Categories : Cat Health
We all know that Christmas is an extremely busy period for shop owners, but it’s also a hectic time for vets. All the things that contribute to making our Christmas so special - such as the beautiful decorations and sumptuous meals - are a also a potential source of danger for our pets, and particularly cats. Here’s a reminder of all the items that may endanger your cat and our advice on how to avoid any accidents.
During the Christmas period, cats are also more at risk of suffering poisoning. They may be tempted to lick the artificial snow used to decorate your windows or your Christmas tree (again, be careful not to leave it within reach) or to nibble certain plants. Poinsettias with their pretty red leaves are often offered as presents at Christmas, but they are slightly toxic for cats.
That’s nothing compared to holly berries or mistletoe though, which are truly poisonous. Christmas meal leftovers, which are often left on the table in the living room or kitchen, can also be a source of danger for your cat. The worst is chocolate, a particularly toxic food for cats. Be careful not to leave the truffles brought by your aunt lying around, or the piece of roulade that your guests didn’t manage to finish. Even if they are less dangerous, make sure your cat can’t get at anyone’s glass of alcohol or any food that would be far too rich for them (salmon or pâté, for example).
Your Christmas tree is the number one danger for your cat at this time of year. Put yourself in their shoes: to them it’s a giant scratching post/toy that’s hard to resist. But it presents a number of risks: they can knock the tree over and get trapped, strangle themselves with the tinsel, swallow the decorations or injure themselves with them, electrocute themselves by chewing the cable for the lights, or swallow the needles of the tree which can be toxic.
But rest assured, if you have one or more cats at home, you don't have to abandon the idea of having a Christmas tree altogether (that would be too depressing!); you will have to make it safe though. First, make sure it’s stable. Ensure that the base is sufficiently heavy or attach the tree to something. Then, hang the decorations out of your cat’s reach and avoid any glass balls, which can break and create sharp shards or splinters that your cat can swallow. You will also need to secure the electric lights (with tape, for example). Lastly, you can sprinkle your tree with pepper water or place some orange peel at the bottom to try to keep your cat away.
Once the Christmas meal has been eaten (and cleared away), you’ll need to be careful of your gifts, particularly once they have been unwrapped. This is when your cat will be most at risk. They’re likely to swallow bits of wrapping paper - the ink can be toxic – but they can also eat bits of ribbon that can cause a blockage in their stomach.
In a nutshell, Christmas can be a dangerous time so you’ll need to be extra vigilant! Make sure nothing is left lying around. Otherwise your cat can get into big trouble as soon as your back is turned. If you want to enjoy the company of your family and friends without having to watch over puss, why not set up a room where your cat can remain safe from harm during the Christmas meal. That way, you can put your mind at ease!