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Tips for Keeping Your Cat Safe During the Holidays

With Christmas just around the corner, it becomes a mad rush of shopping, decorating, baking and all the other fun and hectic activities associated with the holiday season. Since there are so many changes that take place in the household during this time of year, take a few minutes to go over the checklist below to make sure your pet stays safe and happy.

The Tree

When you place a tree in the middle of your living room, your cat may think you have created the ultimate in environmental enrichment. Make sure the tree is secure and won’t topple over. If possible, leave the tree up undecorated for a day or two so your cat gets used to it before adding all those hard-to-resist ornaments.

If you’re having trouble keeping the tree from toppling over due to your cat’s insistence on climbing it, try using picture wire to secure the tree. If there’s a picture hanging behind the tree, remove the picture and attach the picture wire to the tree and then to the wall. After the holiday, when you take the tree down, no one will see the hole because the picture will be back in place.

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If you have a live tree, cover the water reservoir with netting or use Sticky Paws for Plants (available at pet supply stores and online) in a crisscross pattern across the opening. It’s important to prevent the cat from drinking the water in the reservoir. Water additives used to preserve tree life are toxic to cats.

Lights and Wires

To reduce the chance that your pet will chew on electrical wires, coat the wires with a bitter anti-chew substance before wrapping them around the tree. Make sure lights are secured around branches and not dangling in order to reduce temptation.

Ornaments

Dangling ornaments can be hard for a pet to resist. Don’t decorate the very bottom of the tree to reduce the temptation as a small pet walks by. Don’t use ornament hooks which can cause internal injury if chewed or swallowed. Instead, secure the ornaments with green twist ties so they’ll stay securely on the branches.

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Garland

It can be a choking hazard if your cat climbs the tree and gets caught up in the garland. Some cats may also try to chew on the garland.

Candles

Place candles well out of a cat’s reach and never leave a lighted candle unattended. To be safest, consider using the battery operated candles. These candles look as good as the real thing (with a realistic flicker) and are much safer.

Gifts and Wrapping

Avoid leaving gifts under the tree that have long ribbon tendrils or other decorations that your pet could chew.

Holly and Other Holiday Plants

Many holiday plants can cause vomiting and intestinal upset. If you’re decorating with live plants, make sure they’re well out of your pet’s reach. To be safest, use artificial plant decorations.

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Guests

With lots of people coming and going it can be easy for a small cat to slip out the front door. When you’re going to have lots of company, keep your cat in a room of her own so she’ll stay safe. This will also prevent her from getting stepped on accidentally or from becoming stressed by any unwanted attention or handling. If your cat isn’t used to all the extra noise, it will also be beneficial to have her safely tucked away in a separate room.

Holiday Food

Chocolate is toxic to cats. If you plan on placing chocolate candy or other chocolate food out for your guests, make sure your cat can’t gain access to it. The fatty, rich foods that are typically served during the holiday are also dangerous as they can cause intestinal upset. Other toxic foods typically found in holiday recipes such as garlic, onions, grapes, raisins and many spices are also dangerous for your cat to ingest. If your cat tends to be a food thief, keep her in a separate room while this food is being served. If your cat loves to socialize with guests make sure everyone is aware that kitty isn’t allowed to be fed any food from the table.

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