Now that summer has come and gone, it’s time to curl up and enjoy these colder months with friends and family. The holidays are the perfect time for delicious food, gift giving, and of course – lots of snuggling! But before we get to all the fun stuff, it’s important to go over a few tips to have a safe holiday season.
Small portions of lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and beef make an ideal treat for cats. Make sure the meat is cooked to the proper temperature, and be sure to check for bones. It’s best to remove the excess skin and fat, and avoid meats that have spices, seasonings, and oils. Steamed or baked vegetables such as carrots, green beans, or asparagus also make a great snack for your pet.
Foods that were prepared with rich ingredients like mayonnaise can lead to an upset stomach. Other ingredients like garlic and chives cause digestion problems, especially if a large quantity is consumed. Onions cause damage to the red blood cells, and are extremely poisonous to cats. Onion poisoning can have serious effects such as sluggishness, weight loss, and anemia.
Remember – it’s important to let everyone in your family know which foods are safe and which ones can cause a tummy ache. With a little caution, you can eliminate the risk of illness and still give your pet delicious treats!
Common holiday decorations can be a source of danger for cats. Plants like lilies and daffodils are highly toxic to cats; symptoms include digestive upset, heart arrhythmia, kidney failure, convulsions, or even death. Holly and mistletoe are also toxic plants that can cause vomiting and diarrhea, although serious side effects typically occur only if large quantities are ingested. Despite their reputation, American poinsettias are not deadly to pets and only cause mild stomach irritability.
If your family has a fir, pine, or spruce Christmas tree, be sure to cover the water. Pesticides and fertilizer that keep the water fresh can make your cat very ill. Even if you have an artificial tree, pets may still chew or eat the needles, so it’s important to watch for any changes in their behavior such as a difference in activity, appetite, and water consumption as well as vomiting or diarrhea.
The holiday season also means lots of gifts wrapped with shiny ribbon and sparkly decorations hanging on the tree. Not surprisingly, these flashy adornments are extremely appealing for curious cats who think they’ve found the perfect new toy! String, ribbon, and other thin objects (also known as linear foreign bodies) can pose a serious threat to cats and kittens if swallowed accidentally. Linear foreign bodies can become wrapped around the intestines which could cause severe health problems, or even death. Like young children, kittens should never have toys with detachable parts or toys that are small enough to swallow. And remember - never let your kitten or cat play with string or ribbon, especially unsupervised.