Making Sure Cats Are Safe During Holidays

CatChannel expert Jeanne Adlon, professional cat sitter, gives suggestions for keeping cats out of harm's way.

By Jeanne Adlon | Posted: December 18, 2009, 3 a.m. EST

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Q: How can I make sure my cat has a safe holiday season?

A: The holiday season can bring new and intriguing things into your home — but a curious cat can get into trouble. One of the most dangerous items for kitties is shopping bags. I ask you to not leave any on the floor, please.

I once had a terrible experience with a house call where a cat, Betsy, got her head and front paw caught in a shopping bag handle. When I entered the apartment, I didn’t see Betsy but I saw a tattered bag with one handle ripped off. She had obviously gotten into a choke-hold and had been frantically running around trying to free herself. I finally found her under the bed and, armed with small scissors I always carry, carefully approached her. She was a shy cat but I think she knew I was trying to help and I was able to cut off the handle while calmly petting her and talking to her. Once free, I gave her some catnip, which she always enjoys, and then she happily jumped up on a windowsill to see the holiday sights.

More suggestions for a safe holiday for you and your kitty:

  • If you have a live Christmas tree, make sure it is securely anchored to the ceiling or wall. Please do not put any chemicals in tree water and keep the water bowl covered with a tree skirt. You don’t want your cat drinking from that bowl especially if it has pine needles in it.
  • Keep fallen pine needles off the floor and poisonous plants such as mistletoe, lillies and poinsettias out of reach.
  • I suggest no tinsel. It may be pretty but cats are attracted to the shimmer and can easily swallow it, which can become lodged in their intestines or caught in their tongue.
  • Keep your breakable or special ornaments on the upper portion of your tree and unbreakable ones on the lower branches in case your curious kitty knocks them off. Also, don’t use wire hooks to hang ornaments. Try ribbons or decorative string instead. Place all excess string, ribbon and tape out of harm's way.
  • Keep electrical wire for tree lights out of reach. If that is not possible, try spraying bitter apple or using another cat repellant which you can find in your local pet store.
  • If you put gifts under the tree, I suggest removing ones with long ribbons or bows. They are too tempting for our feline friends.
  • Once again, please keep shopping bags off the floor. Their handles can be dangerous.

As always I welcome your comments and stories and wish all of you a wonderful and safe holiday season.

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Reader Comments

wanda    monmouth, ME

1/2/2010 1:33:50 AM

very interesting

Anon    City, CA

12/25/2009 8:43:40 PM

Always a great reminder at this time of year.

Jerrie    SF, CA

12/25/2009 6:11:59 PM

Thanks for the good article.

singlee    S.F., CA

12/25/2009 5:50:59 PM

way to go

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