative stuff should be securely anchored to the Christmas tree, preferably at the top. Electric wiring is a hazard; keep lights on only when required. Apply a cat repellent to prevent your curious feline from getting too close to the lights. Check decorative stuff for their potential toxicity if ingested by your cat, for example artificial snow is toxic, don’t use it.
Cats are vulnerable to a surprising number of hazards in our yards and gardens, from antifreeze and weed killers to a wide variety of plants, there are many poisonous things that cat owners need to educate themselves on. Holly and mistletoe are popular Christmas favorites and unfortunately toxic for cats.
Of the different food items that do the rounds during the holiday season, chocolate is a well-known toxin for cats. It’s the the obromine and caffeine that hurt the animal. If you think the animal has ingested chocolate and it shows signs of restlessness and vomits then take your cat to a vet ASAP, do not wait.
Each member of the family should keep an eye open for potentially hazardous loose stuff and harmful food items within reach of the cat and clean up such things.
Consider placing your cat with pet-sitters for a few days if you feel that will keep the animal out of harm’s way and let you enjoy Christmas that much more freely, or keep kitty in a back bedroom away from the noise and busy feet.