How Can I Keep My Cat Safe this Holiday Season?
The holidays are a whirlwind of excitement and celebration. However, our feline companions may not experience the same warm feelings surrounding these events. Holidays can be a difficult time for pets as novel stimuli and people enter their homes. Keeping your cat safe during these coming months is important, and there are several steps pet parents can take to make holiday events easier for feline friends.
One of the best parts of any celebration is the food! Winter holidays often revolve around a dinner or family gathering involving a myriad of edible wonders. The likelihood is that your pet will be just as tempted as you are.
Please remember that many of the foods you enjoy are not necessarily safe options for your cat. For example, alcohol, chocolate, citrus, grapes, nuts, onions, and garlic are all potentially dangerous and often more plentiful at holiday gatherings.
Feeding table scraps may be tempting, but certain ingredients can actually be toxic to your pet. Discourage relatives from doing so. Your adorable, begging feline may be disappointed, but their stomachs and other internal organs will be grateful. Keeping food out of your cat’s reach, separating your pet from the gathering, and swiftly packing up leftovers are excellent ways to keep them from indulging while your head is turned.
Bones are of particular concern and are commonly given to pets by well-meaning, misguided owners and friends. Bones are a choking hazard and may splinter, potentially harming your cat’s digestive system. You may want to give your pet their own holiday treat; a small amount of boiled, boneless, unseasoned chicken is a tasty alternative to bones or table scraps.
If you’re concerned your pet may have ingested a potentially harmful substance, please call poison control at 888-426-4435.
Holiday decorations pose another risk for digestive issues or entanglement. Many decorations involve cords or small, potentially ingestible objects. Cord protectors or an alternative decorating style may be in order if you have a particularly mischievous cat. You can also try monitoring your pet or keeping them in a separate, undecorated area of the house when you’re out and about.
Foreign body ingestions are very dangerous and can be fatal. Immediate medical attention is required in such situations. You can reach Nob Hill Cat Clinic at 415-776-6122. We have daytime hours only, so we may direct you to your local emergency clinic.
Stress and Traveling
Holidays, though exciting, can be a stressful experience for both humans and their feline companions. Relatives may not be as knowledgeable about feline behavior or etiquette. It may be a good idea to set boundaries in terms of what your pet is comfortable with. Do they get nervous when strangers pick them up? Are they a door dasher? Loud noises and strong smells can also be stressful for your cat, as they are more sensitive to these stimuli than humans are.
Letting your visitors know your cat’s preferences or containing pets to an area of the house in which they feel safe may help avoid undue stress. Doors are constantly opening during visits, so making sure your pet is microchipped also increases the likelihood that they’ll return home should they decide an adventure is in order.
If you celebrate the holidays elsewhere, it may be tempting to bring your cat with you. After all, holidays are about sharing time with the ones you love. However, traveling is generally very stressful for cats and may not be the best choice for your pet. Pet-sitters and boarding facilities are a lower stress alternative in many cases.
Nob Hill Cat Clinic provides medical and traditional boarding options for your feline friend. Spots fill up fast, so booking early is an excellent idea. Experienced technicians will care for and monitor your pet’s health and behavior, alerting our veterinarians to any potential concerns. We offer medication administration, treatment, exams, labs, and grooming services, all of which can be done during your pet’s stay.
If you are a new client or are hoping to travel with your pet, please book an exam with us to discuss a health plan.
The staff of Nob Hill Cat Clinic wishes you a very happy holiday season!
By Kaitlin Murphy