Cats feel most comfortable in familiar surroundings and enjoy set routines. However, major disruptions like a new family member, adjustments to the owner’s work schedule, a house renovation, or apartment move can seriously stress felines. Even minor tweaks to a cat’s trusted territory and daily rhythms can overwhelm these change-averse creatures.
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can prove extremely stressful for pets, especially cats. Between visiting guests, travel plans, parties, gift wrappers and boxes strewn about, decor changes, and shifted schedules, almost every element of a cat’s trusted territory gets altered. Take time to consider how these holiday disruptions may overwhelm your pet.
Dangers Of Christmas for curious cats
The holiday season poses plenty of risks for our feline friends. Curious kitties can’t resist exploring sparkly gift wraps, ribbons, tinsel, and strings of lights.
Feline friends find the holidays downright dazzling…and dangerously so! In our enthusiasm embellishing every inch of home with shimmering adornments, we forget these trimmings tempt curious kitties. To them, glittery gift wraps, satiny ribbons, and puddles of tinsel don’t signify seasonal splendor; they look like the ultimate cat toys begging to be pounced, gnawed and cocooned in!
As you lovingly decorate gifts for friends and family, take care not to leave ribbon, string, tissue paper, bows, gift bags, or small decorations accessible to your curious cat. No matter how carefully wrapped, unattended presents can tempt your kitty to play, chew, or otherwise damage the gift wrapping you worked hard to perfect. Even ingesting small amounts of ribbon, string or plastic can endanger your cat. Secure unfinished gifts in closets or rooms closed off from your cat. And never leave finished gifts within pawing reach, even if you’ll only be gone briefly. By planning ahead and protecting beautiful wrapping work from kitty chaos, you can wow loved ones with picture-perfect presents without sacrificing your cat’s safety or your hard decoration work.
As you deck your dwellings this Christmas, take time to cat-proof tempting tinsel, dangling ribbons, and shattering baubles. Our kitties find these holiday accents utterly irresistible, unable to stop themselves from pouncing, shredding, knocking over, and occasionally ingesting the glittery adornments. And while we delight in lavish seasonal embellishments, a curious cat’s five minutes of feisty fun can quickly escalate into an emergency blockage or laceration requiring surgery if they swallow ribbon strands or breakable ornament shards.
Candles totally set the holiday mood. But as cozy as they make us feel, those magical flames spell major danger for curious kitties. Kittens especially have zero clue that candles aren’t cat toys. And it only takes a second for them to singe their fur or knock over something molten and hot. Keep candles way out of kitty’s reach on high surfaces and NEVER leave them burning if you exit the room. Choose sturdy holders that won’t tip easily and remind guests not to get distracted from burning candles with pets running around.
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This holiday season, be vigilant about keeping potpourri dishes out of your curious cat’s reach. While the aromatic blend of dried flowers, spices, herbs, and essential oils may smell appealing to us, it could prove toxic to felines if ingested. The issue lies in the undisclosed essential oils used, as ingredients like cinnamon, citrus, pine, peppermint, and wintergreen oils can cause moderate to severe gastrointestinal issues if licked off fur or paws. And with oils sometimes concentrated to elevated toxicity in commercial potpourri, it’s better not to take risks. Protect your kitty by displaying festive fragrance dishes safely on high shelves or covered surfaces rather than low-lying tables or counters. And consider using pet-friendly potpourri free of hazardous essential oils this year.
In the spirit of celebration, we’re often tempted to share tasty morsels with begging felines, yet many human foods can prove catastrophic for cats. While an extra cat treat sparks joy, take care to avoid offerings laced with chocolate, sugar, raisins, dough or nut ingredients. Even tiny tastes could induce violent illness.
Plants and flowers
While festive florals certainly amplify seasonal décor, many holiday plants pose hidden threats to curious felines if ingested. Unfortunately, staples like poinsettias, lilies, holly, mistletoe, and some fresh Christmas trees contain toxins that can cause gastrointestinal distress, respiratory distress, kidney issues or even prove fatal if eaten.
Decorative lighting and electrical cords
For us humans, festive lights lend holiday magic to any room. But curious kitties eye those tangled wires and dangling cords as toys begging to be pounced, chewed and potentially destroyed. Balance awing houseguests with protecting frisky felines amid all our careful decorating. Stay vigilant in reminding visitors to keep doors closed and wires secured in your absence as well. Extending small safety measures helps everyone relax and enjoy the holiday shine.
Houseguests and noise
When hosting festive gatherings this holiday season, be sure to consider your cat amidst the party prep! While you and your guests will enjoy lively music and fun, all that noise and chaos may stress out your furry friend or cause them to accidently slip outside. Protect your favorite feline by creating a quiet space just for them to relax in with food, water, litter and cozy blankets. Maybe set it up in a back bedroom and close the door. Ask visitors nicely to leave kitty undisturbed.
Also very important – check that your doors and gates are latched before the party starts so your cat can’t run out when guests are coming in and out. And double check their microchip is up-to-date in case they do sneak away. Take steps to prevent that!
When you invite people over this holiday season, be sure to give them a heads up that you have a cat. Some guests might be allergic to cats or taking important medicine that makes pet dander unsafe. It’s thoughtful to give them notice so they can prepare.
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Some kitties feel scared or threatened around loud kids who want to chase or grab at them. Cats might hiss, scratch, or bite to protect themselves if stressed and overwhelmed. Kids could get hurt too! If your cat seems nervous with children at holiday parties, be extra careful. Set up a separate room your cat can escape to for quiet time. Make sure little kids know not to pull tails or pick up kitty. And keep a close eye so no one gets injured if kitty reacts from fear. Paying attention ensures both pets and kids feel happy and safe together.
Holiday guests often travel with their own pet companions. But an unfamiliar dog or rambunctious kitten may overwhelm your senior cat who prefers calm. First, politely explain your cat’s needs when your friend says they’ll visit with their pet. You want what’s best for both animals. See if your friend can travel earlier to introduce the pets slowly. Let them sniff each other in the safety of separate rooms first before fully interacting. Watch closely for tense body language or signs of stress. Be ready to separate them if needed. Provide lots of praise and treats when they get along! If despite your best effort they just don’t mix, ask your friend to consider a pet sitter for their fur baby’s stay. By planning ahead and communicating openly, you can make the pets’ coexistence peaceful and keep your senior cat most comfortable
Do not leave your cat alone
Kitties love set routines with their beloved owners. But holiday travel can mean sudden schedule shifts. Whether you take quick trips to visit friends or more extended stays with family, preparing your cat for changes is key. Next, help kitty adapt by keeping their home environment consistent. Leave out familiar toys and blankets. Try calming plug-in pheromones to ease anxiety while you’re away. And regardless the trip length, devote sweet snuggle time with kitty before departures and after returns!
Check the tips at Leaving Your Cat Alone – For How Long? for more details on leaving cats comfortably. Planning thoughtful care in your absence will give both you AND kitty happy holidays despite the disruption in routine. Just focus your preparations on what they need to stay safe and feel loved!
Have Yourself A Fur-Safe Little Christmas—Seasonal Safety For Felines
By planning some simple precautions around our own merry-making, cat parents can balance safety and cheer for furry family too.
Own safe place
Kitties love having their own safe spaces to rest and observe their surroundings. If you don’t have a cat tree, shelving, or hammocks set up yet, go shopping for some now! When your house fills up with noisy guests this holiday, provide spots around the room where your cat can climb or hide out.
With a tall cat tree, they can perch up high watching the action below. And under-table or under-chair hammocks make cozy under-the-radar spots for them to retreat to. Having options to climb or snuggle lets shy kitties pick what makes them most comfortable. They’ll come out to visit guests when ready. Just remember – never force them out of their safe zones! Providing special areas just for your cat will give them security during hectic holiday parties
Stress relief and calming essential oils
The music and crowds of holiday parties can really stress out cats. Luckily, there are some safe, natural things you can use to help them chill out!
Catnip is well-known to relax and relieve anxiety for cats. Break open a catnip toy or pouch during noisy celebrations so your cat can sniff and play to unwind. Essential oil blends made just for calming cats can also work wonders. But always introduce new oils gradually first to be sure your cat tolerates them well. And be very careful to only use top quality oils labeled as 100% cat-safe! Lower grade oils could make them sick.
Exercising to relax
Just like people, pets reduce stress through exercise and playtime bonding too. Kittens especially need active play to stay calm. Give at least three 5-10 minute play sessions with toys like feather wands or laser pointers daily.
Adult cats benefit from shorter bursts – aim for two 5 minute interactive play times per day. Toys that make them run and pounce are best! Senior kitties may not join playtimes, but will still appreciate quiet cuddle sessions with you.
Plan in advance
Making plans helps everything go smoothly over the holidays – even preparing for pet emergencies! Before trips or parties, research 24/7 veterinary clinics and emergency vets in your area. Also find out where the nearest pet ER hospital is located. Save the addresses and phone numbers someplace handy like on your fridge or in your phone.
If traveling with kitty or having someone pet sit, share that important vet info so they can call for help if your cat gets sick or injured while you’re gone. Take a current photo of your cat too in case they get lost. Planning ahead is super important, but try not to stress too much! Just make sure your cat can get quick medical care if an accident happens over the exciting holidays. Then you both can relax and focus on making happy memories.
The holidays can get pretty crazy! But with some planning and precautions, you and your cat can both stay safe and happy. By cat-proofing your home decorations, making a quiet cat zone during parties, researching emergency vets ahead of time, and keeping up playtime and affection, your furry friend will feel secure despite the seasonal chaos.
Please note: this article has been provided only for informational purposes. If your cat is showing any signs of any disease, please contact your vet immediately.