The Dangers of Holiday Plants and Ornaments for Cats

The holiday season is around the corner with all the festivities it brings. As you gear up for the holidays, make sure to keep in mind the hazards holiday plants and ornaments may pose. With a few adjustments and careful planning, you and your furry friend can enjoy a safe, joyous, and peaceful holiday season.

Toxic Plants

We all enjoy making our homes festive for the holidays, but did you know that many plants we use for decoration are toxic to cats? Holly, if ingested, can cause your pet to suffer nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Mistletoe contains substances toxic to cats, which can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems.

Lilies are an absolute no-no, with many varieties being extremely toxic to cats, potentially causing kidney failure if ingested. Poinsettias are holiday favorites, but they carry an irritating sap that can give your feline friend an upset stomach, and can cause blistering in the mouth.

Many plants are treated with pesticides, so your pet could be at risk of getting ill from ingesting the pesticide. If brightening your home with holiday plants is a must, make sure to keep your cat's health a priority. Place any foliage well out of your cat’s reach, or maybe consider opting for imitation holiday plants.

Holiday Decorations

Many of us decorate our homes with fresh Christmas trees. The oils produced by fir trees can be irritating to your furry friend’s mouth and stomach. The tree needles pose a significant danger, with a potential of causing gastrointestinal irritation, obstruction, or even a puncture. Because tree water stands still, it often harbors harmful bacteria. Fertilizers or insecticides on the tree may also get into the water, so make sure to prevent access using a tree skirt or other means.

Decorations on your tree can also pose a hazard to your cat. Kitties love sparkly tinsel, which if ingested, can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, and maybe even surgery. Shards from breakable ornaments can cause damage to your pet’s mouth and digestive tract, while electrical cords on your Christmas tree lights could potentially lead to an electric shock. Unplug lights when you leave the room, use pet-proof extension cords, and spray wires with a product such as Chew Stop.

Make sure to be mindful of how you wrap the gifts left under your tree. Ribbons, yarn, and string around a gift can be dangerous to your pet, with a potential for causing intestinal obstruction and bunching of the intestine. These conditions could require surgery and may be fatal.

Keep Your Kitty Safe

With the upcoming festivities during the holidays, keep cat health a priority and avoid bringing potential dangers into your home. If you must, put the items well away from your cat’s reach, or use decorations that do not pose a hazard to your pet. Most importantly, don’t forget to relax and enjoy some quality time with your kitty. That's the best gift you can give to your precious pet!

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