The 7 Yes & No’s Of A Cat Friendly Christmas

Welcome to the Christmas season! With Santa just nights away, it’s a time of year that routines change, new people, new objects and new threats can appear in your cat’s Christmas world.

To keep your cat safe and healthy this Christmas here are a few things to keep in mind as you celebrate…

1. Your Christmas Tree

A veritable mine field of hazards for your cat.  Yes, I know we’ve all watched the cute cat in the Christmas tree videos and laughed till our bellies hurt, however a few precautions to take into consideration:

Cats love to chew on tinsel and ornaments and even at times the tree itself. Sharp pieces of plastic are not so ‘intestine friendly’ and could require a trip to the vet and even an expensive and life threatening surgery if bits and pieces aren’t able to pass through, or have perforated intestines or bowel.Check your tree and decorations regularly as well as your cat’s bowel motions if you suspect your cat has been chewing to see if they are passing through.If you find blood in their motions or diarrhoea or even NO bowel motions, especially if your cat seems unwell or off their food, could require a trip to the vet to check all is well.

*Note: If you are using a natural Pine Christmas tree, please also be aware these are toxic to cats if they chew them – also the sharp pine needles can cause serious internal injury in some cases. Other toxic plants include Poinsettias, Holly and mistletoe. So bah-humbug to the Christmas plants for cats!

2. Christmas Lights & Electrical Items 

Beware of the cord chewer!!! Many of these items plug straight into 240V of electricity and have that lovely soft plastic, so tempting to chew. Make sure your cords are unplugged when you are not around to supervise your Cat or especially watch your Teething Kitten. Unfortunately, these can also become strangulation devices with more than one kitty having hung itself whilst playing in the Christmas lights.

3. Human Food Do’s & Don’ts

With so much food out and around for your guests at Christmas beware of what your cat could inadvertently steal or chew on. Chocolate contains Caffeine as well as Theobromine which is toxic to cats – so no tempting your feline with chocolate! Dark chocolate contains significantly higher levels and is to be especially avoided.

Aluminium foil covered leftovers in the bin, or on benches can also prove hazardous as often the ‘treat’ inside will have your kitty bite right through the foil ingesting it in the process. Again, this is not intestine friendly or digestible and depending on how much they eat, can actually cause intestinal blockage. Watch for signs of constipation or no bowel movements or again, blood in the motions.It they stop eating or vomit repeatedly, seek veterinary assistance straight away.

Never feed cooked Turkey or chicken BONES as these too do not digest and are particularly sharp. Also NEVER feed ham or bacon as the nitrites and sulphites used to cure the ham can do severe damage to your cat’s kidneys and potentially send them into renal failure. Ham fat in high quantities can also lead to pancreatitis, both are life threatening conditions. Seek veterinary attention immediately if your cat has ‘found’ the ham or cooked bones by mistake.

Do feed small quantities of cooked breast/leg meat as a special treat if they like it as a Christmas treat. Also ok are potato, sweetpotato, carrots, peas (not many will eat peas) and other cooked vegies.

4. The Presents!

Yes these can be hazardous too if you have a chewer on your hands.  Ribbons and bows can be lots of fun, but beware of sharp ‘paper cut’ injuries to eyes and also are not intestine friendly if chewed or swallowed.  A piece of ribbon can ‘gather’ up your cat’s intestines as it tries to move through and cause what is called an ‘intussusception’ which effectively telescopes the intestines inside itself – again this is life threatening and needs veterinary attention immediately which is generally surgical intervention. 

5. The Visitors

A known hazard to cats! Make sure you have a quiet space your cat can retreat to as their safety zone otherwise ‘stressed cat’ behaviour such as urine spraying, inappropriate toileting and bad manners such as hissing and striking your guests may occur.  Some of your guests may not like cats or not treat them as you would and ‘discipline’ your cat which can only lead to further problems. To avoid conflict and Christmas arguments, best not to put non-cat people in the same space as your precious feline friend. Make sure they have a spot under the bed, a cupboard or up high they can get away from the action if they choose.

6. Heat Stroke 

Can be another issue if you are going to be leaving your cat at home over the heat of the day. Most cats can find a cool spot by pure instinct, but in some cases and in some houses this is unavoidable. Even if you put them outside, ensure they have plenty of water, shade and sufficient weather protection to endure the 30+ temperatures. If you return to find your cat drooling, staggering or passed out, seek veterinary attention immediately. Heat stroke is life threatening. The same goes for car travel. Ensure their carry crate is well ventilated & not packed tight with presents and bags around to block ventilation, and ensure it’s out of the sun. Frequent water stops are recommended if travelling for long periods of time.

7. The Big Yes’s

Yes! Give your cat lots of cuddles on Christmas Day!

Yes! Santa comes to cats too. Presents are always appreciated – just make sure they are cat friendly and can’t cause more misadventure than fun.

Yes! Turkey, Chicken and vegies are perfectly fine in small quantities! (no bones)

Yes! Have a wonderful cat friendly Christmas!

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!    From everyone at Cat’s Meow Cattery xo