Season's Heedings

Follow these tips to keep your cats happy and safe during the holidays.

By Peggy Scott | Posted: Tue Nov 2 00:00:00 PST 2004

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Even the bright lights can have a dark side. "Cats love to chew on rubber-encased wires," Angeli said. "Tape down loose cords, hide wiring if you can, and don't plug anything in until you're sure no one's chewing!"

And sometimes the tree's mere presence poses a problem. "Cats don't like their routines upset," Angeli said. "Something moved too close to their litterbox can disturb them and they'll look elsewhere when they have to go."

But you don't have to choose between feline or festive; you can safely enjoy both. Creatively apply citrus or pepper, double-sided tape or electronic training devices to the decorated area to condition your cat to stay away.

The season of plenty seems to offer an equally plentiful selection of potential pet pitfalls. The lovely poinsettia can cause ugly tummy trouble, as can mistletoe and holly berries even to the point of toxicity. If greenery is a must for your yuletide celebration, Hunthausen said that it's easy to make plants less attractive to wandering whiskers.

 "Mist plants with water and sprinkle them with cayenne pepper," he said. "Just don't get it all over so the cat gets it on his feet."

Party Animals?
For cats, sometimes the issue isn't what they might get into, but out of like the house. All the activity that party guests and visitors bring can scare a normally sedate cat, and it might bolt out a door accidentally left open in all the excitement.

"Use a doorknob alarm or air canister to scare the cat away from doors," Hunthausen said. "And make sure they have I.D. on a breakaway collar in case they do get out. And they can get away sometimes they'll jump in to cars to hide and end up taking a trip."

Angeli also stressed the importance of identification should the cat become lost. "A cat without I.D. or a microchip is hard to get home," she said. "And owners have to call and keep calling local animal shelters to make sure they aren't there. Unfortunately, they don't keep them very long."

The experts agreed that it's best to make kitty so comfortable at home during parties that it won't want to stray.

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