This post originally ran in December of 2009. With Christmas right around the corner I thought it was worth a second look.....
Fa-la-la-la-la what a joyous time of year this is for those who celebrate Christmas but if the right safety measures aren't followed in reference to your cat it can turn into the "Nightmare Before Christmas" or the nightmare during Christmas. Save yourself an emergency trip to the vet by following some simple guidelines and make it a "Merry Christmas" for your main meower(s)!!!
THE TREE-there are thousands upon thousands of pet related Christmas tree injuries every year. Even cats who gazed with disinterest at the tree years earlier and may not have ever bothered the tree in the past can suddenly take a liking to it and a potential disaster can occur. Be sure your tree is secured (to the wall or ceiling) away from furniture. (Cats love to jump from furniture onto the tree) you also do not want your tree to become a climbing post (especially for kittens). Make sure that the tree is close to an electrical outlet so that cords do not have to run a far distance in the room. My first husband was Catholic so I used to put up a tree for him. My Angel Bobo was about 2 at the time. He thought the tree was a giant Pinata and spent his day while I was at work shaking the tree until all of the ornaments dropped, he thought he hit a cat toy cornucopia!! (I witnessed him doing this one day when I was home from work and it explained why every day that I came home, the tree was sprawled on the floor in it's nakedness. Thankfully he never ingested anything that could have hurt him.
DO NOT USE TINSEL. Cats love to eat tinsel and it cannot be passed if ingested. Hello emergency room.
DO NOT USE HOOKS ON YOUR ORNAMENTS-replace the ornament hooks with a loop of thin ribbon or thin yarn tied in a knot. If an ornament falls from the tree with a hook on it the hook can get caught in your curious kitty's mouth or can be swallowed.....you are not trying to catch a cat fish.
BULBS THAT ARE SAFER FOR PETS-should be plastic or wood. (However there is no safe ornament for pets. DO NOT TRIM THE LOWER TREE BRANCHES....obvious reasons......too close for a curious cat. Try using large velvet ribbons on your tree that are not only attractive but safe.
DO NOT PUT WRAPPED GIFTS UNDER THE TREE PRIOR TO CHRISTMAS. Cats don't understand that they aren't opened til Christmas Day. They can ingest paper, string, and all the bling on the boxes....bring gifts out at the last minute.
SWEEP UP FALLEN PINE NEEDLES-If a cat eats these they can cause vomiting and gastric irritation. Do not allow your pet access to the tree water as a forest drinking bowl. Keep tree lights OFF when you are out. They are a fire hazard.
SPRAY THE TREE WITH BITTER APPLE-for the curious kitty who just cannot leave the tree alone.
NEVER, EVER LEAVE A KITTEN IN A ROOM WITH THE TREE UNSUPERVISED.
May you and your cat(s) have a Merry, and Calamity-Free Christmas.......you will save yourself huge emergency vet bills and allow your vet to enjoy their holiday as well by following the above tips!!