Holiday Pet-acular: Holiday Cat Safety

Keep the holiday season festive and bright with these must-follow holiday cat safety tips.

Got cats? Christmas decorating with a cat in the home can be challenging. But with a little planning, you can have a happy cat, a beautiful home, and great memories.

Here are a few holiday cat safety tips to ensure a joyful season for all:

  • Get a cat “tree.” You can purchase a fabulous, ready–made, sturdy, carpet-covered tower in our pet supply store right here in the shelter. Cat love to climb and scratch on them, and it might help distract from the real tree.
  • “Decorate” the cat’s special tree with catnip and plenty of pat-able, bitable cat toys. Change these out daily for increased attraction.
  • Avoid decorating with tinsel or shiny metallic garland. The ER vet gets busy this year trying to save kitties who have ingested these attractive decorations. Keep your kitty safe!
  • Lots of guests and changes in routine can scare shy kitties. Train your kitty to come to a special room PRIOR to guests arriving so that she can feel safe while they are there. For example, my cat Ella comes when I tap a spoon on the edge of a can of cat food. She follows me to the plate on my bathroom counter where I give her a special treat. We’ve practiced this at different times of the day so that when I need to confine her away from incoming guests and open doors, I’m easily able to do so.
  • Cover the live tree base (and water container) with foil. Most cats find foil icky, so covering the tree base keeps your cat from drinking the water and away from beginning to climb. For particularly adventuresome cats, you may have to cover the base of the lower branches, too!
  • Stay present with lit candles. The flickering flame is attractive, and athletic cats can easily gain access by leaping onto the table or mantle. Don’t leave flames unattended!
  • Avoid toxic plants that cats love to chew: poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe are attractive, but dangerous. Alternatives include roses, Christmas cactus, and orchids.
  • Exercise your kitty to keep her satisfied and out of trouble. Using mobile food puzzles and teaser toys (also available in our shelter pet supply store), you can ensure your cat is too tired to get too adventuresome with the holiday décor.

With a little proactive planning and meeting your cat’s basic needs, you can enjoy a safe and healthy holiday season. From all of us in the Behavior Department, we wish you and yours Happy Holidays!

Catherine Comden, CPDT-KA