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Yesterday, I listed ten hazards for cats particularly during the holidays. Now, we’ve all had cats that survived poinsettias in the house, angel hair, tinsel, and metallic bows—before we knew these things were potentially dangerous to our cats. And, those of us who’ve loved many cats over the years know that some cats are more prone to exploration and experimentation than others. Plus, a cat that is bored—one that is often left alone in the house—might suddenly decide to chew on raffia or attack a sewing project in progress and wind up in serious trouble. And we never know when we might hear that pitiful mew outside and open the door to find a lost or homeless kitten. It’s wise to know the dangers for some cats and take protective measures for all cats, especially during the holiday season when there’s so much to tempt a curious cat.
Here are more possible hazards:
1: Party foods like chocolate, avocado, grapes, raisins, alcohol, raw eggs/meat, onions, garlic and caffeine can be dangerous to your cat. Lily LOVES avocado—but I learned in time that it can be toxic to a cat. Did you know that another name for an avocado is alligator pear? This fruit can also harm rabbits, horses, cattle, birds, and even goats. (I thought a goat could eat anything.) So no guacamole for your range animals or house cats.
2: Christmas tree ornaments can be hazardous to your cat. Hang the most delicate
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ones at the top of the tree so they’re least likely to be batted off and broken. Avoid hanging ornaments that have elements your cat would love to chew. I use very few glass ball ornaments. If they fall and break, they are very sharp and could cut up a cat’s paw.
3: Christmas tree preservatives—the commercial kind and plain old aspirin—can be dangerous for cats who like to drink from any receptacle they can find. Be careful which Christmas tree preservative you use in the water. Sugar or corn syrup is sometimes recommended and that probably won’t harm a cat, unless she becomes addicted to it. There are a lot of commercial tree preservatives that could be dangerous if a cat were to drink it. I suggest using plain water and even then, I will cover the water bowl as best I can.
4: Your lovely table setting. Keep the cat off the dinner table. Cats are inquisitive. If you set the table for guests, he’s going to want to explore. If you have a curious cat, try setting your lovely table at the last minute or confine the cat in a room with plenty of toys, fresh water, and a litter box.
5: Guests. Speaking of entertaining, keep your cat safe from a crowd of people milling around in your house and small children who might not know that a cat’s tail is not for pulling. If you have a kitten, put a note on the toilet to lower the lid after using.
6: Batteries. Now here’s a situation I’ve never seen nor heard of. Some cats will chew on and even swallow batteries. Evidently, this can be an extreme hazard to your cat—so if she expresses an interest in small batteries, other than just batting them around on the kitchen floor, take heed.
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7: The Christmas tree itself. If your cat is fascinated by the tree—some will actually climb it—there are some remedies that might deter him. Spray the area around the base of the tree with a light mixture of lemon water. Or place pine cones underneath the tree so it’s difficult for the cat to walk close to it. The needles on some Christmas trees can irritate your cat’s mouth or digestive system.
8: Keep your craft and sewing projects out of your cat’s reach. It’s bad enough that the cat will want to “help” you with your project. She might also examine it when you’re not looking. Potential dangers include the ingestion of ribbon, beads-sequins, thread-string-yarn, possibly even glue and needles. Yeah, a cat’s not going to pick up a needle and swallow it, but she might lap up a piece of thread that’s attached to a needle and swallow it. I had a cat do that once!!!
9: Fire. Make sure your fireplace is safe. You don’t want your cat to sit too close and catch her tail on fire. I make it a rule not to burn candles in my house. A curious cat can get burned or tip a burning candle filled with hot wax. I’ve graduated to battery operated flameless candles and I love them. Mine have a remote and you can even change the colors.
10: Christmas tree lights. If your cat chews on plastic, your Christmas tree lights could be a hazard. Use the lemon water remedy or place citrus peels around the tree to deter a cat.
Have you experienced a cat-related accident during the holidays? We’d like to hear about it and warn others to take precautions. It was one holiday season that we discovered Sophie will eat metallic bows and boy did she get sick. We no longer use ribbon or bows on any of our packages. We had a kitten once get caught up in the handles of a gift bag. He ran through the house with that bag “chasing” him. Poor little guy. As I mentioned, I also had a cat swallow a needle behind my back. When the needle went crosswise in her throat, we figured out what it was and the veterinarian was able to remove it. Whew!
There’s a lot to think about when you have a cat in the house. You can’t bring in anything new without her noticing. Nothing is sacred when there’s a cat about. Make sure you keep that cat safe this holiday season and all year ‘round.
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