Christmas is a great time to celebrate with our friends, family and pets. There are lots of cat-friendly treats on the market to spoil your pet over the holidays. When celebrating Christmas with your cat it is good to be aware of the potential health risks to keep everyone safe and happy, and avoid any trips to the emergency vet!
The sight of a Christmas tree adorned with shiny balls and twinkling lights is too much for any cat to ignore. Help to prevent your Christmas tree from toppling by fixing it to something secure if possible. Glass baubles should be avoided, or securely attached out of reach to prevent injuries. Ingestion of tinsel, ribbons and string can be particularly dangerous, as any long thin foreign material can make the intestines bunch together. Chewing on Christmas lights could result in a potentially nasty shock, whilst this is unlikely, your cat should always be supervised near the Christmas tree.
Lit candles can also become a risk if left on windowsills, or places where they may be knocked over by an over enthusiastic jumper. This has been known to cause burn injuries.
It is traditional to decorate our homes with foliage over Christmas but be aware holly, yew and mistletoe can be toxic to cats if consumed. It is best to keep these plants out of reach of cats, along with poinsettia, which can cause vomiting and lethargy.
Mince pies and Christmas cake, in fact, any foods containing currants, raisins or sultanas should be avoided, just like fresh grapes, the dried fruit may be toxic to your cat.
Chocolate is a must for any home at Christmas, however, remember human chocolate is not suitable for cats. Cats are more tolerant to chocolate than dogs and are less likely to indulge in a large amount, even still it is best avoided.
Cooked small bones splinter easily and can cause serious injury to your cat’s mouth and digestive tract. Remember to keep your cat away from the turkey carcass and ensure they do not raid the bin to find tasty scraps.
Any food item containing onions, garlic or chives should not be given to cats as they can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and destruction of red blood cells. If you offer your cat Christmas dinner leftovers, make sure any stuffing is removed first.
If you are concerned that your cat has managed to indulge in some of the above foods, find out the content of what they have eaten and contact your vet with your concerns. Knowing which foods to avoid giving to your cat will help you both to enjoy a healthy and happy holiday.
Cats enjoy routine, the sudden increase in visitors and new objects and smells in their environment can make Christmas a stressful time of year for your feline friend. Ensure your cat always has access to a safe, quiet area where they can retreat from the festivities when it all gets too much.
A very Merry Christmas from all of us at Protect My Pet!!
Written by Lindsay Rose MA VetMB CertAVP CertVBM MRCVS.