Cat Christmas Safety – Tips To Keep Your Cat Safe

The Seasonal Holiday (aka Christmas) is an exciting time for most people, but it always pays to take some extra precautions with your pets. There are many dangers around at this time of year, below are some suggestions on how to ensure your cat stays safe during the Seasonal Holiday (aka Christmas) period.

 

OUR BIGGEST & BEST TIP IS….  Keep your cat inside the home !

Were you aware that it is illegal within the Gold Coast region to allow cats to have unrestricted access to the outdoors especially anytime after sunset and before sunrise.  Cats found outside of your property are classed as “strays”.  If you really MUST allow your cat unrestrained and mostly unsupervised access to the outside, please ensure the cat is registered and microchipped (and the microchip details are correct).   If your cat dislikes wearing a collar (Marnie is one unfortunately), this is even more reason to keep your cat inside your home.

click here for a great article: Make Your Outdoor Cat An Indoor Cat

Still want to allow your cat unrestrained and mostly unsupervised outside access?  Then please take heed of the following to ensure the safety of your cat:

Traffic / Cars:

In some neighbourhoods, this means an increase in traffic with more people coming and going visiting family, friends and other celebrations.  This is also one of the ways for cats to go missing (or die) through no fault of their own as they can sometimes curl up within an engine or the car interior itself to have a nap.  I speak from personal experience thus the reason why Marnie is an indoor cat (and so was her predecessor) as I’ve had cats go missing as well as be killed (one right in front of my eyes – not something I would wish upon any person who cares for their cat).

Ticks:

Need I say more ?  Ticks can and do kill.  Ticks are attracted to cats just as much as dogs.  The downside is that if you do not inspect your outdoor cat regularly for ticks there really is nothing more you can do to ensure their safety because a lot of the tick medications are only suitable for dogs.  Cats can find the tick medication (aka “monthly spot on treatments”) fatally toxic.    The Gold Coast region is always plauged by ticks due to our weather.

Snakes:

Snake bite poisoning is a very serious danger to cats, especially in the warmer months.  Click here for more information on first aid for cats bitten by snake bites.

Heat Stroke:

Another medical emergency is heat stroke (also known as hyperthermia). If you suspect your cat has heat stroke, seek veterinary attention immediately.  This applies for both inside and outdoor cats:  for indoor cats, ensure there is plenty of air and cool areas for your cat to enjoy; for outdoor cats, ensure there are areas where there is shade for most of the day as well as access to cool areas for your cat to enjoy.

Whilst indoor/inside cats will be a lot more safer over this period than outdoor cats – there are still many dangers to minimise or eliminate to ensure the safety of your feline family member:

Christmas Tree/Decorations

The only fool proof way to keep your cat away from your Christmas tree  is to put the tree in a room the cat can’t access. Unfortunately, this is often not practical. So the next best solution is to make the tree as safe as possible.  Real Christmas trees are more dangerous to cats than fake plastic ones. Pine needles can puncture internal organs if eaten, they are also toxic to cats. If you do have a real tree, make sure the drink stand has plenty of water to prevent the tree drying out & losing needles. It is important that your cat isn’t able to get to this water & drink it as it could result in poisoning. Ensure the tree has a good solid base so it won’t easily be knocked over by your cat. Try not to have the tree near furniture & or shelves which the cats could use to jump onto the tree.

Be careful with tinsel, if you must have it on your tree, place it at the top of the tree where the cat is less likely to be able to get at it. Tinsel can be caught around the base or move down to the intestines & stomach & cause a blockage, which will result in emergency (and costly) surgery to remove it.   A safer alternative are the strands of beads. Ornaments should be securely attached to the tree to prevent them being knocked off. Also place delicate ornaments up high where they’re less likely to be knocked off & broken. When there is nobody around, unplug Christmas lights, you may want to try applying a cat repellent  such as bitter apple to the lights to deter your cat from chewing the wires, obviously if this was to happen it could cause a fatal electric shock.

Artificial snow is toxic to cats, so is best avoided.

Candles are especially popular over the Seasonal Holiday period, be careful to make sure your cat can’t get close to lit candles.

Please note, your cat isn’t a novelty item & it’s dangerous to try & decorate your cat with ribbons etc.

Plants

Holly, mistletoe, poinsettias are all popular plants to have in the home at Christmas, especially in the northern hemisphere. These plants are toxic to cats so should be placed where your cat can’t get to them.

Food/Sweets/Chocolate

Many cat owners enjoy giving their cat the occasional treat of “human” food & generally this doesn’t harm the cat.  However, it is important to remember that some foods which are fine for humans to eat can be toxic to cats. The odd sliver of chicken or turkey (off the bone) is fine, however it really isn’t a good idea to give them large quantities of such food as this can lead to gastrointestinal problems.  Never give your cat cooked chicken or turkey bones, these bones can splinter & can become lodged in your cat’s throat or puncture the intestines & stomach. Chocolate is toxic to cats, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic. Chocolate contains both caffeine & theobromine, which are both toxic. If you suspect your cat has eaten chocolate watch for signs of restlessness & vomiting, if in doubt, see your vet.

Cats will often scavenge for food in the garbage so be aware that if you’ve covered your turkey with foil & thrown it in the bin, your cat may drag it out & chew on it which could make the cat sick. Cooked turkey bones will also attract your cat. Be aware of this & if possible, take your food scraps etc., to your outside bin.

Xmas ribbons/wrap

Rbbons etc., pose the same problem as tinsel, if eaten, it may lead to intestinal blockages. It’s important to ensure all ribbons/wrap etc., are safely disposed of.

 

The last danger during the Holiday Season is having someone who is without Pet CPR & First Aid skills “in charge” of the welfare of your beloved felines !

You may save a couple of dollars using friends, family or the person who is doing pet sitting for $10 per visit (generally speaking, most professional pet carers charge $20 minimum for cat sitting visits) however when presented with any pet emergency …. will they cost the cat its life due to their lack of skills ?  This situation is easily solved through having whomever is “in charge” of the care of your felines do a Pet Tech Pet CPR, First Aid and Care class which are held regularly on the Gold Coast.

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