The holiday season brings not only good times for us, but also potential hazards for our cats. Trouble may lurk in the various decorations and accessories we bring out at this time of the year, as well as in holiday foods. Some cats are more likely to get into trouble than others, but it warrants taking care that your home doesn’t hold any unexpected hazards that could end in a trip to the veterinary clinic for your cat. Here are some of the most common holiday hazards:
- Foods: Many popular holiday foods, flavours and seasonings are potentially toxic to cats (and dogs). These include chocolate, onion & garlic, and grapes & raisins. In fact, over indulgence in any unfamiliar food that is fatty, rich, or spicy can cause gastrointestinal upset at this time of year. And don’t forget that small bones – like turkey bones – can cause serious problems in the intestinal tract if eaten.
- Plants: While not poisonous as previously thought, poinsettia is still capable of causing vomiting and diarrhea if eaten by irritating the gastrointestinal tract. Mistletoe is more problematic and can cause severe illness and even death if eaten. Other plants sometimes brought into our homes at this time of the year that are potential hazards for cats include lilies, daffodils, amaryllis and aloe.
- Decorations: Playing with tinsel or ribbon sometimes ends in cats eating the material which can then cause an intestinal obstruction and even perforation and infection. This is a well known cause of emergency surgery, so play it safe and keep all tinsel and ribbon away from your cat. Potpourri may make your home smell festive but it contains chemicals that are highly toxic to cats. Another potential hazard is electrical cords we use for holiday lights and other decorations. Chewing on an electrical cord can cause painful burns and life-threatening complications.
Bytown Cat Hospital (613-741-2460) is open for veterinary appointments on Dec. 24 from 9 AM to 2 PM. We are closed Dec. 25 and Dec. 26. We are open for veterinary appointments on Dec. 31 from 9 AM to 2 PM.
Merivale Cat Hospital (613-722-0251) is closed on Dec. 25 and Dec. 26. The hospital will be open for food sales only on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 from 7:30 AM to noon. Veterinary appointments can be made on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 at our Bytown location from 9 AM to 2 PM.