During the Christmas holidays, when people celebrate with family and friends, it is easy to overlook potential hazards to your cat's health and safety.
There are lots of potential dangers hidden in your home.
Cats enjoy playing with ribbons, string, and tinsel - especially if they are shiny or moving.
Kittens and young cats are more curious and they feel these items need to be chased and pounced on, chewed or swallowed.
If you want your kitten to play with string or ribbon only allow when supervised.
If any of these substances are swallowed they become "linear foreign bodies," which cause the intestines to bunch up in a tight ball and often cut through the intestinal wall - which can be life threatening if not treated right away.
Cats also like to chew on cords such as electrical cords, which can cause severe burns to the tongue, or heart and lung damage, and even death.
Chocolate is also toxic to pets as it contains theobromine. The average-sized cat can become poisoned with 11 ounces of mild chocolate or only one to two squares of baker's chocolate.
Symptoms include hyper-excitability, nervousness, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Poinsettias and some mistletoe can be toxic to cats also.
Contrary to popular belief the poinsettia is not specifically poisonous, but rather the sap in the leaves can cause intestinal upset.
Mistletoe can, however, cause liver failure or seizures if ingested.
Christmas lilies are also highly toxic to cats.
And, if you are tempted to share the big Christmas meal with your cat be careful.
If they ingest a large amount of turkey with gravy, it contains a lot of fat and can trigger pancreas upsets.
They may show abdominal pain or vomiting and diarrhea and this often requires hospitalization to treat. If they ingest small bones they can also cause an obstruction that may require surgery.
By observing a few common-sense guidelines, you can share a safe and healthy Christmas holiday with your cats and give thanks for the companionship you enjoy with your four-legged family members.
Veterinarian and owner of Alouette Animal Hospital firstname.lastname@example.org
@ Copyright 2013