Keep cats safe at Christmas

Keep cats safe at Christmas

The festive season presents its own set of perils for pets, as owners can forget to keep their wits about them when revelling in Christmas cheer. From tinsel to fairy lights, chocolate to over-indulgent dinners, nothing will ruin a Christmas for both you and your cat more than an emergency trip to your local vet clinic on the big day!

Spoiling your pet with love and affection (and maybe a new collar/bowl/toys) is always better than spoiling him with festive excesses, so avoid feeding rich foods and keep his routine intact if you want kitty to get through Christmas without a health hitch.

Cats eating Christmas dinner – There are lots of fatty foods around at Christmas, and many owners will indulge their cat during the holiday season. This is generally not a good idea. New foods given sporadically can, at best, lead to a bout of diarrhoea in cats – and at worst, serious conditions from gastroenteritis to pancreatitis. Keep it simple – stick to your cat’s regular diet, perhaps consider some turkey breast meat, without the fat, on the big day to avoid tummy upsets. Read our cat nutrition advice.

Cats and Christmas trees – Your cat may enjoy your Christmas tree even more than you! Just be careful to watch for over-enthusiastic play when it comes to the lights, tinsel and other decorations – and pine needles if you have a real tree, all of which can cause injury to your moggy. It’s best to exclude your cat from the room that the tree is in when you go to bed, just in case accidents happen while you’re asleep.

Dealing with visitors – Most felines are not impressed by strangers, and yet there can be a great deal of coming and going over the Christmas period. Keep one room of the house visitor-free (generally a bedroom works best), providing food and litter trays in this location so your cat can withdraw from social engagements if he wishes to. Read our advice about introducing your cat to visitors.

A change of scenery – Christmas is generally a fairly hectic period for most of us, but make sure you consider your cat’s needs well in advance of the big day. If you are planning to go away, ensure that your preferred cattery or house/pet sitter is booked early, or work out the logistics of taking your cat along with you in a suitable cat carrier.

Artificial snow – Artificial snow is toxic to cats, so is best not purchased.

Ornaments plants, candles and tinsel – Holly, mistletoe, poinsettias are all popular plants to have in the home at Christmas. These plants, however, are toxic to cats so should be placed where your cat can’t get to them. Candles are especially popular over the Christmas holiday period, but be careful to make sure your cat can’t get close to lit candles. Tinsel can also pose a choking hazard to playful kitties.