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5 Holiday Safety Tips for Cats

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In the busyness of the holiday season, don't forget about your fur babies! The holidays can pose special health hazards for your cats. 

Read on to learn 5 holiday safety tips for cats.

1) Keep tinsel and ornaments out of reach.

Tinsel and ornaments pose a health hazard to your cats. If your cat swallows tinsel, wrapping paper, or ribbons, it can cause a problem called "linear foreign body obstruction." This may require surgery or emergency procedures to remove. Play it safe and keep tempting decorations out of your cat's reach.

Leni Kaplan, a vet from Cornell Vet College, recommends, "Consider confining your pet’s access to rooms with holiday decorations especially when unsupervised. One easy option is to use baby gates." 

2) Don’t leave cats unsupervised with a Christmas tree.

Dr. Eric Barchas says that, in his experience, Christmas trees are, "the most common cause of unwanted veterinary visits for cats during the holidays." The towering, sparkling trees hold an irresistible charm for many cats.

When cats climb Christmas trees, they usually come crashing down. Besides the substantial mess to clean up, cats also run the risk of sprains or even broken legs. To avoid a major mishap, don't allow your cat unsupervised access to your Christmas tree.

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3) Plan ahead for your holiday events.

Here's one holiday safety tip for cats that you might not think of. Holiday gatherings are often highly stressful for your cats. Faced with loud, jolly strangers, your cat may be stressed out by all the noise. If a careless guest leaves a door or window open, she may even try to escape.

When you’re hosting a holiday event, set aside a separate room for your kitty to hang out. Include food, water, a litter box, and a soft bed so your kitty can relax in private. If you have outdoor cats, they can hang out in their cedar cat houses for some privacy. Ensure your guests know not to disturb the cats.

4) Keep your cat away from open flames.

Many cats are attracted by the warmth of candles and fireplaces. Yet, if they are not careful, they may singe their whiskers or fur. Dr. Brian Collins of Cornell Vet College says, "Lit candles are particularly dangerous for cats, who can knock them over no matter how far from the edge of the mantel or table we put them." Doing so could burn your cat and start a fire. Never leave fireplaces or candles unattended, and keep candles out of reach.

5) Avoid toxic plants and flowers.

Did you know that certain holiday plants and flowers are actually toxic to cats? Here are a few examples of plants to avoid. Mistletoe and holly are seriously toxic to cats, while poinsettia is mildly toxic. Also, avoid toxic flowers such as amaryllis, lilies, and daffodils. They can cause serious health problems ranging from intestinal upset to convulsions. Instead, look for non-toxic plants like Christmas cactus and African violets.

Just follow these holiday safety tips for cats to have a happy, healthy holiday with your fur babies!

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