Avoid Holiday Mishaps with These Cat Safety Tips

From your cat’s perspective, virtually everything in your home is a toy. Especially during the holidays! Nothing says “festive” like twinkle lights, tinsel, garland, and a Christmas tree decked out from top to bottom in sparkling ornaments and strands of multicolored lights. While these decorations can make any home look more inviting, they can also make it a little more dangerous—especially if you happen to have a cat! To protect your feline family member from their own curiosity this season, check out our holiday cat safety tips.

A grey kitten is surrounded by Christmas decorations in a living room, in front of a white Christmas tree. The decorations include pinecones, garland, and lights. Here the cat sits inside of a gift box, as it has been adopted as a present for Christmas.

Decoration Hazards

We won’t tell you not to decorate, but do be careful about what decorations you choose to put out this year, and how you set them up!

  • Try to avoid putting dangly ornaments on the lowest branches of the Christmas tree, where your cat can easily reach them. Also, keep the most delicate ornaments near the top of the tree. You can also avoid using breakable ornaments altogether, which can also pose a risk to your cat if they break and leave sharp, tiny fragments on the floor.
  • Tree tinsel can be a choking hazard if your cat swallows it, and it can even cause intestinal obstruction! Consider passing on tinsel altogether.
  • Candles and lanterns are fire hazards on a good day, but with a curious cat they can be even more dangerous. Cats are notorious for knocking things over (knowingly or unknowingly), and their tails can also get singed. Use artificial candles instead!
  • If your cat is a climber, there is a chance they’ll try to scale the tree. If you can, be strategic about where you place your tree. A room that can be closed off is ideal; however, if this is not an option, place the tree in a corner (away from any furniture that your cat can use as a spring board) and invest in a very sturdy tree stand. For additional safety, wrap lights securely around the tree to avoid dangling loops of wires.
  • Play with your cat to help them burn off energy. When your cat is curious and full of pent-up energy, they might take it out on your tree. Playing with them regularly may help decrease their interest in the tree and help them to relax.
  • Coat electrical cords in bad-tasting anti-chew cream, or make sure any exposed cords on the floor are protected by rigid tubing that your cat can’t chew through.
Cat near the sack with Christmas gifts

Food Safety

The following foods can be a major health hazard for your cat:

  • Grapes, raisins, and currants
  • Garlic, onions, leeks, chives, and shallots
  • Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, baker's chocolate, cocoa powder, and just about any other type of chocolate
  • Meat bones
  • Macadamia nuts and walnuts
  • Uncooked bread dough made with yeast
  • Avocado
  • Foods made with xylitol, a sugar substitute
  • Rich dairy products

Avoid giving your cat table scraps and keep your guests informed as well. You can keep your kitty occupied with their own treats and food, instead.

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