Whether we like it or not, the holiday season has arrived. It may seem like your cat is more than ruffled by the inundation of decorations, goodies, and visitors, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t curious.

If we were focused on another one of our favorite pets, dogs, for instance, many of the same warnings would naturally apply. However, cats are stealthier than their canine counterparts, a fact that calls special attention to holiday cat safety.

Dangerous Decor

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, right? Well, not so much; holly (along with mistletoe, poinsettia, lily, and Christmas cactus) can actually endanger your cat, should they decide to nibble on it. It’s definitely part of the holiday protocol to decorate the inside and outside of the home, but artificial greenery is just as nice.

Pay attention to your cat’s behavior. If you notice any vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal irritation or pain, lethargy, or withdrawal, you could have a pet poisoning emergency on your hands. It’s much safer to stick with faux foliage.

The Focal Point

The holiday tree always steals the show, but it can also potentially be responsible for making your cat ill. The tree stand holds water that may have chemicals (from fertilizer to fire retardant) leached from the trunk.

Pine needles can get stuck in your cat’s delicate paw pads, which can cause damage to the mouth, throat, and gums if eaten.

Holiday Cat Safety

Other components on or around the tree include:

  • Ornaments – They are shiny, glittery, and oh-so-attractive to people and cats alike. However, if they fall and break, your cat could get injured or, worse, eat the shards and have severe GI damage. If eaten, larger pieces can get stuck in the GI tract, requiring surgical removal.
  • Tinsel – Similarly, tinsel, string, ribbon, or bows can lead to GI issues. It’s best to either avoid these products, or store presents until they are ready to open.
  • Ambiance – Whether it’s liquid potpourri, snowglobes, lit candles, or decorative lights, your cat may not know to leave these alone. Keep them out of reach, or do not use at all.
  • Bits and bobs – Keep buttons, batteries, small toys, and anything that could become a choking hazard out of sight.

Other Risks

Certainly, dogs are known to scan the table top, counter spaces, and floors for any potential snacks. Cats are a bit more selective when it comes to your holiday menu, but that doesn’t mean the following items should ever be offered to Fluffy:

  • Fatty meat and bones
  • High-fat dishes
  • Stuffing that contains onions, sage, or garlic
  • Raisins or grapes
  • Gravy
  • Casseroles
  • Desserts (especially those sweetened with Xylitol)
  • Raw, yeasted dough
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Macadamia nuts

Our veterinarians and staff at Poulsbo Animal Clinic extend our best wishes for a happy and safe holiday season. Together, we can make sure that holiday cat safety is a subject in the spotlight this season.

As always, please call us with any questions or concerns. Season’s greetings!