The festive season will soon be upon us! Whilst Christmas time brings lots of fun and excitement, it can also be a challenging time for our pets - especially cats. Cats often aren't very fond of changes in their routine, and many of our Christmas traditions can be concerning or even dangerous for our feline friends. But fear not! We've put together some top tips to help keep your kitty companion safe this Christmas.
Trees and Decorations
It won't surprise you that many cats love to challenge themselves by climbing up the Christmas tree! Other cats may be attracted to dangling, sparkly decorations. If you choose to have a real Christmas tree and your cat tends to nibble or lick, you will need to make sure your cat doesn't ingest any parts of the tree. Some oils produced by Christmas trees can be toxic to cats, as can fertilisers and plant food. You'll also need to ensure you pick up any dropped needles as these can injure delicate cat paws. Decorations can also be hazardous for cats at Christmas. Hanging baubles can often look like fun toys for our cats, and glass baubles in particular can shatter easily. Tinsel can also be harmful to cats if it is ingested as it can cause blockages in their digestive system. Christmas lights present a danger to our feline friends and should be used with some caution. Ensure any wires leading to the tree are covered using plastic or cardboard tubes to prevent your cat from chewing them. You should also be sure to turn off any Christmas lights are the mains when you aren't at home.
Cats protection has a great checklist for making your tree cat-proof here.
Food and Plants
Some of the plants we display around our homes for the festive season are actually poisonous to our cats. Here are the ones you should avoid:
- Lilies (even small amounts of pollen) are very dangerous to cats – whether they are brushed against, licked or drink the water the flowers are kept in. All lilies are poisonous.
- Poinsettia plants can cause stomach irritation
- Berries from mistletoe and holly can cause poisoning if ingested
- Amaryllis plants can be toxic to cats
- Dumb cane or leopard lily (Deiffenbachia) can cause mouth irritation
Contact your vet urgently if you know or suspect your cat has eaten any poisonous plants.
Similarly, some of the food we enjoy at Christmas is dangerous for our cats to ingest. Onion and garlic can be poisonous, both cooked or raw, so keep your cat away from the kitchen. Raisins and grapes are also toxic to cats, even in small quantities. With chocolates and sweets doing the rounds at Christmas time, cats can be keen to try them too. It is important to remember that chocolate is poisonous to cats, even in tiny amounts, and should never be given to them. If in doubt, it is best to avoid giving it to your cat.
Stress & Anxiety
Christmas can be a stressful time for all of us - especially for our cats! Lots of people coming and going, strange smells, more noise, moving furniture and more can all be confusing for your cat and can lead to them feeling stressed or anxious. If you’re worried about your cat getting stressed over the festive period, here are some ways you can help them to feel safe:
- provide a hiding place somewhere quiet so they can get away if they need to
- offer an additional litter tray away from busy areas to prevent accidents
- use a specially designed pet diffuser to help calm them
- make sure young children and guests know to leave the cat alone and to not pick them up or crowd them
Wishing you all a safe & happy Christmas!