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4 Tips to Keep Your Cat Safe During the Holidays

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The holidays are a joyful time of year are packed with fun and excitement. However, it's also a time of year when you need to be extra cautious about the safety of your feline friend. From frenzied home events, visiting guests, to holiday parties, you can easily forget to keep track of your cat's safety.

This article provides a list of holiday tips to help keep your cat safe as you enjoy your holiday season.

1. Ensure Your Cat Has a Form of Identification

As great as the holidays are, they come with an increased risk for cats given their movement and activity-filled nature. Ensure your cat is either microchipped or fitted with a breakaway collar with an ID tag. You can learn more in the article 'Cat Safety Tips.'

2. Keep Holiday Foods Away from Your Cat

Undoubtedly, the holidays are plentiful with all kinds of delicious food and snacks. Unfortunately, ingestion of some holidays may expose your cat to the danger of poisoning or health issues. Foods/ingredients such as garlic, leeks, onions, mushrooms, gravy, grapes and raisins, tomatoes, yeast, alcohol, sugary desserts, chocolate, caffeinated foods, and candy should be kept out of reach of your cat. You can learn more in the article 'Substances That Can Poison Cats.' Moreover, don't feed your cat any bones from birds (like turkey) as they can pose a choking hazard or, worse, splinter and wreak havoc on a kitty's digestive system.

Tips to Prevent Food-related Calamities

Even if you don't feed your cat inappropriate foods, he/she may help herself to these foods if they're within reach. Here are some preventive measures to help avoid food-related accidents:

  • Teach your kitty that the cooking areas are out-of-bounds through positive communication and training.
  • Keep dishes/open food away from the table edges.
  • Feed your cat before you serve festive food to your humans so that your cat won't feel compelled to ask for food. Better yet, offer your kitty some pet-healthy holiday treats in a secure space away from the dining room.
  • Caution your guests from feeding your cat human food, and promptly pick up any unfinished food that your family/guests may leave around during or after a meal.
  • Keep a tight lid on your trash and regularly remove food waste from the premises. Cats are swift and intelligent about scavenging trash cans and, and in the process can feed on toxic food.

Signs of Food Poisoning in Cats

Signs that may indicate food poisoning in cats include staggering, labored/ lack of breath, vomiting, and diarrhea. Get your cat help immediately from your vet or Poison Control should you notice any of these signs. If not treated right away, your cat may suffer organ damage or even death.

3. Control Your Guests

While the holidays are all about visiting and welcoming people, the same may not be accurate for your cat. Some cats often become stressed from the overload of new sights and sounds and disrupted routines. They may become frightened or aggressive—or even try to escape. To reduce your cat's stress level, do the following:

  • Create a safe haven for your cat, where he/she can peacefully stay with all of his/her essentials.
  • Stop small children from bothering or mishandling your cat.
  • Have someone else other than you regularly check on your cat when you're occupied.
  • Keep your cat away from candles, fireplaces, and other flames. Given their curiosity, cats can quickly start destructive fires.  

4. Keep Away Harmful Holiday Plants

Before you decorate your home with lovely holiday plants, consider which plants may harm your cat. Plants that include lilies, poinsettias, mistletoe, Christmas cacti, holly berries as well as pine needles can be hazardous to your cat. If you can't resist the urge to decorate with holiday plants, consider buying artificial versions of holiday plants that are recyclable and harmless to your cat.

Protecting your cat from harm is an everyday duty for all cat parents. However, with the holidays proving to be busy and distracting, you need to be vigilant and take preventive steps to ensure your cat's well-being.

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