FloridaWild Vet Hospital

Keeping Kitties safe ensures a Joyous Catmas

Catmas is an exciting time of the year for kitty guardians. With this auspicious holiday just a few weeks away which is heralded in by those mysterious, tantalizing beautifully wrapped packages arriving at the front door. No self-respecting cat would even dream of missing the opportunity of sniffing each and every one of them since their priority is making sure that their share of the holiday bounty has reached its intended destination.

Over the past several months, our two fabulous felines, Aki and Edgar Allen Poe have been on their best behavior. Although they haven’t been perfect, I have to give them credit for doing their best to convince Sir Santa Mouse they are worthy of his rewards. Both cats have been eagerly looking forward a bunch of fabulous gifts, such as a new cat tree, their favorite catnip brand, a plush kitty bed and a box of little furry mice toys stuffed with catnip. They can hardly wait until “Catmas” morning when it’s time to pounce on their packages, tearing open their gifts that are so beautifully wrapped. Of course that’s just another perk of being a cat.

Although they are anticipating a joy-filled day, at the same time they both are keenly aware that Catmas is also one of the most dangerous times of the year for kitties. Aki and Edgar Allen Poe are greatly concerned that all cats will be kept safe and secure so they decided to offer kitty guardians a few tried and true Catmas Holiday safety tips.

Decorating Tips:
A “Catmas” tree all decked out with alluring, shiny ornaments can be extremely tempting for curious kitties to climb on. Be sure the tree is securely anchored to prevent it from tipping over. Tying the tree into a corner wall with a small Molly bolt works well,
Tinsel is tempting to cats as play toys; however it’s extremely dangerous for them. If ingested, tinsel can cause a gastrointestinal blockage, needing emergency surgery. Simple solution: To keep your kitties safe, avoid using tinsel for any holiday decorations.

Cats are attracted magnetically to packages wrapped up with thin, curly paper ribbons and bows. These package decorations are dangerous and should be avoided. Instead, decorate packages using wide, cloth ribbons. Since most cats don’t like flat aluminum foil, using it as package wrapping is a safe alternative. Additionally, newspaper and/or plain brown wrapping paper make excellent substitutes. What’s more, it’s recyclable making it environmentally friendly.

Catmas Trees and Gift Wrapping Suggestions:
Be extra careful with needles on real or artificial trees as they are dangerous for cats. Real tree needles contain pine oil which, if ingested can cause gastric upset, difficulty breathing and lack of coordination. All needles are sharp and can puncture a cat’s eye or if swallowed puncture the intestine. Spray the branches with a mixture of cayenne pepper and water to deter kitty from nibbling on them.
While Poinsettia plants aren’t toxic for cats, keep poinsettia plants out of kitties reach as they may cause an upset tummy. On the other paw, Mistletoe, Holly berries and Lilies are highly toxic to cats and if ingested can be fatal. Instead, to be safe, substitute these plants with plastic replicas in your decorations.

Eats and treats:
Although sharing tidbits of plain, unseasoned turkey and roast beef is safe, too much of a good thing can cause digestive upsets. Cooked bones are always off limits to all pets since cooked bones splinter easily and can get stuck in the pet’s throat and/or puncture the stomach or intestine.

Keep onions away from kitty since they are potentially lethal to cats. Onions contain disulfides and thiosulphate and can cause a condition called hemolytic anemia; a manifestation of damage to red blood cells.

Chocolate, especially the darker variety contains caffeine and theobromine and can be extremely toxic to cats. If you suspect your kitty has ingested chocolate and appears lethargic or is vomiting, contact your veterinarian, local E.R. immediately or the ASPCA Poison Help Line ASPCA Poison Control Help Line for advice. Phone No: (888) 426-4435. A small consultation fee may apply; well worth it.

Calming Environmental Suggestions
Last, but not least: With the hustle and bustle of company arriving, to prevent unfortunate escapes, keep your cats safe in a quiet room containing a litter box, water, and a few toys. Tune the radio to a classical station. Many kitties do enjoy listening to Mozart or Bach.

It only takes a few minutes to kitty-proof your home and to prepare for a safe Catmas holiday. These helpful hints will go a long way so you can enjoy the purrfect and meowiest “Catmas” and Happy “Mew Year”.

Wishing y’all a very safe and happy holiday season!!
Photo Credit: Aki Jo Singer

By: Jo Singer, MSW, CSW, LCSW, (Ret.)

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