Festive Hazards: Making sure your Cat has a Happy Christmas

The festive season is a time to relax and enjoy a break with family and friends. Here are some ways to ensure your cat can be part of your celebrations without causing them any stress or problems.

Christmas decorations can fascinate cats and the tree can provide a great new place to explore, coming down and re-hanging baubles can be a daily routine with a cat and a Christmas Tree! However, we do see a number of cases at out hospitals where cats have become poorly as the result of chewing or eating decorations. Bits of string and thread can get stuck in the mouth or worse still, further down in the abdomen. Likewise, small toys and pieces of plastic can cause obstructions. Keep a good eye on your cats and if they seem over interested in something inappropriate, then best take it away from them. There are plenty of toys specially designed for cats that make a good alternative and great presents!

Cats have quite sensitive digestive systems and they don’t cope well with sudden changes, especially to rich or fatty foods, and are very sensitive to salt. It’s, therefore, best not to encourage them with festive food leftovers or tasty treats designed for humans, they will have a happier time without such luxuries. There are special cat treats available if you want to make the day special, but moderation should always be the watchword.

Plants can also be an issue and there are some you should be careful of. Poinsettias are a popular Christmas plant, but they are mildly toxic to cats causing signs of vomiting, drooling, or rarely, diarrhoea if eaten. Holly and mistletoe have a greater toxicity level than the poinsettia, again causing intestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhoea, excessive drooling, and abdominal pain if eaten. Lilies, however, are far more dangerous and potentially fatal. Examples of some of these dangerous lilies include the Tiger, Day, Asiatic hybrid, Easter, Japanese Show, Rubrum, Stargazer, Red, Western, and Wood Lilies – all of which are highly toxic to cats!

If you are travelling with your cat to see friends and family it’s also good to do a little planning and preparation. Make sure you have all the medications your pet might need and that they are secure in their carrier with a blanket and any toys. Cover the carrier if needed. Long journeys in cars can be stressful for a cat so it’s important they don’t get too hot and they have access to water from time to time. If your cat is going into a Cattery, make sure that their vaccinations are up to date.

A few simple precautions can help everyone enjoy the holiday period including your cat. Our 24-hour hospitals are always there for advice and help if you need it, just call 0845 500 4247. But being aware of, and avoiding, the risks can make sure you don’t need to visit us.

From all the staff at Village Vet, we wish you and your cat a very Happy Christmas!