Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Beware of Holiday Hazards: Tips on Keeping Your Cat Safe

With all the new items that come with this time of year (a tree in the house, lots of decorations, shiny gifts, blinking lights, fine food, unfamiliar people), it's always a good idea to take some precautions in keeping your cats safe. Here are a few tips to help make this holiday season cat-friendly.

The Tree

1. If your cat is tempted to climb the tree, discourage her from doing so; clapping your hands loudly or a small squirt from a water bottle works well to scare the cat away from the tree.

2. Ensure the base of the tree is as sturdy as possible, just in case your cat does decide to go climbing.

3. Do not allow your cat to play with decorations. Avoid using glass ornaments that can break. Do not use tinsel; it can pose a choking hazard and cause stomach problems.

4. Unplug the lights when you go to bed or leave the house to prevent electrocution, should your cat chew on the cord. Try to keep all cords out of reach.

5. If you have a real tree, cover up the base so your cat can’t drink the water, which can be toxic to cats.

6. Both real and plastic trees tend to shed their needles. Be sure to vacuum around the tree frequently to prevent your cat from eating the needles and getting them stuck in her pads.

The Festive Feast

7. A number of festive plants are potentially fatal to cats, including mistletoe, poinsettia, holly, ivy, baby's breath, and Christmas roses. Pay attention to choose non-toxic plants and keep them out of your cat's reach. Find out which plants may be harmful here.

8. You may be tempted to share some of the delicious food you are enjoying with your cat, but it's best to avoid doing so. Unless you made the dish yourself, it can be hard to tell exactly every ingredient that was used and some common ingredients are toxic to cats such as onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, and chocolate. Make sure all food and any alcohol is out of your cat's reach.

The Gifts

9. In order to prevent injury, ensure any toys you buy for your cat are suitable for cats. Small parts can be choking hazards and cause stomach problems. 

10. After opening gifts throw away the wrapping immediately. String, ribbon, and bows make for fun cat toys but they can be very dangerous if your cat eats them. Keep all gift wrapping materials out of reach.

The  Visitors

11. If friends and relatives are visiting, this could be quite stressful for your cat. Make sure to provide a quiet place for her to hide with access to food, water, and a litter box. Unfamiliar people  coupled with loud noise can be frightful for cats.

12. With all the commotion, it is easy for a cat to slip outside and become lost. If possible, it's a good idea to confine your cat to one room - with access to her food/water, bed, litter box - to prevent any accidental escapes. It's also good to make sure your cat is wearing her break-away collar with an ID tag or better yet, make sure she is micro-chipped.

13. Try using sprays and plug-ins such as Feliway or Nature's Miracle, which are synthetic pheromones that help to calm and comfort cats.

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