Holiday Season | Dr. Elsey's
cat with christmas tree

Holiday Season

The Holiday season is upon us so I thought it would be good time to discuss some holiday hazards to avoid for cats. Many of my friends refer to the holiday season as BC (before cats) and how they have had to adjust their decorating life to accommodate their cats.

Plants are popular around the holiday season and some of these plants can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Some plants that need to be keep away from cats are poinsettia, mistletoe, and holly. I like to always err on the side of caution – so I don’t allow these plants in my house – if you do please keep them away from your cat’s reach and if your cat does come in contact with them, it is a good idea to have your veterinarian check your cat right away.

Christmas trees can be another source of frustration when you have a cat. I have extreme allergies to trees and so does one of my cats, so I don’t have a live Christmas tree – if you do, don’t allow your cat to drink the water under the tree. There may be a fertilizer added to the water that may be poisonous so it is good idea to always keep the water covered well with a heavy tree skirt. The Christmas tree itself can be a problem for many cats. Our designer Lynn’s cat Ling Ling (pictured) is a rascal and climbs her Christmas “palm tree” – at least all the ornaments are at the top!

Ribbons and tinsel can also become foreign bodies in the cat’s intestine and may require surgery. So, I avoid tinsel on the tree and I don’t put any packages around the tree with ribbon until they are opened under close supervision and away from my cats.

The holiday season is also a time for a lot of good food. Be careful not to over do it by giving your cats different food that may cause digestive upset. I cook a turkey breast about once a week for my cats so they are use to having turkey on their canned cat food but you need to go slow and be careful how much food you are giving them. Also, don’t allow them to eat sweet foods like chocolate, which can be hazardous for cats.

Last but not least, the holiday season is a busy time and cats do get stressed and they don’t like change. This type of stressful activity can cause a cat to have inappropriate elimination issues. It is a good idea, if you have a lot of people over, to place your cats in a quiet room with a radio playing softly. Make sure to put their litter boxes, food, water bowls and toys in their room so they feel safe and secure. It will also help avoid them escaping with people coming and going. It is always a good idea to minimize the stress in the household as much as possible especially during the busy holiday season.

Wishing you and your cats a safe and happy holiday and please remember to give your cats a hug.