Christmas and cats – what could possibly go wrong?
November 7, 2021
You’ve seen the memes with cats stuck in Christmas trees, but what else can go wrong during the festive season when you have cats? Head Vet Nicola Armstrong, shares common causes of Christmas cat injuries and advises how to avoid them.
Given how curious cats are, it makes sense to keep our number in your phone just in case your cat gets into any bother.
Call 0141 643 0404 for cat advice
Six common cat concerns at Christmas in Lanarkshire:
Road traffic accidents
With all the noise and commotion that comes with Christmas, including extra guests at your home, cats often roam outdoors to escape the mayhem. As it gets darker earlier during winter, your cat is more at risk of being hit by a car. Nicola recommends fitting your cat with a reflective collar and providing ‘safe spaces’ indoors for your cat to take solace in when it gets too much.
Consuming harmful food & drink
Christmas can be a fun time of year for cats, with tasty morsels of food and leftover drinks all over the place to try. Some items such as pigs in blankets could give your cat an upset stomach, whereas toxic treats like chocolate or mince pies (containing dried fruit) could cause them severe harm. It’s wise to keep food, alcohol, and paracetamol (for the Boxing Day hangover) behind a closed cupboard, pantry, or fridge door and away from curious cats.
Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe are festive favourites for many households. Unfortunately for cats, they can cause a variety of health problems ranging from nausea and vomiting, to collapse and seizures. Nicola recommends keeping harmful Christmas plants out of reach, or not keeping them at all.
– This substance is highly toxic to cats but tastes sweet (so we hear). Clean up any spills and keep the container somewhere your cat can’t get to it – remember cats can climb!
Christmas tree injuries
Saying cats and Christmas trees don’t mix well is an understatement in some households. Cats love to play with delicate baubles and wires, climb the tree, eat the needles, and rub themselves against the branches – all of which can end badly. Nicola has this advice for cat owners:
- Consider choosing an artificial tree – real fir trees produce toxic oils that can harm cats when eaten or absorbed through the skin and eating pine needles can cause a lot of pain.
- Smaller Christmas trees should cause less damage to your cat if they fall over – secure your tree to a wall or ceiling or use a heavy base to steady it.
- Choose shatterproof or soft hanging tree decorations and nothing edible if you have pets.
- Keep wires contained so they don’t look like string to play with to your cat.
- Decorate your tree without your cat in the room and avoid leaving your cat alone with it.
Burns & scalds
Cats can easily get burned or scalded accidentally at Christmas time, with knocked over candles and cooking pans being the common causes. Avoid injuries by keeping candles out of reach, or your cat out of the room, especially the kitchen when you’re cooking.
We hope you found Nicola’s advice useful. As always, if you have any concerns about your cat, get in touch with us here at Avenues Vets in Glasgow.