Christmas and cats. Some of us get shivers just thinking about it. However, with proper preparation, Christmas can be both safe for the kitties and enjoyable for all of you. These suggestions will make the holidays more enjoyable for the whole family.
About That Christmas Tree
That large, magnificent tree simply asking to be climbed, and all those shimmering, hanging balls are nearly too much to bear. So, how can you keep the cats away from your nicely decorated Christmas tree? Try out these ideas.
- Put the tree in a heavy stand so it’s stable and can’t be knocked over.
- Screw a hook into a wall and attach a string to both the hook and the tree. Or screw the hook into the ceiling and connect the string to the hook and the top of the tree.
- Before you decorate the tree, spray it with Bitter Apple. You won’t notice the smell, but the cats will hate the way it tastes.
- Use an electronic deterrent, like a ScatMat, which causes a tingling sensation when stepped on. Other electronic deterrents that are safe for cats include devices that emit a blast of air or make a high-pitched noise that only cats and dogs can hear. Or try putting pine cones around the base of the tree. While they’ll look festive to you, the cats won’t like walking on them.
- Leave the bottom third of your tree undecorated or use unbreakable ornaments and tie them on with twist ties. Don’t put tinsel where the cats can reach it. It can be a choking hazard.
- Tape down excess wire from the lights or wrap it around the base of the tree. Dangling wire can look like an enticing toy to a cat.
- Put a corrugated cardboard scratcher near the tree. Use an inclined scratcher and sprinkle it liberally with catnip to give the cats something even more fun than the tree to sink their claws into.
- My favorite idea: Give the cats their own little tree with lots of dangling kitty-safe ornaments to bat around. Make your own, or buy felt ornaments and remove all the tiny pieces that could be a choking hazard.
Holiday Hazards For Cats
The holidays are fraught with dangers for cats, but poinsettia plants are not one of them. According to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, the bright Christmas staple has received a bad name. While eating a poinsettia plant might produce “moderate gastrointestinal discomfort,” poinsettia leaves are not poisonous, according to the Poison Control Center.
The holiday plants that really are toxic to cats & kitties: Holly and mistletoe.
Other holiday hazards:
- Chocolate contains theobromine and can be deadly to cats. If you suspect your cat has eaten chocolate, contact your veterinarian or animal emergency clinic right away.
- Alcohol contains ethanol, which can also be deadly for cats. If your cat takes a sip of your eggnog, watch for such signs as staggering, excitement or decreased reflexes. If you even suspect alcohol toxicity, your cat needs to see a veterinarian immediately.
- Pine Needles are toxic to cats and can puncture internal organs if eaten. The water in the Christmas tree stand can also poison your cat. Make sure it’s covered!
- Tinsel can be a choking hazard and can cause an intestinal blockage if swallowed.
- Artificial snow is also toxic to cats.
- Cooked turkey bones can splinter and lodge in your cat’s throat or puncture internal organs.
- Onions can cause Heinz body anemia, which destroys the red blood cells. If your cat has turkey for Christmas dinner, serve it without the gravy.
- Ribbon, like tinsel, can cause an intestinal blockage if swallowed.
- Scented candles contain essential oils, and many are toxic to cats.
Cats As Christmas Gifts
The kids had been pleading with Santa for a cat. They even wrote to Santa and inquired. However, sensible Santas understand that the holidays are not the best time to add a cat to your family. And if you’re going to have a kitten, you should get two!
Kittens must grow up with other kittens in order to be properly socialized and adjusted. Two kittens may teach each other how to interact with humans and other animals. And if you have two kittens, they will irritate each other rather than bother you.
If you aren’t ready for two cats, try adopting an adult. But first, consider the following before surprising the family with a Christmas cat.