Christmas is coming closer. For many of us it's the most beautiful time of the year! One is looking forward to cosy afternoons with delicious Christmas goodies and candle light, everthing's beautifully decorated and the Christmas tree has been set up ... Indeed a time of joy - for humans at least!
On the other hand, the Christmas time can bring many dangers for our feline friends, so it's better to follow some simple rules to not have the holiday season being overshadowed by a tragic accident. Altogether, the risks of accidents at home have already been discussed in "Sources of danger in the house"
, but regarding Christmas, I would like to point out a few more dangers:
Candles, open fire
Candles are a source of danger that shouldn't be underestimated. Curious cats would sniff them and can get seriously burned. For this reason, a burning candle should always be monitored when a cat is around!
Aroma oils and lamps
Especially during the holiday season, aroma oil lamps are very popular. But they are also dangerous for cats. Essential oils may cause severe allergic reactions, even a life-threatening anaphylactic shock. In case you notice your cat reacting allergic to these oils, better don't use them. Also, aroma lamps should always be kept in a place which the cat can't reach, because even when it's not allergic, the oil may cause poisoning if licked up.
You can find this plant in many households at Christmas, but (like many other plants) they can cause serious poisoning in cats when they chew on it. It should always be kept out of reach for cats!
A Christmas tree is very attractive to cats and invites them to climb into it. It also holds many more dangers, unfortunately:
The conifer needles contain essential oils, which is toxic to cats. For that reason, a cat should never be allowed to chew on it (use the spray bottle to keep the cat away from the tree, if necessary).
The Christmas tree decoration is irresistible for many cats, but once it has fallen down and is broken, it may cause injuries. Also, tiny parts of it (like ribbons) could be swallowed, so it's better to use a decoration that's unbreakable.
Candles in Christmas trees are also very dangerous. Even without cats or kids around, they're often causing fire, so better use electric candle sets, it's much safer.
If the cat has managed to climb into the tree, it can easily be knocked over. For that reason, the tree should be fixed on a stable plattform and - if possible - on the wall as well.
Generally spoken, it's better not to leave kitty alone with the Christmas tree.
For many cats, it's hard to resist to chew and swallow ribbons (so-called Pica Syndrome). This can be life-threatening, as the ribbon may cause inner injuries and obstruction of the bowels. Only an immediate surgery can save the cat's life in that case.
So better be careful! The unpacking of the Christmas gifts is fun, but please don't forget to put the ribbons away when the cat is around. Just in case your cat starts to vomit or excrete blood, please do always consider the possibility of an internal injury caused by ribbons, and contact the emergency vet immediately.
Like ribbons, tinsel can be fatal to cats. Once swallowed, there is not only a high risk of bowel obstruction, the sharp edges of this popular Christmas decoration may also cause severe internal injuries. Also, the material may contain toxic substances; especially the traditional tin foil tinsel which is made of lead. For your cat's sake, you should abstain from this kind of decoration.
Cookies, candy and chocolate
During the holiday season, it's not easy to resist all the goodies. Also our cats may start begging now when there's all the yummy stuff around. But better resist the cat's pitiful look! Spicy roast or sweet candy is not good for your cat. Especially I would like to point out once again the dangers of chocolate: It contains theobromin, which is very dangerous for cats and may even lead to death. So better get some kitty treats from the pet store to spoil your cat at Christmas!
I would like to wish you and your feline friend a safe and healthy holiday season and a Merry Christmas!