Using String, Ribbon, and Tinsel? Not for Holiday Cat Safety!
Cats can be pretty awesome during the holidays. Sure, they probably won’t wear the matching ugly Christmas sweater you knitted for them, but they might allow you to wrap presents while napping on top of the festive paper or attacking your scissors – if you’re lucky. Indeed, many cats like the lights, sparkles, and revelry as much as we do, but that doesn’t mean holiday cat safety can be set aside due to joyful pouncing.
Long, Dangly Things
Cats love long, dangly objects that seem to dance in the wind. They enjoy the play of light that reflects off of tinsel, for example, and they tune into their predatory instincts to swat, wrestle, and bite at it. The truth is that tinsel, ribbon, string, and similar decorative items can be accidentally ingested by your beloved feline– and that’s where the real problems begin.
Choking is a risk, but it’s more common for tinsel to cause painful, dangerous gastrointestinal obstruction when swallowed. While preventable, digital imaging and surgery are often necessary to remove foreign bodies from the stomach or intestines.
The Christmas tree is likely a point of focus for your cat. They may feel inspired to climb it, jump off of it, bat at it’s ornaments, or drink from the tree stand. All of these actions are not ideal and can be downright hazardous. Keep the following cat safety tips in mind:
- Anchor the tree to the ceiling or a wall to prevent it from falling over
- Cover the tree stand so your cat cannot drink chemical-laden water
- Pick up any fallen pine needles so your cat doesn’t ingest them or step on them
- Keep fragile ornaments off the bottom third of the tree
- Clean up broken ornaments right away, as glass or ceramic can cut your cat’s paws (or worse, if ingested)
- It’s best to store edible garland and wrapped food gifts out of your cat’s reach
- Light strings should always be up and off the floor to prevent entaglement
Other Holiday Cat Safety Measures
To keep your cat as safe and comfortable as possible during the holiday festivities, do your best to limit their exposure to the following:
- Lit candles (a fire hazard that can easily burn whiskers or paws)
- Oil potpourri
- Snow globes (some contain antifreeze)
- Alcohol, chocolate, xylitol, macadamia nuts, and other rich, fatty foods
A Place of Their Own
One of the best things you can do for holiday cat safety is to provide a secure, warm, and comforting place for your cat to relax. If crate trained, your cat may enjoy spending some time cuddled up in there. Otherwise, invite your cat to a back bedroom where you have lots of warm blankets, pillows, water, food, and toys to keep them entertained while you have company.
Please update your cat’s microchip if needed, and keep them looking fresh and festive with a new collar and visible ID tags.
Another threat to holiday cat safety is waiting too long to seek emergency veterinary care when you see or sense something is off with your cat. Please don’t hesitate to call us if you notice anything strange. Our veterinarians and staff are always here to help. We hope you and your cat have a lovely holiday together!