Keeping Your Cat Safe During The Holiday Season

The abundance of the holiday season can present health risks and other dangers for your cat. Foods that are perfectly suitable (at least in moderation) for pet owners can prove harmful or fatal for their feline companions. Other non-edible items might be consumed by a cat just because they look or smell inviting.

Cats are also more exposed to additional physical danger around the holiday season because of the arrival of numerous family members and other visitors.

Foods that can be harmful or fatal to your cat

Alcohol- Mixed with a tempting beverage or given to a cat by a drunken prankster, alcohol can cause coma or death in small quantities.

Caffeine- It can be fatal in sufficient quantities, and although a cat may not be interested in coffee, tea, or other caffeinated drinks, it can be consumed in unusual ways.  Coffee grounds mixed with discarded food in a trash container may prove tempting to a cat.

Chocolate- Although cats are not usually interested, uninformed guests, particular children, may offer chocolate as a treat. While the caffeine in chocolate is harmful in itself, the real culprit is theobromine, which can be fatal in sufficient quantities. Darker chocolate has the highest levels of this toxic agent.

Raisins- A staple of many holiday treats, raisins, along with grapes, can cause kidney failure in cats.

Onions – While a cat is not likely to eat either raw or cooked onions, even foods prepared with onion powder can be harmful or fatal in sufficient quantities.

Yeast Dough- If a cat eats a piece of dough that hasn’t yet risen, it will rise and expand in their stomach. In addition, yeast causes fermentation in the stomach, producing alcohol and possible alcohol poisoning.

Non-edibles that are harmful to your cat if chewed or consumed

Plants – The most popular plants around the holiday season, mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias, are all poisonous to cats. All varieties of lilies are extremely poisonous to cats, including flowers, leaves, and stems.

Decorative materials – Colorful tinsel and ribbon can be ingested by a cat in a playful mood, which may result in an intestinal blockage that can prove deadly if not treated immediately at an veterinary hospital. Artificial snow that is sprayed on windows or trees is toxic to cats if consumed.

The dangers presented by holiday visitors

Some cats are extremely sensitive to excessive noise, and may run outside and into dangers such as cars and other animals. Cold weather presents additional risks, as cats climb under the hood of visitors’ vehicles to warm themselves by the heat of the engine. When the car is turned on ,the cat may be injured or killed.

The addition of multiple vehicles also enhances the danger of antifreeze leaking from a vehicle’s overflow tank and onto a driveway or parking space. Ethylene glycol, the main component, is toxic to pets. While cats won’t usually drink it like dogs, they will lick it from their feet when they walk in it. 

Being a cat owner means being especially vigilant in keeping your cat safe during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and keeping the catnip mouse hidden away until Christmas morning so an impatient feline doesn’t open their present before the big day. Contact a local vet, like Ashworth Road Animal Hospital PC, for more help.