Christmas Safety for Cats
Christmas is such an exciting time of year, but unfortunately all the twinkling lights and merriment can be hazardous for your cat. From climbing the Christmas tree to the stress of visiting family members and hazardous treats that may turn out to be harmful, cats and Christmas can sometimes be a real recipe for disaster. But it doesn’t need to be! When managed with a bit of extra care, the holidays can be a time of fun and happiness for both you and your four-legged friend.
Cats and Christmas trees
As a cat owner, you’ll know that your kitty is a huge fan of climbing everything in sight. So, it should come as no surprise that often, cats see Christmas trees as just another challenge to get to the top of. But this may well result in your ambitious cat pulling the tree to the ground. You’ll need to ensure that you have a heavy base – you can either buy one of these or attach weights to the bottom. Alternatively, you can tether your tree to the wall or ceiling to make sure it’s not budging, no matter how much your cat tries to replace your angel or star at the top.
Hazardous Christmas decorations
Another element to cats and Christmas trees is that dangling, sparkly decorations often prove a temptation too great to resist. This can be particularly dangerous if you have glass baubles as if they swat these off your tree they may shatter and hurt your cat. Additionally, tinsel and angel hair can cause blockages if ingested. To make sure you have a cat-friendly Christmas tree in your home, stay away from glass baubles and any that are made with toxic materials, ditch the tinsel and angel hair and securely attach all decorations to the tree, ensuring none are too close to the bottom, with reach of a swatting cat paw.
Be wary of mains powered Christmas tree lights
Cats and Christmas tree lights can also be a bad combination as the wires resemble fun toys for your kitty. Any wires will need to be covered to stop them being chewed and when you’re not home, switch the lights off at the mains. If you’re a fan of leaving your lights on all the time, battery-powered options are much safer.
Are Christmas trees poisonous to cats?
Fir trees are mildly toxic and may produce oils which can cause irritation to a cat’s mouth and stomach, but it’s very unlikely that your cat will eat large enough amounts to hurt themselves. There’s also a small risk with fallen needles from Christmas trees because if they’re swallowed, they could puncture your cat’s gastrointestinal system. An artificial tree might be easier, but if you’ve got your heart set on buying a real tree then a non-drop variety is safer.
Problems with live, potted Christmas trees
Another thing to be aware of is that there may be fertilisers and plant food present in potted Christmas trees which can be highly poisonous to your cat. So, if you’ve purchased a ready potted live tree, change the soil to remove any potentially dangerous chemicals. Potted trees can also present another problem – if the container’s quite large, your cat may think it’s a lovely new litter tray! To prevent this, cover the top of your soil with pebbles or a cover to stop them getting to it.
If you’ve tried to create a cat-friendly Christmas tree and it just proves too great a temptation, try keeping your cat out of the room with the tree.
Additional Christmas dangers
Some contain ethylene glycol (antifreeze) inside. If broken, the glass can hurt your kitty and the liquid is highly toxic, so always keep snow globes well out of the way.
If you have a house cat or kitten, they may be interested in your festive plants. A few plants that are poisonous to cats which may be present around the Christmas period are poinsettia, holly, mistletoe, amaryllis and certain ferns.
Christmas dinner is definitely one of the best parts of the season for us, but for cats, it can be hazardous. If you have gammon or beef with your festive meal, be aware of the meat string that ties up the joint – these are soaked in meat juices and look tasty but can cause choking if swallowed. Additionally, there are a variety of toxic or poisonous Christmas foods such as onions, garlic, raisins, chocolates, grapes and alcohol to name a few.
Avoiding stress for cats at Christmastime
Cats and Christmas can be a very stressful combination, especially if you have a nervous kitty. But fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make sure that the holidays go much smoothly for them.
- If you have children visiting, make sure that they’re always supervised with your cat
- Create a safe, quiet space away from the commotion – perhaps in a spare bedroom – and provide your cat with everything they need, that way they don’t have to come out unless they want to
- There’s always plenty of cooking going on during the festive period and this poses new threats to your pet. From cooking oil, hot stoves to clanging pots and pans, it’s a good idea to keep cats out of the kitchen at Christmas