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How to Keep Your CH Cat Safe During the Winter Holidays

December 18, 2011

Photo courtesy kekka

Sometimes if we’re lucky, some holiday moments can seem as if they’re straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting: Your family is gathered together, your home is decorated — but, oh wait, your cat has climbed into the Christmas tree and is gnawing on a strand of lights.

Even if you can’t relate to that “festive” moment, the holidays can present some serious challenges and safety issues when it comes to your pet. While most of us are familiar with them, it never hurts to be reminded. Here are a few tips that will help ensure that you all have a safe and merry holiday.


The holidays just wouldn’t be the same without lights and decorations; however, they can lead to some safety risks. Here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Christmas trees: Some CH cats are great climbers, and they may view your tree as the ultimate Christmas present. Make sure your tree is sturdy, and watch your cat to see if she has an interest in climbing it. Pile presents or pillows at the bottom to prevent her from climbing up. Either way, make sure your tree is quite sturdy, just in case your cat tumbles into its base. Click here for more on Christmas trees.
  • Ornaments: While we’re on the topic, check the ornaments at the bottom of the tree to make sure they’re all unbreakable. You may also want to remove delicate and sentimental ornaments to be safe — you can always put them on display somewhere where your cat can’t reach them. Similarly, reconsider edible ornaments and garland, as they’ll serve as a month-long temptation to your pets.
  • Other decorations: Imitation snow (flocking), Angel hair (finely spun fiberglass used in vintage decorations or even the current PVC type), present-wrapping ribbon and, most of all, tinsel can lead to serious issues if your cat ingests it. Tinsel is one of the most dangerous decorations out there, as it can lead to intestinal obstruction, which can be deadly.

Fire Hazards

Photo courtesy juliesjournal

  • Holiday lights: It’s an age-old mystery, but for some reason some cats love to chew on cords. Be especially careful this time of year as there are more light strands and extension cords out. Cover your tree’s light strands with a tree skirt (or more pillows and presents), and tuck away others in a similar fashion if possible. If your cat still insists on finding and chewing on the cords, try a deterrent like a bitter apple spray.
  • Candles: Another obvious one, but make sure any candles you light are a safe distance away from your cat and tree. Purchase sturdy candles — they’re less likely to tip over and start a fire if your CH cat accidentally runs into it’s table leg.
  • Fireplaces: Supervise your CH cats carefully, as fireplaces can lead to burned whiskers and paws. If your cat is extra wobbly, you may to make sure that she stays a safe distance away at all times. Purchase a fireplace screen if you haven’t already, and make sure it’s securely fastened.


You can find more specifics about toxic holiday plants here, but in general keep the following plants away from your cat: Mistletoe, Holly, Christmas Cactus, Amaryllis, Lilies and Poinsettias. If possible, opt for plastic plants; or if you can’t supervise your cat around these plants, hide the plants in a bathroom until you’re ready to put them on (supervised) display.


Photo courtesy CaptPiper

As much as we’d like to share our delicious holiday feasts with our CH kitties, remember that many human foods can be harmful to cats.

Take a moment to look over the list of unsafe holiday foods here, and remember that foods like milk and cream can upset your cat’s stomach, while onions, garlic, alcohol and chocolate can lead to a much more serious problem.

Similarly, don’t forget to take out your trash, or lock your garbage can’s lid — just in case your cat’s curiosity gets the best of her.

Outside Dangers

Winter brings a number of outside dangers; here are two great reasons to wipe off your feet before you walk inside:

  • Antifreeze: Although most formulas have changed, some antifreezes still have a sweet taste that pets love. Unfortunately, antifreeze contains an extremely toxic chemical that causes many pet deaths each year. If you spill any in your garage, clean it up; even if your cat doesn’t have garage access, you could still bring some into your home on your shoes.
  • Salt and other ice-melting chemicals: Even if you use a pet-safe product, remember that your neighbors may not, and you’ll very well carry those chemicals and salt-chunks into your home. Wipe off your feet and vacuum up any salt you may track in.
What pet precautions do you take around the holidays? Please share in the comments!

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