Cats Have-a-Cat-Friendly-Happy-Christmas

Published on November 28th, 2014 | by Debbie Martin

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Have a Cat Friendly Happy Christmas

Christmas is a time of great excesses among humans. We feel uniquely allowed – obliged, even – to drink, eat and sing excessively. Household pets often suffer the worst effects of this excess and cats are no exception. This article will outline some of the hazards which may befall our feline friends and provide some simple recommendations which will help to minimise their impact and a have a cat friendly happy Christmas.

The dangers of new people

Cats are comfortable with the familiar. Unfortunately for them, the festive seasons invariably brings about a bevy of strange new things. Routines will be altered, furniture moved around and added and the house may fill suddenly with strange and noisy people.

For a cat, all of this can be disorientating. You should therefore put them at ease and ensure that they have a safe place to retreat to if needed; an upstairs bedroom will usually serve well, particularly if your cat already sleeps there habitually.

The threat posed by children

Children in particular can pose a threat to cats. They will pick them up when they do not want to be picked up, pull on their tails and generally cause annoyance. Ensure that you keep an eye on your cat around children, particularly in the case of children you don’t know. Instruct children not to be overbearing. Some cats might retaliate violently to unwanted attention especially when feeling jumpy – and this can cause a great deal of familial discord. Use this as a warning – most children will do as they’re told if there is a plausible danger of being clawed.

Christmas dinner

During Christmas time, a great deal of time is spent in the kitchen, preparing Christmas dinner and other assorted treats. This can provide a potentially unsafe environment, which is made even more so in the presence of a cat. If a cat gets under your feet, the result could be disaster. Should a cat wander onto a hot stove, the results can be similarly catastrophic. For similar reasons, sharp objects such as knives should be placed where animals (and indeed children) cannot reach them.

Presents

One of the most indispensable components of any Christmas is the exchange of gifts. From the perspective of a cat, this is a source of more peril. Many of these gifts can contain small parts, which a cat might inadvertently step on, or chew. Some gifts will also require the use of batteries, which are problematic for similar reasons. Ensure that your cat is supervised when such toys are present, and that they are discouraged from interacting with them. Hopefully the most they will do with a battery is bat it in between their paws.

Some cat owners, not wishing to keep all the fun for themselves, will wish to buy a present for their feline. Should you wish to do so, you should ensure that any potential gift is one which has been explicitly designed with pets in mind. Toys which are not may contain sharp, toxic parts which will harm the cat if chewed on or swallowed.

Batteries

As mentioned earlier since a great many of the gifts exchanged over the period require the use of batteries, these are often present during Christmas time. If a cat bites down on a battery, they could suffer poisoning and chemical burns to the mouth. Batteries also represent a choking hazard. If you suspect that your cat has swallowed a battery, then contact a vet at the earliest opportunity.

Explosive situations

Over the festive period there are a lot of sounds which could startle a cat. Fireworks will occasionally be let off, necessitating that you keep your cat indoors and in a safe comfortable environment where they can hide – though this problem is more particular to the New Year celebrations than it is to Christmas.

Christmas crackers can also provide a nasty surprise for unprepared cats – along with the boisterous laughter which usually follows the bang! It is best to keep cats out of the room when you are eating Christmas dinner.

Plants

A large number of plants which bloom in winter are harmful to cats. Mistletoe and holly are common examples, as is the poinsettia, whose leaves contain a sap which will irritate a cat’s digestive system if ingested. Usually, the taste of these plants is sufficient deterrent and a cat will have second thoughts soon after eating. It is best, however, to err on the side of caution and ensure that such plants are kept well beyond the reach of your cat.

Antifreeze

Antifreeze is a seasonal danger which all pet owners should be aware of. It is highly poisonous, but, crucially, it is also highly sweet. This makes it hugely appetising to both cats and dogs, who will drink it if they find it, or lick it off their paws if they happen to step through it.

This sweetness is caused be an alcohol derivative, known as ethylene glycol, which is present in many antifreezes. This substance, once ingested, will rapidly crystalize inside a cat’s kidneys and as a result can cause fatal kidney damage within hours if not properly treated.

If you suspect that your cat has consumed antifreeze, you should seek the opinion of a vet at your earliest opportunity. The first twelve hours are crucial and could mean the difference between life and death for your cat. The early warning sign is that your cat will appear drunk.

There are a few simple things you can do to minimise the risk antifreeze poses to your cat. The first is to check around your car and any other cars close to the home for leaks which usually come in the form of greenish-blue puddles. Such leaks should be cleaned as soon as possible. You may also want to consider an alternative antifreeze; low-toxicity versions, comprising of relatively-safe propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol, are available from all good retailers.

Anxiety

It is worth concluding with a mention of the general anxiety Christmas causes, which can often be contagious. Christmas is often extremely stressful. Cats are often intuitive creatures and will be able to detect this anxiety and become anxious themselves. Be sure to give them a little attention from time to time, when you aren’t busy with other things and be sure to put your feet up, relax yourself, and enjoy your Christmas!

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About the Author

Debbie Martin has worked at Beeston Animal Health for over five years, having previously worked as a nurse in equine and small animal practice. Although generally involved with aspects of marketing these days and putting her psychology degree to good use, she still has a great depth of up to date knowledge in all creatures great and small. Debbie lives at home with her partner and two children and spends much of her spare time looking after her horses, dogs and cats or at the home farm with the cows, sheep and turkeys.



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