How to keep your cat safe during the holidays

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Holiday cat safety tips - Tips to keep your cats safe around the holidays
Holiday cat safety tips – My kitty, Whiskers, posing patiently with a Christmas hat.

We are happy cat people with five furry feline companions. While we consider our kitties safety throughout the year, we take extra precautions during the holiday season. New things enter our homes at Christmas and cats are curious by nature. That curiosity sometimes gets them into trouble. Here are some tips to help keep your cat safe during the holidays.

Opt for Artificial

Opt for artificial plants. Not only are they safer, they are also lower maintenance. Artificial plants keep your cat safe from accidental ingestion of poisonous flowers.
Opt for artificial plants. Not only are they safer, but they are also lower maintenance.

Don’t panic. I’m not talking about your pantry. I’m talking plants.  Confession? I prefer artificial plants year round anyway because they are easier to water! However, on a serious note, holly, lilies, and mistletoe can cause heart failure in pets. While poinsettias aren’t highly toxic, they can cause vomiting and loose bowels in cats. Fallen pine needles fascinate cats. Ingesting these little barbs can puncture intestines. Additionally, real trees need water and fertilizers. Water attracts cats, and tree fertilizers are not flavor shots for cat water.

In short, artificial plants are safer than many live plants. If you want live plants in your home, try growing catnip! It’s easy to raise and helps with hairball control.

Forego the Tinsel

Nothing tantalizes cats more than stringy things. Last month, my son’s emotional support cat, Dust, began acting lethargic and cranky. She wouldn’t eat and avoided the litter box. So, we took her to the vet. Xrays revealed gas backed up in her intestines and the vet suspected Dust swallowed a string. After an overnight hospital stay accompanied by an enema, Dust passed the string. She was luckier than many cats. Sometimes, the string becomes so entwined in the intestines making expensive surgery or euthanization the only options.

Tuck away dangling wires

Tie up dangling wires to keep your cat safe from dangerous electric shock or house fires.
While kitty with the lights makes a cute supervised photo, tie up dangling cables and hang lights out of your cat’s reach.

Two of my cats eat wires. It’s just what they do. I wrap any exposed wire in a plastic casing made for the purpose. It’s difficult to do that with Christmas lights, though. Your best bet is to tuck dangling wires out of sight and supervise your cat around holiday decorations. Avoid putting lights on the lower limbs, as well. Securely fasten wires on wall-mounted decorations to the wall. Also, use something like Ssscat Spray to keep your cat away from the tree. If the device senses movement, it blasts a spritz of air at the cat. They don’t like the hissing sounds and avoid the location.

People food is not suitable for cats

Besides being loaded with calories your cat doesn’t need, some people food is harmful to pets. Notoriously dangerous chocolate, alcohol, and xylitol aren’t the only kitty cat dangers lurking in the kitchen. Cover trash cans and put away leftovers. Get your cats a special treat just for them. Opt for a flavor they do not usually get.

I know my cats love rabbit cat food and their favorite is Instinct by Nature. It’s made in America without grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, artificial colors or preservatives. Since it’s not a flavor they get often, it’s a real treat, and they don’t have to feel left out for the holiday feasting!

Candles

Supervise lit candles. A curious cat can burn himself or start a house fire.

Keep your cat safe around visitors

Our cats live indoors. We don’t allow them outdoors because we live in the woods with coyotes, owls, and other predators higher on the food chain. When we entertain more people, we allow our cats a room to themselves. While it keeps the cats from bolting for the open door (and knocking down frail and aging guests), it also prevents guests from feeding your cats people food. One of our cats has kidney disease and needs a special diet. Some guests ignore my most urgent pleadings not to feed our cats foods we do not give them. Also, our most timid kitties (Autumn and Mittens) prefer the quiet bedroom seclusion to a large crowd. After the crowd thins out and leftover food is put away, I bring the cats out to socialize and interact with the remaining guests.

Follow these tips to help keep your cat safe from accidental injury or illness this Christmas.
Follow these tips to help keep your cat safe from accidental injury or illness this Christmas.
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Happily married to the love of my life. It's just us, our 5 cats, and our beautiful woods. I'm loving living back in the Florida panhandle being close to family. I love cooking, living a healthy lifestyle, taking care of our cozy home, and trying new things.

We enjoy hosting parties and my husband and I are both avid gamers. You can find me on PS4 as SunshineFlaGirl. We also play tabletop RPGs and eurogames.

Alicia Taylor

Happily married to the love of my life. It's just us, our 5 cats, and our beautiful woods. I'm loving living back in the Florida panhandle being close to family. I love cooking, living a healthy lifestyle, taking care of our cozy home, and trying new things.

We enjoy hosting parties and my husband and I are both avid gamers. You can find me on PS4 as SunshineFlaGirl. We also play tabletop RPGs and eurogames.

74 Comments

  • Holly Lasha

    February 28, 2018 - 11:57 am

    These are some great tips. Thanks for working so hard to keep cats safe.

  • Ni'Kesia Pannell

    January 29, 2018 - 7:20 pm

    My sister will definitely need this for future reference!

  • Nati

    December 28, 2017 - 3:10 pm

    I don’t have a pet, but I’ll pass this article to my friend who do! there is definitely a lot to be paying attention to!

  • Befitting Style

    December 26, 2017 - 10:11 pm

    I’m not into animals but I think fake flowers or plants are so pretty. Especially the ones that look real.

  • fabiolazefi

    December 24, 2017 - 7:14 pm

    LOL. Ridiculously cute. I have a dog so I totally know the feeling. Gotta keep everything far away.

  • alainamonster

    December 22, 2017 - 1:40 pm

    I have thought about the tinsel being a hazard for my fur baby – But I never thought about household plants! I’m going to switch them out for artificial for sure! Thank you for this list 😀

  • Sneha Lodha

    December 22, 2017 - 10:04 am

    I love cats but my mom don’t allow me keep pets. Keeping cats safe from all the situation is just as important as protecting children.

  • Thehyppomyselfthecat

    December 22, 2017 - 5:53 am

    Great tips indeed! I love the Christmas season but I realize that for my cat, between the decoration, the amount of food around and the firecrackers, it is not so much fun as it is for me. My cat constantly plays with the Christmas tree (a fake plastic one) with a high risk of ingesting pieces of plastic and she is terrified of firecrackers!

  • Cia Black

    December 21, 2017 - 7:56 pm

    These are very important tips, I know the first year we had out cat and a tree it was a bit of a learning curve for the both of us, he was just a kitten and now we had a tree in our living room, luckily we had no incidence but we did find him hiding amongst the branches a few times…

  • Kozy Up With Kris

    December 21, 2017 - 7:40 pm

    What a great reminder to take extra care during the holiday seasons when things get a little different around the house for your pets! We have two dogs that are very curious about our ornaments. Luckily they haven’t tried to eat anything yet.

  • instantfamilyofsix

    December 21, 2017 - 4:24 pm

    Excellent! I had no idea about tinsel and poinsettia can cause harm! We have a dog and two babies! I am sure this blog post applies to them as well ! Thank you!

  • Taslyn Russell

    December 21, 2017 - 2:04 pm

    These are such good tips my grandmother had two cats I tried feeding them some of my dinner when I was little and she said the same thing about people food not being good for them. I didn’t know about the plants affecting them in that way will keep this in mind.

    TaslynMatina

  • chewoutloud

    December 14, 2017 - 11:48 pm

    These are some new ones I never knew! I don’t have cats, but always have dogs around. Now I’m wondering if some of these are harmful to pups as well.

    • Alicia Taylor

      December 15, 2017 - 7:45 am

      Yes – poinsettias are also not good for dogs. Mistletoe is toxic to both as well. People food can lead to pancreatitis. It doesn’t hurt to be too cautious

  • Autumn

    December 14, 2017 - 9:20 pm

    We’ve got to look out for our fur babies! Great reminders to be proactive and keep our kitties safe during the holidays and always. Thank you.

  • Crystal Gareau

    December 14, 2017 - 8:36 pm

    Great tips to keep cats safe during the holidays.

  • Emily

    December 14, 2017 - 10:45 am

    The picture with the cat next to the Christmas tree made my heart melt.

  • melclayville

    December 14, 2017 - 4:25 am

    Thanks for these tips! I sick, hurt, lost kitty is sure to ruin any holiday celebration. I remember one time having a play date for my toddler and after everyone left, we found our cat with a tuft of hair missing. Poor thing. From then on, we kept her in a room with the door locked when we had young kids over.

    • Alicia Taylor

      December 14, 2017 - 8:19 am

      Aww! That’s sad. Poor kitty. I wonder what happened to her? And yes, I had a cat in the hospital over Thanksgiving a few years ago. It wasn’t preventable (he has kidney issues), but it’s still puts a damper trying to entertain when you really miss your baby.

  • joyouslyjess

    December 13, 2017 - 7:59 pm

    I have so many friends who will benefit from this post! I hear so many of them are down and sometimes forgo any holiday decorations because of their feline friend.

  • lucicoo

    December 13, 2017 - 6:33 pm

    Really helpful tips to keep cats safe for the holidays. Thank you for sharing them.

  • Vasundhra

    December 13, 2017 - 1:41 pm

    I am sure everyone is careful regarding the safety of these innocent animals but holiday season can get exhausting. This is an excellent guide for all pet owners to ensure that their cats are safe.

  • Emma, PathofPresence

    December 13, 2017 - 1:35 pm

    I haven’t owned a cat for a long time, but remember that precautions DO need to be made for our special furr babies. Your tips are really helpful to help cat owners be mindful and keep kitty out of harms way.

  • Diana

    December 13, 2017 - 12:43 pm

    Cats way to enjoy holidays decorations is so funny! I wish they would be able to understand what they are not allowed to do ahhahaha

  • Samantha

    December 13, 2017 - 12:12 pm

    These are important tips that some people don’t think about. I worked in the vet field for 9 years and had to tell owners about stuff like this all the time. It seems like every holiday season, we’d see at least one cat who ate a poinsettia leaf or tinsel. And course dogs eating table food they shouldn’t have and then their owners were confused why they got sick.

    • Alicia Taylor

      December 14, 2017 - 8:20 am

      Yes. So many people think it’s ok to feed pets table food, but it’s really not. It can cause pancreatitis and unnecessary weight gain.

  • Are We Adults Yet

    December 13, 2017 - 11:53 am

    Such wonderful advice, really great tips to keep in mind during the holidays. With 5 cats, you are a total pro!

  • Courtney Blacher

    December 13, 2017 - 11:21 am

    Those are awesome tips! This is the time where are cats are sensitive and need double care and protection.

  • Elizabeth O

    December 13, 2017 - 10:02 am

    These are such an awesome and wonderful advice on how to keep our cat safe during Holidays. I’m gonna share this with my sister-in-law. I think she needed this.

  • Candy Rachelle

    December 13, 2017 - 9:38 am

    Those are such awesome, adorable and lovable tips on how to keep our pussy safe. I will suggest this to a friend of mine. She needed these.

  • Claire

    December 13, 2017 - 9:25 am

    What a cutey! Christmas is definitely a hazardous time for pets so this guide is really useful!

  • Dawn Nieves

    December 13, 2017 - 8:28 am

    By the way your cats are adorable!

  • drewandtrishstravelsandadventures

    December 13, 2017 - 7:33 am

    We do a fake tree and flowers around the house for my cats and my dogs. These are some great tips!

    • Alicia Taylor

      December 13, 2017 - 8:42 am

      You are welcome. I hope you find them very helpful.

  • Tiffany Yong

    December 13, 2017 - 7:23 am

    Only pet owners will understand the pain and worries of having cats and the furnitures + decorations that will cause potential damage and harm! I don’t get to have pets of my own so I won’t understand~

  • Ellie Plummer

    December 13, 2017 - 6:01 am

    I currently don’t have any pets but this was really useful for the future. Thanks for these tips.

  • Corinne and Kirsty

    December 13, 2017 - 4:10 am

    I think our cats are quite well behaved because they are quite good during holiday season. Like no jumps on and off the tree ahah! But yeah, candles all around so that might be something to pay more attention to

    • Alicia Taylor

      December 13, 2017 - 8:44 am

      All animals are different. In general, my cats leave my tree alone, but I have to wrap anything that resembles a wire because one of them eats them. I have another that eats plants (or tries to use it as a litterbox).

  • Taylor Smart

    December 13, 2017 - 3:21 am

    yeah its so stressful! my cat has a love for chewing wires and we are always trying to hide them! Now its christmas its even more difficult!

  • Dia Darling (@Diadoll)

    December 12, 2017 - 10:47 pm

    Awe. I’m super allergic to cats. So to stay safe we should all avoid each other (me and the cats). LOL A lot of these are great reminders for puppies and even babies.

    • Alicia Taylor

      December 13, 2017 - 8:45 am

      Yes – I’m sure pooch owners and young parents could definitely put these tips to use. But babies – wow – so much more to do, like babyproof outlets.

  • Nisi Wanders

    December 12, 2017 - 7:06 pm

    GREAT TIPS, THANKS FOR SHARING. THE HOLIDAYS CAN GET SO BUSY WE CAN OVERLOOK THESE TYPES OF THINGS

  • Different Frame of Mind

    December 12, 2017 - 6:44 pm

    This is a really awesome post, I use these tips for my dogs as well. I will definitely keep all of these tips in mind for my pets. I love poinsettias but I know they are harmful so I never keep them around.

    • Alicia Taylor

      December 13, 2017 - 8:46 am

      One of the other commenters said she decorates her porch with poinsettias. I think that’s a great idea.

  • Venus Fitness-Shannon

    December 12, 2017 - 6:10 pm

    We forego tinsel and real poinsettias for our cat. She stays away from the tree for the most part.

  • Louise x (@withlovefromlou)

    December 12, 2017 - 6:06 pm

    Aww, Whiskers is the cutest! These are all great tips for keeping cats safe this Christmas 🙂

    Louise x

    • Alicia Taylor

      December 13, 2017 - 8:47 am

      Thank you. I miss her. She died a couple of years ago. I handfed her as a baby and she was 20 when she died, so it was so hard to say goodbye.

  • Emily Fata

    December 12, 2017 - 4:29 pm

    Yes, it’s so important to keep your purr babies safe during the holiday season! I’m always trying to be so aware of dangers to my pets, but sometimes things can totally slip your mind — this was a great reminder of everything I should be keeping my eyes peeled for. Thank you!

  • Quirky Homemaker (@QuirkyHomemaker)

    December 12, 2017 - 4:18 pm

    These are great tips for keeping your cat safe at Christmas time! Ours doesn’t usually bother our lights, but I’m always reminded of Christmas Vacation!

  • Alicia

    December 12, 2017 - 4:16 pm

    These are great tips! I have two cats of my own and am always having to think of them when it comes to things around the home that they might be able to get in to!

  • Kristin

    December 12, 2017 - 1:04 pm

    We opt for a fake tree because my kitties love getting all up in there too much. Haha! Great safety tips!

  • Ithfifi Williams / IthinityBeauty

    December 12, 2017 - 12:19 pm

    Great advice! My little boy also likes the seclusion of the bedroom. He’s very socialable but he just finds it too much with two under 7’s running around. I didn’t know about the plants, luckily we don’t really get any living plants for the season.

  • Kendra W.

    December 12, 2017 - 11:17 am

    These are great tips! I don’t have a cat, but I have a friend that does and I will make sure to pass these tips along to her.

  • Cia Black

    December 12, 2017 - 9:08 am

    These are very important tips, I know the first year we had out cat and a tree it was a bit of a learning curve for the both of us, he was just a kitten and now we had a tree in our living room, luckily we had no incidence but we did find him hiding amongst the branches a few times.

  • acraftymix

    December 12, 2017 - 7:49 am

    Ahhhh we have 4 purr babies and 3 fur babies and we have to be so careful over the festive season. We try not to go away especially over New Year with all the fire crackers since two of our purr babies are absolutely petrified when they go off and tend to just run

    • Alicia Taylor

      December 12, 2017 - 8:59 am

      I understand that. Most of September, we were away from home so I had my son come sit with them (and my nephew and his wife), to make sure they were always with someone they knew well.

  • Jodi Major

    December 12, 2017 - 7:22 am

    Great tips. Glad I don’t have to think about these things when decorating my pet free home. So much you don’t consider if you don’t have pets. Awesome ideas!

    • Alicia Taylor

      December 12, 2017 - 9:00 am

      Yeah – now that my kids are grown, I am the same way when people talk about baby-proofing.

  • Rebecca Bryant

    December 12, 2017 - 6:26 am

    Great tips. We are very cautious of our fur babies at the holidays there is so much for them to get into that could hurt them.

  • Joanna Davis

    December 12, 2017 - 5:17 am

    I am lucky that my cats have never been interested in the Christmas tree or the decorations, so I never worry about this. However, they do get terrified of fireworks so I always make sure that on New Years Eve I am there with them and try to don’t have anything that might hurt them around the house when they hear the first bang and rush in random directions to find a hiding spot.

    • Alicia Taylor

      December 12, 2017 - 9:01 am

      You are very lucky indeed. I have one cat, Buttons-who-shall-be-named, who thinks eating wires is a pasttime.

  • maria

    December 12, 2017 - 4:13 am

    no cats here, but I do have a puppy that just wants to play and try to eat everything so i can relate completely to your worries! and another thing i have to lookout for: plates at the near ends of the table!

    • Alicia Taylor

      December 12, 2017 - 9:01 am

      Oh yeah! I have to watch that, too! My cats are very sneaky indeed!

  • Tiffany Khyla

    December 12, 2017 - 12:50 am

    I don’t have a cat or any pets at the moment, so I don’t actually have to worry about any of this. It’s so important to make your home pet-friendly though. When I did have a dog, I made sure that it was safe for her and that I didn’t leave anything out that she could get into.

  • andawnn

    December 11, 2017 - 9:14 pm

    These are great tips to keep the kitties safe. I remember when Iw as growing up we couldn’t have pointsettias or tinsel because our cats would always try to eat them.

  • tanviidotcom

    December 11, 2017 - 9:00 pm

    I don’t have pets … but a few friends do. They would find your post helpful. Will share it with them 🙂

  • Scott

    December 11, 2017 - 7:35 pm

    As I’m reading this, I’m looking at our neighbor’s cat wandering down the road. It’s snowing out and he doesn’t seem to care at all!

  • Alecia

    December 11, 2017 - 7:10 pm

    The first year I had a fake pre-lit tree my cat tried her hardest to kill herself with it. She climbed into the tree and got her head wrapped up in the lights. She fell out of the tree (still wrapped up) when I walked in the room and the only way I could get her free was to cut the lights. That was the last time I ever had a pre-lit tree!

    • Alicia Taylor

      December 12, 2017 - 9:02 am

      Wow! I always found prelit trees worked better because the lights were attached to the branches. Poor kitty! I’m so sorry that happened – but glad you got to her in time.

  • Adriana Martin

    December 11, 2017 - 5:03 pm

    I have four kitties so I know what you mean we need to keep them safe as they like to wander around everywhere. Love poinsettas but those I place outside never inside.

    • Alicia Taylor

      December 11, 2017 - 6:21 pm

      Yes – they are beautiful outside, as well.

  • Lois Alter Mark

    December 11, 2017 - 4:09 pm

    For all pets, the holiday season can be extraordinarily stressful and full of various dangers- this list is a super helpful reminder to make sure things stay safe for everyone. Will be sending it over to my daughter who just got a puppy!

  • Alicia

    December 11, 2017 - 1:03 pm

    Thank you for this post! We have 2 cats, so this is extremely helpful for us. I will be marking this post as favorites to come back to.

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