Nala's Holiday Safety Guide
Happy Holiday, friends! It’s the best time of the year and I want to make sure we all have a wonderful time celebrating. So let’s first discuss how to stay safe!
Christmas trees are very enticing to cats like me. The twinkling lights, the shiny ornaments, the star at the top… But Christmas decorations can be very dangerous for cats. Glass ornaments can break and cut our delicate paws and if we swallow tinsel we can get an obstruction that requires surgery. YIKES!
To make sure your cat stays safe, try to deter them from playing near - or with - the tree and its adornments. Keep ornaments near the top half of the tree and leave the bottom branches bare to discourage any interaction.
Christmas lights can resemble a wand toy to cats and they may want to bat at or even chew them, mistakenly thinking it is a game. While this may seem adorable, it’s actually quite dangerous if a bulb breaks or they bite through the wire. Please do not allow your cat to play with strings of lights, especially with their mouths.
If your cat is really persistent with playing with the tree, you may have to keep them out of the room entirely.
The flicker of a candle can also be quite enticing to a curious cat like me so please be cautious when lighting your holiday candles or menorah. Cats can easily burn themselves or even accidentally start a fire if they’re trying to play with an unattended candle. OUCH!
As a responsible pet parent, I’m sure you know that plants and cats are usually not great combinations, especially since we like to knock things off the table - but some holiday plants are particularly toxic to cats. Poinsettia, winterberry, holly, lilies, and mistletoe are toxic and can make your cat nauseous. To prevent an emergency vet trip over the holidays, please be cautious about bringing new plants into your home. Safety first!
We cats love to eat, especially things we aren’t supposed to be eating! When company is over and things are hectic, it would be easy for a cat to sneak a bite or two of something that may make them sick. Discourage guests from feeding your cat any table scraps as cats have very sensitive tummies. Foods like onions, garlic, nuts, raisins, and dairy products are not healthy for cats to eat. And cats cannot taste sweet flavors so please don’t feed them any desserts containing chocolate, xylitol, or coffee. And while meat is appropriate for cats to eat, it is best they stick to cat food and not your Christmas ham.
Cats love a routine. When things change and there are new sights, smells, and sounds around, your cat may get overwhelmed. To keep the holidays fun for the entire family, make sure your cat feels safe and allow them at least one room that has not changed. If you can keep the holiday celebrations to one area of the home, especially if your cat is a bit of a scaredy cat, that would be ideal. Provide some cozy, quiet hideouts for your cat so they always have a safe space when things become all too much.
When guests come over, please remind them that you have a cat. Make sure they know to keep all doors and windows of the home closed so your cat can’t accidentally get out. Tell them of your cat’s personality and let them know if and when they like to be pet. Leave out your cat’s favorite toys and treats in case a friend wants to spend some time with them
And while the holidays are a very busy time of year, don’t forget to enjoy some quality time with your cat doing all of their favorite things. After all, they have been good ALL YEAR.
Have a happy holiday season!