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  • Cat Proof Your House This Christmas

    Dec 14

    By Tom Woodcock

    Christmas tree

    How your cat sees the Christmas tree

    Christmas is a beautiful time of year, but it can be a dangerous time for cats. As you decorate, their environment changes, posing new objects to be explored and new risks to be assessed. Is that flashing Santa ornament friend or foe?  Where does that big tree lead? Do those boxes make a good new scratching post? It is important to understand how your cat will view the changes at Christmas time, so that you can anticipate and not punish his natural curiosity. It is also important to be aware of any dangers that could be introduced to your cat at this time of year.

    The number one source of curiosity and amusement for your cat, of course, will likely be the Christmas tree. If your cat loves to climbs trees out of doors, then you can bet he is going to try scaling any tree that you bring into your house. Most cats won’t get very far, but it is not uncommon for them to topple the tree with their energetic scrambling. If this happens, you risk not just injury to your cat but also damage to any nearby furniture and gifts. Make sure that your Christmas Tree is well supported and on a flat, stable surface.

    Pine needles from natural Christmas Trees are another health hazard for your cat. Fallen needles are sharp, and can easily embed themselves in your cat’s paws. Sweep up fallen needles on a regular basis.

    In addition to the Christmas Tree, there are many other plants that pose a risk to your cat’s health. Some plants are toxic to animals, and many of these are unfortunately often brought into the home at Christmas time. These include Mistletoe, Holly and Lillies.

    When decorating your house for Christmas, remember that cats are highly sensitive to changes in their environment, and will be both naturally cautious and curious.

    Dangling baubles and ornaments may seem like the ideal entertainment for a playful cat… the way they move and catch the light will draw fun loving kitties like a moth to a flame. However, cheap glass baubles can break easily, and the shards of glass can cause a great deal of harm to your cat. Avoid hanging ornaments from the lowest branches of the tree where they are most likely to catch your cat’s eye and skip any ornaments that are extremely fragile.

    Other decorations may not seem so appealing to your cat. For example, flashing lights or musical ornaments may frighten your cat, especially if they stop and start suddenly. If your cat seems frightened, begins to hide, starts urinating outside of the litter tray or displays any other symptoms of stress, remove the offending decorations immediately. While we are on the topic of things that might frighten your cat, consider how the noise level of your house changes at Christmas time. Just as is the case on bonfire night, your cat may be frightened of sudden loud noises often heard at Christmas such as crackers, poppers or bottle of Champagne being opened. Loud music or singing may also make them nervous so you might want to monitor the volume of Slade and SingStar if your cat is used to napping in a quiet house.

    While humans may be able to deal with over indulging in sweets and treats at Christmas with the help of some indigestion medicine, the consequences to your cat from eating the wrong kinds of foods can be more severe. Don’t leave food or snacks lying around where your cat can get to them (and that’s just about anywhere!) and clean up leftovers immediately. Foods such as chocolate, coffee and chicken bones are all particularly dangerous to cats, while snacks covered in salt can leave your cat dehydrated. You should also take care to not allow your cat to indulge in an alcoholic tipple from any glasses left out. And although it may be tempting to treat your cat to his own Christmas dinner, serve him a gourmet cat food choice rather than a portion of human food as any rich food that he is not accustomed to can cause vomiting or diarrhea.

    During the festivities of the season, pay particular attention to clearing up any discarded wrapping paper, ribbon or other small objects that might get lodged in your cat’s throat. Christmas cracker toys and foil sweet wrappers are particularly tempting to cats, but pose a choking hazard due to their size. Tossing around a crumpled up ball of wrapping paper can be a fun way to play with your cat, but never let them play with it unattended, and take it away if you see him start to chew on it.

    Keep a close eye on your cat during the Christmas season, to make sure he stays out of trouble and always ensure that he always has a quiet, cosy place to retreat to if all that partying gets a bit much for him.

    If you want more great tips, advice or Free Cat information the visit The Cat Pet Shop’s Blog If you need a Cat Tree for you cat to climb and play on there are some great deals at The Cat Pet Shop.

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