Festive season is finally here, which is a meowgical experience both for humans and our four-pawed friends. However it also has its hidden dangers and things you need to keep in mind to provide a safe enviroment for your little friend. See our handy little guide for practical tips for households with cats.
Holidays will bring changes to our homes and lifestyle, which may sometimes be difficult for cats to adapt. Therefore, paying special attention to our cats during holidays is very important. Friends, relatives and other guests often gather at our homes and sometimes we leave the cats alone at home to attend parties, for shopping and various other reasons during these periods. Therefore, it is important to create a safe and comfortable environment for them, and necessary steps should be taken to minimize potential hazards.
Creating a safe and comfortable environment for cats
Keeping the cat inside a room while there is a gathering at your home would be a great idea because cats may get excited by new people and sounds, and they may try to escape through opened doors and windows. Provide a safe and comfortable room for the cat with a soft bed and a litter box. Fresh food and water should be available all the time. If there are two or more cats, make sure to provide them enough food, water, and litter boxes. Make sure that the doors and windows of the room can be closed properly so that the animals cannot escape while they are alone inside. Also, inform your guests not to open this room and disturb the furball because some cats prefer not being exposed to new people suddenly.
Playing with festive decorations
We have to be careful with decorations like ribbons, strings, and other shiny or moving parts used in decorating our houses during holidays. Cats are usually curious animals, and they try to explore these new objects around them. In addition, they sometimes may try to chew or swallow them. Swallowing of strings or ribbons can cause a condition called “linear foreign body obstruction” in their gastrointestinal tract, where the body tries to pass the string through the intestines resulting in bunching of the intestines. These materials rub against the intestinal wall with continuous peristalsis and can even cause perforation of the intestines, which is a life-threatening condition and requires surgical intervention. After decorating the house, we should not leave risky decorating materials on the floors. It is better to dispose them as soon as decorating is over. Please provide them with suitable cat toys designed for games of chase and pounce. It is a great idea to freshen those old favourite toys or scratchers up with some catnip, so they will be encouraged to play with their own toys instead of decorations.
Is it dangerous if my cat is playing on the Christmas tree? Are there any toxic festive plants?
Always be careful if your cat tries to play on the Christmas tree. It is not a big deal for a playful cat to bring your Christmas trees down and totally mess up your wonderful celebration if the tree is not set up securely. If your tree has a watering dish, prevent access to it, because it can contain various harmful fertilizers or may contain various pathogenic microbes, which can be a potential source of gastrointestinal infections to the cat. Some plants used especially for Christmas decorations can be harmful to cats. Several mistletoe species can cause liver failures and seizures, while others can only irritate the gastrointestinal tract if ingested. Since the specific species are difficult to be identified separately, it’s always better to keep your cats away from mistletoe plants. Likewise, holly plants can also cause irritations to the gastrointestinal tract upon ingestion. Poinsettia is mildly toxic to cats if ingested.
Possible dangers of cats playing with wire cords and flames
Cats may find a dangling or loose electrical cord as an exciting toy to play with. A kitten may be curious or just love the feeling of chewing a wire cord. Their sharp teeth can easily penetrate the insulation around the cords resulting in severe burns of the tongue or an electric shock. Moreover, if your cat has a mate like a puppy or another cat, they may get trapped on exposed cords while running or playing. Therefore, it is better to wrap the exposed wires with rubber covers and avoid using unnecessarily lengthy wires for decorations and other house needs. You can also try to spray a bitter apple spray on the cord to prevent the kittens from chewing wire cords. Make sure to switch off unnecessary appliances' wire cords connected to decorations to minimize the risks of electrical shorts or shocks. You should also not leave candles unattended after any celebration because cats can burn themselves while playing with them. Sometimes they may knock it over with a flick of their tail and set fire to nearby clothing or other combustible items. Using battery-operated, flameless candles would be a good alternative to avoid these serious risks. The same danger is there with any other flames used for decorations and stoves used for heating houses. Be sure that your cat does not have access to those places, especially while playing.
Tips for feeding your cat healthy during holidays
Special attention should be paid to feeding cats during holidays, we should not feed the cat with kitchen scraps or other leftover high-fat diets on a regular basis. Always try to provide a balanced diet to the cat; you can go for commercially formulated cat food or prepare a suitable diet with high protein content by yourself at home. Make sure that your furball has access to fresh water all the time.
Be careful not to feed the cat with sweets or other food containing high sugar content since elevated blood sugar levels can shorten your pet’s life span or cause diabetes. Cats with diabetes conditions will have an unhealthy-looking coat, liver problems, and chronic bacterial infections. Feeding chocolate to cats can be another dangerous mistake that can possibly happen during holidays. Chocolates contain theobromine which cats cannot properly metabolize, and ingestion of a higher dose can cause toxicities. It is always advisable not to feed any chocolates to your cats and make sure your family members and guests are aware of this.
Some families prefer to share their festive meals with their cats during the holiday season. But such sudden rich diets are likely to cause problems in the gastrointestinal tract of your cat. As a result, vomiting and diarrhea are commonly encountered complications in cats during Christmas holidays. If you decide to share your food with your feline friend, make sure to feed them a suitable balanced diet rich in proteins. If you want to provide a special treat to your cat, it is better to go for a commercially available cat treat or offer a little amount of lean meat.
There is another risk of your cat ingesting any strings or parts of a package used in the preparation of meat, fish, and associated products due to the strong and pleasing odor. These items can sometimes cause intestinal obstructions and may need surgical intervention as well. It is better to make sure you safely dispose them in a sealed garbage container because some cats may try to dig these items out of the trash and eat them.
Try to keep your cat out of the kitchen during the holiday periods, so they won’t get easy access to disposed raw fish and meat products and their packaging, minimize other dangers like burns and other injuries associated with the kitchen.
Make time for cuddles and share a healthy celebration with your cat
You should always spare some time of the day to play and cuddle your cats during holidays as well. Your furball needs attention and like to be petted, talked to, and played with. This will reduce their stress and help them adjust to the sudden changes in the lifestyle of their owners during holiday periods. Moreover, observe your cat for any changes in its behavior or feeding patterns, and make sure to contact your veterinarian for any advice if needed.