Shamrocks, parades, pots o’ gold, green beer—St. Patrick’s Day is a great way to welcome spring and celebrate one of Ireland’s most revered saints.
But there are a few hazards all cat owners should keep in mind before heading out to their St. Paddy’s Day festivities—and we aren’t just talking about leprechauns.
Make sure you keep your cat safe on St. Patrick’s Day with these tips!
Keep The Corned Beef And Salty, Fatty Food Out Of Reach
Sure, you and the rest of the fam might be saying, “Erin go Bragh!” over a heaping plate of corned beef and cabbage this St. Patrick’s Day, but your cat probably shouldn’t indulge in that same tasty meal.
Corned beef is essentially beef brisket that is soaked in a special salt and vinegar pickling brine before it’s cooked in a seasoned broth. Because of that special curing process, corned beef is extremely high in sodium.
While a little bit of salt likely won’t harm your kitty—depending on your cat’s size and health history—eating too much salty food in one sitting can cause sodium ion poisoning.
According to the Pet Poison Helpline, salt toxicity can be life threatening to dogs, cats, horses, cows, and birds. Eating too much salt may result in vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, excessive thirst or urination, increased fluid retention, kidney damage, seizures, coma, or even death.
The broth used to cook corned beef also contains quite a bit of garlic, and many people cook the beef and cabbage with boiled onions. While those ingredients might infuse the meat with a lot of flavor, garlic and onions can be poisonous to both dogs and cats.
Garlic, onions, chives, and leeks are members of the Allium plant family, which, if ingested by a dog or cat in a high enough amount, can cause nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and an elevated heart rate and respiratory rate. Cats and Japanese breeds of dogs–such as the Shiba Inu and Akita–are especially sensitive to garlic and onion toxicity.
Finally, corned beef is quite high in fat compared what your pet is likely used to eating, so sharing your St. Paddy’s Day dinner with your four-legged friend could give them some serious stomach issues. Foods high in fat can cause bacterial overgrowth in your pet’s digestive system, which often results in diarrhea and vomiting.
But frequent feeding of fatty foods like corned beef can also cause a more serious condition called pancreatitis, a mild to severe swelling of the pancreas. Pets suffering from pancreatitis often require hospitalization, long-term medication, and diet restrictions.
Avoid Letting Your Cat Eat Soda Bread Or Uncooked Dough
Soda bread is a common St. Patrick’s Day treat for humans, but keep that mouthwatering loaf away from your kitty.
If you’ve decided to spend your St. Paddy’s Day baking your own tasty soda bread in the kitchen instead of hunting for four-leaf clovers in your backyard, make sure you keep that uncooked bread dough out of your cat’s reach.
When a pet eats bread dough, the dough doesn’t just sit there in the animal’s stomach—it expands. As the ball of eaten dough gets bigger and bigger, it can result in a bloated stomach or even a life-threatening condition called gastric-dilatation volvulus (GDV), where the pet’s stomach twists and cuts off blood supply to vital organs.
A loaf of soda bread also contains raisins or dried currants, which are poisonous to dogs and, in some reports, cats and even ferrets. Eating even a few of these varieties of dried grapes has the potential to cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, dehydration, and, in the worst cases of toxicity, acute renal failure.
Do NOT Let Kitty Sip Guinness—Or Any Alcohol
St. Patrick’s Day revelers are often in high-spirits thanks, at least in part, to spirits of another kind. Alcohol consumption and St. Paddy’s Day go hand-in-hand for many people, but pets and booze do not mix.
Pets who swill the same whiskey, beer, and other alcoholic beverages as their owners this St. Paddy’s Day are at risk of some serious health issues, and may even die as a result of consuming alcohol.
Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in pets include excessive drooling, vomiting, gagging, signs of depression, lack of coordination or stumbling, distended stomach, seizures, sudden dips in blood glucose levels, and slowed reflexes.
Hops, one of the main ingredients in beer, can prove toxic to dogs and cats alike. Ingesting enough hops can cause elevated body temperature, a racing heartbeat, vomiting, increased respiratory rate, abnormal blood clotting, and in the most severe cases, even death. Small animals like cats are extremely susceptible to this.
If there will be open alcohol at your celebration, put your cat away in a safe, quiet room until the party is over and you’ve had a chance to clean up.
Keep Your Cat Away From The Humans Who Drink, Too
Let’s face it. People are not well-coordinated after a few drinks, and some of them feel a little more affectionate with some liquid courage in their bellies. That can be a recipe for disaster when pets are involved.
Your guests and friends might want to give your kitty all the pets in their inebriated state. But again, it’s probably best to let your cat stay in a safe room away from the action. You never know if a well-meaning, clumsy party-goer will accidentally cause harm. Someone might trip over your furry family member and injure them. No one wants that.
Put kitty away with some water and nice music playing, and let them relax. This is a holiday mostly for humans anyway. Your cat won’t be missing out on anything.
Now that you know the facts, have a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day! Luck o’ the Irish to you!
Do you have any tips for keeping cats safe on St. Patrick’s Day? Let us know in the comments below!