While this time of the year is a joyous and exciting one, it can also be a dangerous one for your cat. Several hazards could turn a happy holiday into an emergency veterinary visit for your kitty. Here are some of the most common hazards to avoid:
- Christmas trees and plants: While your tree may be a wonder to behold, your cat may view it as an opportunity to climb and hide! If your tree is not well anchored in place, the whole thing may come tumbling down, including kitty. Avoid placing any additives in the water for your live Christmas tree that is not feline friendly, in case she decides to have a drink. Chewing on the tree’s needles is another potential hazard that can lead to gastrointestinal upset. Holly and mistletoe are toxic and should be kept out of the reach of all pets. Poinsettias aren’t toxic but they can cause significant stomach upset.
- Decorations: This time of year, we have many types of decorations around our homes and on our Christmas trees. Many of these ornaments entice cats to play with them. Shattered glass or ceramic objects can cause injuries, and swallowed parts of ornaments may cause intestinal obstruction. Avoid placing ornaments on the lowest branches of your tree, and make sure any that are within kitty’s reach are cat-safe. Tinsel and ribbon are particularly well known hazards as many cats like to chew on them. Every year, someone’s holiday is interrupted when their kitty needs surgery to remove one of these “linear foreign objects” from the stomach or intestines. Serious damage, including bowel perforation, can occur, so be sure to keep string, ribbon, tinsel and similar materials out of kitty’s way.
- Potpourri: Some types of liquid potpourri contain ingredients that can cause severe chemical burns and other damage if ingested by your cat. Always keep these products out of kitty’s reach.
- Open doors: The holidays are a time for friends and family to visit, which may mean lots of visitors that are unfamiliar to your cat. It’s normal for kitty to want to hide away so think about providing a quiet, safe haven when you have lots of company visiting. It also means a lot of coming and going so watch open doors so that your kitty doesn’t bolt from the home and become lost. It’s a good reason to ensure your indoor cat has a microchip and a collar with an identification tag.
More information on holiday hazards for pets:
The cat hospitals will be closed during part of the holidays – see our holiday schedule and be sure to stock up on food and supplies in advance.
Should you have an emergency with your cat over the holidays, contact Ottawa Animal Emergency at 613-745-0123.
Help for pet poisonings:
Pet Poison Helpline: 800-213-6680
ASPCA Animal Poison Control: 888-426-4435