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How to keep cats safe this Christmas, from toxic trees to dangling dangers

Christmas can be a dangerous time for cats, so experts at Purina have published some safety guidelines to help cat owners prepare for a safe and stress-free holiday. 

“Christmas is such an exciting time of year, but unfortunately all the twinkling lights and merriment can be hazardous for your cat,” wrote the Purina team. 

“From climbing the Christmas tree to the stress of visiting family members and hazardous treats that may turn out to be harmful, cats and Christmas can sometimes be a real recipe for disaster. But it doesn’t need to be! When managed with a bit of extra care, the holidays can be a time of fun and happiness for both you and your four-legged friend.”

Climbing the tree

Cats are natural climbers, and Christmas trees often become unintended challenges for them. The risk of your ambitious cat toppling the tree is real. 

To prevent such mishaps, the experts recommend using a heavy base or tethering the tree to a wall or ceiling for stability.

Dangling dangers

Shiny, dangling Christmas decorations are irresistible to cats but can be dangerous. 

Glass ornaments may break and harm your cat, while tinsel and angel hair pose choking hazards. Opt for cat-safe decorations that are securely attached and out of paw’s reach.

Beware of wires

The allure of Christmas light wires can be dangerous for cats who might chew them. Covering wires and opting for battery-powered lights when you’re not around to supervise can mitigate these risks.

Toxic trees

Fir trees can be mildly toxic to cats, causing mouth and stomach irritation. Fallen needles pose a risk of puncturing the gastrointestinal system. Consider a non-drop variety or an artificial tree to reduce these risks.

Additional dangers

Live, potted Christmas trees may contain fertilizers that are harmful to cats. Changing the soil and covering it can prevent your cat from mistaking it for a litter tray.

Some snow globes contain toxic antifreeze, and broken pieces can be hazardous. Be cautious with festive plants like poinsettia, holly, and mistletoe, as they are poisonous to cats.

Christmas food

The experts say to be mindful of Christmas foods that are toxic to cats, such as onions, garlic, raisins, chocolate, and alcohol. Also, beware of meat strings from roasts, which can cause choking.

In addition, the kitchen itself can be hazardous to cats. “There’s always plenty of cooking going on during the festive period and this poses new threats to your pet. From cooking oil, hot stoves to clanging pots and pans, it’s a good idea to keep cats out of the kitchen at Christmas,” wrote the Purina team.

Create a safe space 

Cats thrive on routine and familiarity. Christmas upheavals, like decoration changes and guest visits, can be stressful. Keep your cat’s environment as unchanged as possible, offering them a safe, familiar space.

Create a safe space by using a stair gate to keep cats away from unfamiliar guests and hectic areas. Ensure your cat has access to their essentials in a quiet part of the house.

Cleaning products

Excessive cleaning can disrupt the comforting scents in your home, causing anxiety in cats. Clean lightly, maintaining a scent environment that is familiar to your cat.

“While you are going to want to make sure your house looks its best if you are inviting family around, don’t go too crazy with the cleaning, polishing and air fresheners,” said the experts. 

Prioritize cat time

“Most importantly, take an hour or two out of your festive celebrations just to have some ‘cat time’ – doing the things you know your cat enjoys.” 

“That might be playing with interactive hunting toys, it might be grooming, or it might just be spending quiet time together. This is the best present you can give your cat for Christmas.” 


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