Advance Planning Keeps Cats Safe on Valentine's Day

Chocolate, flowers and candles can pose a threat to cats.

Posted on February 6th, 2008 at 5 a.m. EST

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Sixty percent of pet owners plan to include their furry friends in their Valentine’s Day celebrations, according to a Purina survey of 1,000 pet owners in the United States. However, cat owners might want to show their pets a little love by taking a few extra precautions for the holiday.

Sweet smells can attract cats to chocolate or candy, but accidental ingestion can be hazardous to their health. Pet owners should be on the lookout for symptoms of ingestion such as vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and hyperactivity as well as increased thirst, urination and heart rate according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

In addition, aluminum foil and cellophane candy wrappers are a danger as they can cause intestinal blockage and induce vomiting.

Candles are romantic, but cats who swiftly run past one can knock it over and start a house fire. Keep candles in a location where pets cannot get near them.

Flower bouquets are popular gifts on Valentine’s Day, but a colorful and scented floral display might attract a cat’s attention.

“Animals are very good at sniffing out things they shouldn’t eat,” says Dr. Stephen Hansen, veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. “Most notably, cat owners should be extremely careful if they have lilies in the house, as these lovely flowers can be deadly.”

By implementing a few precautionary measures, Valentine’s Day celebrations can continue while emergency veterinary clinic visits are kept at bay.

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