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Holiday Tips For Cats

holiday tips for cats


Christmas is just a little over a month away!  I can’t believe the year is almost over–again.  Where do the days go?  Sometimes we get so busy we don’t realize the impact this time of year can have on our cats, too.  Therefore, as we usher in the holiday season this week with Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a few holiday tips for cats to help keep them safe and stress-free.

Cat food and treats

The first holiday tip for cats involves food.  While it may be difficult to watch our own diet throughout the holidays, remember our cats are carnivores.  It’s so important to keep sweets, dairy products and fatty foods out of our cats’ diet during this season of celebration.  By doing so you will avoid digestive upsets and bouts of pancreatitis.  It’s ok to offer bites of raw or cooked meats–just do so mindfully because these calories add up!  If you feed your cat bone-in meat make sure it’s raw and not cooked.  Raw bones are great for cats’ teeth and scraping off tartar and plaque.  

In case your cat eats something that doesn’t agree with his digestive system you may want to keep the homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica 30C on hand.  Usually a dose or two will do the trick getting his body back in balance.  

Tinsel and ribbons

Several holiday tips for cats center around the decorations and items that resemble cat toys.  I don’t know who enjoys wrapping holiday gifts more–me or my cats!  They love attacking the shreds of discarded gift wrap and ribbons.  Does your cat like to eat the curling ribbons and strings?   This can be very dangerous as the  materials can end up getting lodged in the intestinal tract.  Therefore, always keep an eye on your cat around string, tinsel and ribbon.  You may want to wait until last minute to add the bows and strings to packages, especially if your cat will have access to them.  

Many years ago my cat, Snowbear, ate a piece of curling ribbon, unbeknownst to my husband and I.  Luckily it passed through his intestinal tract without incident but had a little trouble coming out the other end.  After visiting the litter box Snowbear suddenly began running through the house as though he were being chased.  A few minutes later we started to notice the foul odor of poop fill the air.  To our horror the ribbon was stuck to some poop hanging out of his butt, and he was running all over the place trying to get away from it!  After “rescuing” him, it took half an hour to hunt down and clean up all the mess he left behind.  Lesson learned.

Christmas trees for cats

Photo credit: Unknown

Christmas tree strategies

Some cats just cannot resist a good Christmas tree.  From their perspective it looks like a new cat tree to climb and hide in.  And it has strings of lights, along with cute ornaments dangling from every branch!  What more could they ask for?  

With this in mind decorate accordingly.  I leave the bottom branches ornament-free to avoid finding my floor covered with ornaments that Aylen has knocked off.  If you have a live tree make sure your cat does not have access to drink the water in the stand.  If your cat attempts to climb it, you may want to keep a spray bottle, noise maker or cat toy on hand to redirect their attention and discourage the behavior.  

Sitting under the tree can be just as fun for a cat.  It’s the perfect place to nap, hide and spy on everyone else.  In order to make sure your tree doesn’t topple over make sure its base is firmly secured and balanced.  Or consider raising it up to further ensure your cat can’t access it.


Cats and Christmas lights

Photo credit: mollytamalecat on Instagram

Extension cords and lights

Oftentimes our holiday decorations involve extension cords and lighting.  From a cat’s perspective these can be irresistible and fun to play with.  In order to avoid accidents and electrocution, secure or cover all cords and make sure they are out of kitty’s reach.

Candles and fireplaces 

By nature cats are very curious and love warm, cozy spaces.  In the wintertime snoozing in front of a nice warm fire may be a favorite place, so you have to make sure it’s safe.  Make sure you keep a screen in front of the fireplace so that your kitty can’t get too close and prevent walking in the ashes when the fireplace is not in use.  

Candles, even though they may smell amazing, may not be safe for cats.  An article by The Two Crazy Cat Ladies describes the dangers of commercial candles:

“Most commercial candles are made with paraffin, which is residue from petroleum, and can be harmful to both us and our cats.  in fact, breathing in fumes from paraffin candles is compared to inhaling diesel fumes.  The Florida Department of Health conducted studies and found that the soot from the candle emissions was similar to diesel engine exhaust.”  

For safer, non-toxic alternatives choose organic candles made from coconut, beeswax and soy.  These burn longer and are environmentally friendly, too.  


Christmas safety tips for cats


Plants and flowers

Another holiday tip for cats concerns popular holiday plants.  Even though they are beautiful, some plants and flowers are toxic to cats.  Holiday favorites like poinsettias, lilies, amaryllis, and even mistletoe can make your cat very sick and end up with a trip to the emergency clinic.  Instead, keep these plants outside and away from your indoor cats or opt for silk flowers instead.  Keeping some organic cat grass available for your cat to nibble on instead gives kitties who like to chew on plants a safer, healthier alternative.

Provide kitty a quiet, safe place to hangout

The final tips focus on managing holiday stress.  Sharing the holidays with loved ones and friends makes the season special, but your cat may not feel the same way about all your holiday guests!  Therefore, make sure your kitty has a quiet place to retreat to away from noise, children and unfamiliar guests.  Using flower essences like Mimulus (fear), Rock Rose or Rescue Remedy (calming) or the homeopathic blend Cat Calm can help keep your cat relaxed and stress-free naturally.  I don’t recommend using pheromone plugins because they contain synthetic chemicals which are not good for our cats–or humans–to breathe.

Managing holiday stress as a cat parent

Finally, it’s important to remember to find ways to relieve our own stress as cat parents during the holidays.  Often times our cats mirror and take on our own emotions; left unchecked these can manifest into physical symptoms.  With this in mind, here are several ways to alleviate our own stress this holiday season:

  • Make time to exercise regularly
  • Learn to say no–don’t overextend yourself
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night
  • Meditate every day, even if it’s just 10-15 minutes
  • Diffuse veterinarian approved, cat-friendly essential oils that help you relax
  • Spend time hanging out with your cat

Creating a safe, stress-free environment for your cat this holiday season requires looking at the world through your cat’s eyes and perspective.  Furthermore, carving out ways to reduce your own stress will help you relax and enjoy the festivities!  

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