Friday, 2 December 2016

How to have a pawsome Christmas

Most of us look forward to the festive period, but it can be a scary or stressful time for cats because of the number of changes in the house that Christmas brings. It can mean a houseful of visitors – potentially with their own pets – Christmas trees and decorations, candles, different smells and foods.

Cats are very sensitive to change; much of their feeling of security and ability to relax comes from being surrounded by the familiar sights, sounds and scents of their own territory. Some of the following tips can help to make Christmas a safe, happy and stress-free time for them.

Tonkinese cat byChristmas tree
Photo: Sean Naber via flickr / Creative Commons 

Avoiding food nasties

You might be tempted to share some of your leftover Christmas dinner with puss to save yourself from turkey sandwiches for the rest of the holidays, but restrict it to a small amount of boneless turkey. Remember that any treats you give your cat should be taken from their daily food allowance.

Some foods are toxic to cats and so should be avoided:

  • chocolate
  • allium species (onions, garlic, leeks, spring onions and chives)
  • grapes (including raisins, sultanas and currants)
  • alcohol
  • some mouldy foods (including dairy products, bread, rice and fallen fruits and nuts)

Don’t leave food unattended in the kitchen or on your plates and make sure your properly store away leftovers and firmly close waste bins.

To find out how to spot the signs of poisoning, click here. If you think your cat has been poisoned, take them to a vet immediately.

Christmas hazards

You may want to deck the halls with boughs of holly at the first sign of frost, but did you know that holly is poisonous to cats? Here are some other traditional festive plants that you may not have realised are toxic to cats:

  • Christmas cherry
  • holly
  • mistletoe
  • ivy
  • Christmas roses

For a full list of plants poisonous to cats, click here.

Avoid using tinsel and ‘angel hair’ on your tree as they can get stuck in cats’ throats, and keep the electrical cords of your fairy lights covered up. If you favour a real pine tree, vacuum around it frequently – as well as being a choking hazard, pine needles can hurt cats’ feet and cause infections.

Don’t let these tips ruin the festive spirit though – how about making some of your own cat-friendly Christmas decorations and treats? We’ve got plenty of fun crafty cat projects in our Pinterest board.


Reducing stress

Having friends and relatives to visit is part and parcel of the Christmas period and it’s likely to create a busy and noisy household. Remember that your cat may not wish to join in with the festivities and could find it quite a nerve-wracking time; the following advice will help to make Christmas less stressful:

  • avoid using party poppers or crackers
  • ensure that your cat has a quiet room to themselves with their food, water and litter tray easily accessible
  • provide somewhere where your cat can hide, up high if possible
  • play quiet, soothing music or leave a television on in the room with them
  • use a Feliway plug-in diffuser in the cat’s designated room to decrease anxiety

We’ve teamed up with Ceva who are kindly donating a bundle of festive goodies for one lucky blog reader – a Feliway Classic Diffuser, a Kong Active Treat Ball and a blanket worth around £40.
Ceva prizes
To enter, email competitions@cats.org.uk with the subject line ‘Festive competition’ and tell us your name, phone number and full postal address. The competition closes at midday on Friday 9 December 2016. See terms and conditions here.

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