• The holidays can be a wonderful, but sometimes dangerous, time for cats.

    As a member of your family, your pet is part of the celebration. But when holiday visitors come and go, consider keeping your cats in a quiet room while you entertain so they don't escape amid the chaos. Also decorate your home and share the fun in a way that will keep your pet safe and happy.

    Décor dos and don’ts
    • If your family celebrates Hanukkah, make sure lit candles are never left unattended. This is not just a danger to your cat, but to the entire household.
    • Put only non-breakable ornaments within your cats' reach. Broken glass ornaments can cut your cat’s tender paw pads and the rings and little wire hooks can become lodged in his throat or even puncture his intestines.
    • Pine needles from your tree should be swept up as soon as possible. If swallowed, they can cause an upset stomach.
    • Even the most well behaved cat will find it difficult to resist the urge to climb the tree. To prevent your kitty from pulling down the tree entirely, secure it to a nearby wall with heavy fishing line.
    • Chewing a strand of Christmas lights puts your kitty at risk of electrocution or severe burns. Prevent this by spraying any lights within your cat's reach with a deterrent. You may also want to consider buying a tree with fiber optic lights.
    • Avoid decorations such as spun glass angel hair, which can irritate your cat's eyes and artificial snow, which has irritating fumes.
    • Tinsel, thread for cranberry or popcorn garlands, and even ribbons are problematic. Anything of a string nature can pose a serious danger to your cat because his barbed tongue won’t allow him to spit it out.
    • Be careful with popular holiday plants; they can be a deadly distraction to your bored cat. Mistletoe berries, lilies, English Ivy, holly leaves and berries, Christmas roses, narcissus, amaryllis bulbs and croton can cause irritation or, even death.
    Gifts—minus the ribbon

    Once you have kitty-proofed your home for the holidays, it is time to move on to the fun stuff – presents! Just like us, your cat will certainly appreciate a gift or two under the tree. As always, think safety first. Supervise play and remove toys when they show signs of wear. Here are a few inexpensive gift ideas your cat will love.

    • Furry little mouse toys will appeal to the great hunter in your cat. (Choose the ones that do not have little plastic eyes and noses.)
    • Kitties love to bat balls around, but remember that there are all textures and types. When choosing a ball, consider whether your cat carries his toys in his mouth or swats them with his paw.
    • If your cat is a catnip aficionado, he may enjoy toys with the refillable pouches. That way you do not have to toss his favorite toy because the catnip has lost its kick, just refill it with fresh herbs and it's good to go.

    While there are a few precautions you should take to ensure a safe home for your cat this holiday season, there are many nice ways to show your appreciation as well.

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    Spray the base of your tree with lemon juice/water solution to dissuade your cat from going near it.