• Beltsville News

Kitty Post December 2021: Navigating the Holidays with Kitties By Lyla Ashburn

Updated: Dec 31, 2021



December is here, and with it, a variety of holidays with many different traditions and celebrations! For us, the holidays bring all the joys of lights, colors, tastes, and smells, along with visiting family and friends. For our kitties, it may be less joyful. Many holiday traditions can be stressful or even dangerous for cats, but with help from their owners, the holidays can be enjoyed by all.

One of the highlights of many holidays is the food. Dishes enjoyed only once a year make an appearance at many tables this month, and while it’s tempting to allow kitty to taste these foods, many can result in illness. There are lists online of the many troublesome foods that can make a cat sick. However, it’s easier to follow the general rule of not allowing kitty to eat any human foods because they could result in a visit to the vet’s office!

For those who put up Christmas trees, you may already be familiar with our feline friends’ tendency to climb them. If your kitty keeps trying to climb your tree, there are deterrent sprays available online that should keep them from trying too hard. If you have a live tree, be sure kitty isn’t drinking the water from the base, which can cause illness! Tinsel is unfortunately also a common cause of distress if eaten by kitty. The metallic material might even need to be removed surgically before it does too much damage to the cat’s digestive system.

While beautiful and festive to look at, many holiday plants are toxic to cats. These include poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly, among others. If you are keeping these plants in your house, be sure your cat is unable to reach them. The same goes for candles, whether just one or an entire menorah!

Another source of stress for kitty during the holidays is visiting family and friends. We all love to share our furbabies with visitors, but kitty might become overwhelmed with all the new people in the home. When expecting visitors, regardless of the number, make sure your cat has a quiet, out-of-the way place to retreat to if it feels insecure. Be sure it’s a space where visitors will not go, so kitty feels safe.

No matter what holiday we celebrate, small efforts on our part can help make them both safe and enjoyable for our furbabies. Our cats are family, and holidays are about family, no matter what form (or how much fur) they have!

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