Home for the holidays - keep your kitty safe

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Holidays are a special time of year, when friends and family gather for fun times, food and gifts.  However, it can also be a rather unsafe time for your kitty, as some common toxic plants and foods may enter the home without people knowing it!

 

The following holiday-related items/activities may cause harm to your kitty: 

Christmas tree/decorations:  Be careful when hanging tinsel or any ornaments that are not strongly secured to your tree.  If tinsel is ingested, it can cause a blockage that would need to be removed by a veterinarian.  Also, if cats knock ornaments off the tree that break, the cat may step on broken shards and get pieces stuck in their paws.  Cats are amazing climbers and have been known to knock down even large trees!  Make sure your tree is safely secured to a wall.  Also, cats can electrocute themselves when chewing on holiday tree lights.  If your kitty chews on plastic, make sure to remove these from your tree promptly.

Poinsettias:  When chewed, they can cause gastrointestinal upset.  Do not bring these plants into your home.  Instead, gift them to a friend, family or co-worker.  If your pet ingests the plant matter and does not get better in 1-2 days, please see your veterinarian. 

Lilies:  Lilies can cause liver failure for cats.  Even the pollen is toxic. If the cat smells the inside of the lily and gets pollen on their nose or paw, then licks it, this can cause health issues.  Best to just rehome any lilies you receive and not bring them into the house.  

Mistletoe:  This can also be toxic to cats.  Make sure that it is hung out of reach.Candles:  I distinctly remember spending a lovely candle-lit dinner with my college boyfriend's parents.  It was a great time until their fuzzy Maine coon walked past the candles and promptly lit his tail on fire.  Luckily, we immediately caught it before it could do harm to him or before anything else caught on fire!  Use self-contained candles or wax melts (that can't be knocked over easily). 

Grapes, raisins, currants, chocolate, cocoa, onions or garlic:  Giving table scraps is SO tempting with an interested and social kitty.  Also while entertaining, I've been known to leave the dishes until the end making them open to cleaning by furry friends.  These foods can be toxic to cats, so make sure they are out of reach.  Leaving dirty dishes in a sink full of water with dish soap will help deter those looking for leftovers! 

Bones:  Cats are scavengers, but bone fragments, when chewed and swallowed, can create blockages or puncture kitty’s throat.  Best to put them promptly in the trash or secure them elsewhere if using them to make stock. 

Visitors to the home:  While it's not a direct threat, many visitors don't always know that kitty needs to stay indoors and may accidentally let them out through an open door or window.  If you have friends or family that aren't used to being in an indoor-cat only home and know to enter/exit with care, put kitty in a place where they are safe and comfy and either lock the door, or put a sign on the door that says "Kitty inside; please do not open".

 

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