Having a merry, safe Christmas with your cats
27 November 2015
There’s a lot going on over the Christmas season, like parties, streams of visitors, shiny decorations and lots of strange new foods.
All of this can combine to cause your usually cool cat stress – or even make them ill. Here are some things to keep in mind to make this Christmas as enjoyable for the four-legged members of your family as it is for you.
Trimming the tree
Anyone who’s ever watched a You’ve Been Framed Christmas special knows how much cats are drawn to Christmas trees and their shiny baubles. But did you know that the pine needles of that lovely tree you spent hours in the cold choosing are actually toxic to your moggy?
So it’s important to makes sure that if you have a real tree that it’s well anchored and well watered to reduce the amount of needles that drop. However, if you know your kitty just won’t be able to resist playing with this fascinating new toy, then perhaps it’s worth considering an artificial tree this year.
Tinsel, wires and other Christmas plants also pose health threats to cats – so keep an eye on any troublesome areas and either keep these things out of reach or employ some cat repellent spray.
The more the merrier
No matter how cool and confident your cat is around guests usually, when large numbers of visitors descend for Christmas it can be a cause of great stress – especially if there are more small children than they’re used to.
That’s why it’s important to make sure there’s a cosy space for kitty to disappear to if things get too overwhelming for him. A space away from the main part of the house that is quite with some favourite blankets and some food and water will help keep him feeling safe and happy.
If your cat is of a particularly nervous disposition, it may be worth investigating something like Feliway. Plugging in a Feliway diffuser a day or two before you’re due to have guests should help calm any nerves.
It’s a time to eat, drink and be merry, and it’s natural to want to include our furry friends in this. While the occasional human treat is usually fine, over the festive period, with family and friends in and out of the house, it’s important to keep an eye on just what treats your cats are being spoiled with.
Like dogs, chocolate is toxic to cats – and the darker the chocolate the more dangerous. If you suspect a guest has slipped your kitty a piece of Cadbury’s then you should get them checked over by a vet as soon as possible, particularly if you notice vomiting or restlessness.
Also, while sharing some turkey with your cat is a lovely way to include them in Christmas dinner it’s important never to let them get their claws on any bones. These fragile bones can splinter and get lodged in their throat or even in their intestines. This is obviously a very serious issue that will cause your pet a lot of pain and will need emergency treatment by a vet.
A kitten is for life, not just for Christmas
If you are thinking of adding a kitten to your family this Christmas, please do make sure you have the time, space and resources to commit to your new cat and are willing to continue to do so for many years.
Domestic cats live an average of 15 years, so it’s no small commitment buying your children a kitten for Christmas. It’s important to be sure about the decision. Also worth remembering is the fact puberty usually occurs at around five to eight months in cats, although it can happen as early as four months depending on the breed of cat. Cats Protection’s recommendation is to neuter pet cats from four months old. So it’s important to speak to your vet soon after Christmas about getting your new kitten spayed or neutered.
If you need any help with this, Cannock Cats Protection can support you. Find out more here.
Cannock Cats Protection is currently running a Christmas competition offering one lucky winner the chance to claim a Christmas hamper full of goodies from Pets at Home. The branch is challenging the people of Cannock to find and photograph as many of its Cats Protection Collection tins they can find in the Cannock and Burntwood postcodes, WS6, WS7, WS11 WS12 (which include Cheslyn Hay, Great Wyrley and Hednesford areas) - the person who finds the most will win the hamper! The winner will be announced on the 18th of December, 2015, and information about how to enter can be found here.