How to celebrate a safe Christmas with your cat
Christmas is a cozy time with decorations, candles and plants - but it can also involve a lot of risks for your cat. Here we share our best tips on how to avoid the dangers of Christmas and what to do if an accident does happen!
This article was written by a FirstVet vet
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Prepare well in advance
During Christmas, many families have more things at home, such as Christmas decorations, candles and plants, but also more food and goodies than usual. Here we give some tips on what your cat should avoid, as well as what can be good to have at home to be prepared!
Update your pet's medicine box
Feel free to check your cat’s home pharmacy before Christmas. If your cat gets a stomach upset, you may wish to have some pre-prepared highly digestible food, electrolyte supplements and probiotics, at home. These are available from your vet or at a pet pharmacy.
Read more: Medicine cabinet for dogs and cats
Do not leave dangerous temptations around
Remember not to leave food, sweets, candles or presents, ribbons or string lying around where inquisitive cats can find them. You may wish to inform guests and teach children in advance that certain types of food and items can be dangerous to cats, to help avoid accidents.
Register your pet with FirstVet
Register and add your animal to your FirstVet app (iPhone, android, tablet or web app) so that you have quick and easy access to an experienced vet 24/7 and 365 days a year - even throughout Christmas and New Year.
Simple tricks to keep your cat entertained and relaxed
- New toys: try to play with your cat for a few minutes a day. This can reduce the likelihood of them investigating the Christmas tree, for example, and getting into trouble
- Food toys: try serving your cat's food in an interactive toy or puzzle, to provide mental stimulation and keep them occupied for longer
- Personal space: when having guests at home, ensure that your cat's litter tray is in a quiet place where it is easily accessible. Make sure they also have a quiet place to go - preferably a place where the cat can be higher up and where they have a view of the room
Tip! If you know that your cat gets stressed by new people, try using a Feliway pheromone diffuser. Spray and plug-in diffuser options are available, as well as other aids, such as nutraceuticals (Zylkene). Start using them a few days before you plan to have visitors.
Common poisonings during Christmas
Christmas food often has a high fat and/or salt content, and is rarely suitable to share with our cats. If a cat gets leftover food that is very fatty or salty, there is a risk of a stomach upset, with vomiting and diarrhoea, or unnecessary strain on their kidneys. Many Christmas foods also contain onions and garlic, which can lead to anaemia in dogs and cats.
Chocolate can cause major problems for cats, including the risk of a stomach upset, salivation, an irregular heart rhythm and, in the worst case, life-threatening heart problems, coma or seizures. If you are unsure whether your cat has eaten chocolate, or how much they have eaten, you should always contact a vet for emergency advice.
Cats may want to investigate indoor plants. Several of the plants that you may have at home at Christmas are toxic to cats. If you notice that your cat is interested in a certain plant, it may be wise to move the plant to a cat-proof place, or remove the plant altogether. Make sure that suspected poisonous plants, as well as cut flowers, are placed where cats cannot reach them. Plants that can cause poisoning include: lilies, amaryllis, Christmas rose and poinsettia.
Read our full article here: 9 dangerous temptations for your pet during Christmas
When to contact a vet?
- If you think your cat has eaten, or come into contact with, any of the food or items above, please seek veterinary advice
Book a video appointment to have a chat with one of our FirstVet vets, or contact your registered vet to make an emergency appointment.