Keeping Your Cat Safe During the Holidays

Here are the top 10 tips for a safe and happy holiday with your kitties.

By Helen Jablonski | Posted: October 7, 2009, 3 a.m. EDT

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Tips to keep your cat safe from Cat Fancy Magazine

With all the new sounds, sights and smells in your home during this time of year, an inquisitive cat could get into trouble. Make sure your feline continues feeling fine by following these tips:

Many simple things such as milk or ribbon can harm your cat

  1. Steer clear of lilies. These pretty plants are deadly to cats, as ingestion causes kidney failure.  Other holiday plants to keep your cat away from include poinsettias, holly and mistletoe.
  2. Avoid tinsel and ribbon. Any stringy items, classified as linear foreign bodies, can cause obstructions or perforations in your cat’s intestines if eaten. 
  3. Keep candles off limits. A curious or frisky cat could knock over a candle or burn it’s whiskers and fur if it gets too close for a sniff.
  4. Don’t share holiday foods with your cat. Some foods, like milk and cream, can cause stomach upset, while others, like onions, garlic and chocolate, can cause severe illness and internal damage to your cat.
  5. Lock down your garbage can. After a holiday meal your garbage will look like a smorgasbord to your cat, who might try to eat bones, aluminum foil or plastic wrap that has food residue on it.  This could injure or block the digestive system.
  6. Don’t mix cats with alcohol. Your cat might try to sample mixed drinks made with milk or cream, but don’t let him!
  7. Safeguard lights and lines. If your cat likes to chew on things, keep holiday lights and extension cords out of reach or safely protected.
  8. Cat-proof your tree. Hang only unbreakable ornaments, don’t use metal ornament hooks, and avoid preservatives in tree water.
  9. Secure all medicine. Make sure you and your overnight guests don’t lose track of any medications, from aspirin to Xanax.  All are dangerous to your cat.
  10. Pass on potpourris and essential oils. These can cause burns or mouth and throat ulcerations if ingested by your cat.

Watch your cat for any changes in behavior during the holidays.

"If the cat is vomiting, bring it to the vet just to make sure it doesn’t need surgery or other treatments,” says April Paul, DVM, a certified emergency and critical care veterinarian.  "It could be simple gastritis, but it also could be much worse.  Better to be safe and get them in as soon as possible.”

If you pay attention to these simple suggestions, you and your cat are sure to pounce safely through the holiday season.

Helen Jablonski is a feline behavior consultant and a member of the Cat Writers’ Association. With seven cats, she has plenty to write about.

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Reader Comments

Tommy    Muskogee, OK

9/24/2014 11:38:36 AM

There is a product that works well for keeping cats out of the Christmas Tree. Its called the Christmas Tree Defender and its found on website for or also I bought it from Amazon

It is the best product I have found to keep cats out of the Christmas Tree. Great Product!

Galadriel    m, ME

3/11/2013 11:30:21 PM

Good to remember.

Amber    Stuart, FL

10/25/2009 3:43:30 AM

I didn't know about the lilys. TY.

Christi    hoston, TX

10/23/2009 6:19:54 AM

I've read somewhere that pineneedles can be potentially danerous to cats. Is this true? And if so are there any safe trees to get? Do you have any other safety tips for keeping her safe? I've been usng some of your cat channel tips on health and safety. So far, so good. I feel that your tips are very helpful.

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