21 December 2019

Are you feline festive? Six rules your cat will choose to ignore at Christmas time

Speak to a vet

Claire Smith, Vet

Cats always think that they know best but this often isn’t the case. Christmas time often becomes frantic as we try to get everything ready for the big day, fit in social gatherings, wrap all the presents and get the house ready for an onslaught of guests. Whilst your cat probably watches your spree with much interest, I’d like to take a moment to persuade your cat not to create any drama. Here are my top tips for all cat owners to try to keep them safe this Christmas.

Cat at home and enjoying Christmas after a health check at Beacon View Vets
  1. Take it easy. Despite having a luxurious and sleep-filled life, many cats get very stressed about any change to their routine. Whether this is a group of carol singers at the front door or the appearance of a glittery penguin wearing a scarf, some cats will be horrified by the festive fuss. Ensuring that they have a quiet area to rest in is a sure way to keep their cortisol levels low. Pheromone products such as Feliway™, are a great way to help your cat feel more settled and adapt to changes. Once we open we will be using Feliway™ in all cat areas at the practice to help them to feel at home. Stressed cats can start toileting inappropriately and no one wants that kind of present on Christmas morning, so it’s certainly worth being proactive.
  2. Take regular exercise. As the nights draw in and the winter chill hits, many cats will become less active by choosing to stay in their favourite cosy snug. Encouraging your cat to get up and move about can prevent unwanted winter weight gain and also keep their mind alert. My cat Ron loves nothing more than chasing a feathered toy around the living room.
  3. Don’t eat cooked bones. Unfortunately, cooked bones can be very hazardous as they splinter into sharp shards when chewed. Splintered bones can then cause oral injury or even pierce the gastrointestinal tract.
  4. Don’t play with fire. Many cats seem to love knocking everything onto the floor and if they choose a candle, the effects could be catastrophic. Hair is particularly combustible and an unwise cat may end up singeing itself as it patrols the windowsills. For this very reason, I do not have any naked candles in my house.
  5. Play nicely. Christmas is a great excuse to treat your cat to a new toy, however cats must be supervised in case they swallow something that may cause a blockage in the stomach or intestines. Items such as ribbons, bows, plastic beads and tinsel pose a high risk as the bowel ends up getting bunched up as it tries to pass a long item.
  6. Leave the plants alone. Sadly, many of the beautiful festive plants such as poinsettia, Christmas cherries, holly, ivy and lilies are highly toxic to cats, sometimes fatally so. A full list of poisonous plants that are best avoided can be found here at International Cat Care.
Cat and Christmas tree in Sandwich

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