O, Christmas Tree

Follow these tips to keep your cat safe while you enjoy your Christmas tree.

By Stacy N. Hackett

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Short pieces of linear objects can pass through a cats intestinal tract but larger lengths get trapped and cause the intestines to bunch up, Wexler-Mitchell says. Left untreated, a linear foreign body leads to intestinal perforation and peritonitis, life-threatening conditions.

5. Pass on food-based decorations. Popcorn strings, cranberry garlands, candy canes, gingerbread men these cute decorations are potentially harmful to your cat. Treats stolen from the tree can upset your pets stomach or, in the case of garlands strung together with lengths of string, cause intestinal blockages. Such decorations may also encourage your cat to climb the tree in search of another treat.

6. Practice safety with holiday lights. Some cats have a penchant for chewing electrical cords, and the cords for your Christmas tree lights may prove tempting. If your cat chews through one of these cords, it can suffer burns to the mouth, electrocution or even death. Consider placing all electrical cords in protective coverings. Be creative! Wrap a large box in festive paper, cut small holes in the sides, and slip the cords through the package. Or, run all cords beneath the tree skirt, hiding them from view and your cats sharp teeth.

7. Skip the decorative flocking. The chemicals found in white flocking or artificial snow coverings are mildly toxic and could cause intestinal blockage if consumed in large quantities, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Snow flocking could also be harmful if inhaled by your cat.

8. Keep needles cleaned up. As your tree sheds needles, do your best to keep them cleaned up. Because of the preservatives often used on Christmas trees, the needles can be toxic to your cat if ingested, causing mouth and stomach irritation, according to the AVMA. The sharp points on the needles can cause mouth irritations as well. Discourage your cat from chewing on branches, too. If your cat simply can't resist sneaking a bite here and there, apply a chewing deterrent, such as Bitter Apple, to the lower branches. The deterrents bitter taste will discourage your cat from nibbling the branches.

After that first Christmas with Jordan, my husband and I became Christmas tree safety pros. By taking a few extra precautions each year while putting up the tree, all the members of our household enjoyed the festive atmosphere without broken ornaments and tree trauma. Follow our lead to keep your precious pets safe, too.

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Reader Comments

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

12/29/2013 6:14:57 AM


Janet    Bethlehem, PA

3/19/2013 8:23:29 AM

good article, thanks

Joss    ChCh NZ, AK

12/17/2008 11:14:13 PM

Great information for a holiday that everyone should enjoy...

mk    n haven, CT

12/17/2008 8:50:36 PM

good info

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