With cooling weather and the holiday season quickly approaching, it can become easy to overlook the safety of your pets between all the preparation and celebration. Having been a veterinarian assistant in the past, I have been a witness to some scary holiday situations. Even the most expert of pet parents can experience a holiday nightmare by being caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. I came up with 7 simple tips to help keep your cat safe this holiday season. You should know, much of this advice will translate for dog pet parents as well, although some specifically handle cat-like circumstances.
1. Keep your furry friend indoors with you if at all possible! Harsh temperatures can be dangerous for anyone, including your kitty. Remember cats will often hide in warm spaces, such as near warm car engines. Always check before starting up the car and driving off. The garage can also become a dangerous option, as garages typically house toxic liquids, such as antifreeze, and garage door openings and closings may present a hazard.
2. Make sure your sweet kitty has a safe place of their own. This is especially important if guests are coming over for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Cats want nothing more than a secret place they feel safe in. Be sure the space includes a litter box, food, water, a comfy hiding spot, and access to a window if possible. If your guests are interested in visiting your cat during their holiday dinner, be sure to supervise visitations. No one knows your furry friends like you do! An overwhelmed kitty is a very unhappy kitty which can lead to a very unhappy outcome
3. Be cautious of decorations. The ASPCA specifically calls out avoiding holly, grasses, and lit candles in areas your cat may be unattended. Grasses and holly may cause digestive issues, including vomiting, diarrhea, and could lead to a blocked intestinal tract.
4. Avoid keeping food in areas your cat can get to that is not easily visible while you are with guests. Even the best of best cats enjoys a sneak onto the counter every once and awhile for a bite of something yummy. Trust me, I have some pretty great cats, nevertheless, they both occasionally help themselves to a jolly trek across the counter. This becomes particularly dangerous with desserts while people are mingling elsewhere and desserts are left in another room uncovered for consumption later. Chocolates, coconut oil, nuts, salty items, as well as others, can be very dangerous, as they may lead anywhere from vomiting to death.
5. Try to feed your kitty their meal first. Sharing food with your cat can be tempting for both you and your guests. Distributing human food to kitties can lead to toxicity, belly aches, and bad habits. Giving your cat a small portion of fully-cooked turkey breast or chicken breast may be appropriate, as long as it does not contain spices. However, an abrupt change in diet is never good for our furry friends. Many veterinarians and pet food companies believe this to be very true, even when solely switching from one dry or canned food to another of very similar styles.
Beware of sharing with your cat in front of your guests, as some may think this is an acceptable practice within your home and who can blame them if they see you do it.
6. Make time for your kitty! Due to the busyness, try to make time to just hang out with your kitty before everyone arrives or you leave for the day. Try a favorite string toy or get out the ole laser pointer for some exercise!
7. Keep the holiday hours of your veterinarian nearby, as well as emergency contacts. Of course we hope it never comes to that but they always go through the emergency exit speech on every airplane, right? Better safe than sorry! Talk to your veterinarian early if your holiday includes a long vacation, which may leave your kitty in a new scenario or place. I am certain they will have tips for your particular situation and may recommend some natural remedies to use as well.