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Holiday Dangers for Cats


chocolate point Siamese cat under the Christmas tree

Lily under the Christmas tree


We love the holidays. Our pets can enjoy the changes and sometimes get in the spirit of the new decorations we display throughout our homes.


Dangers Lurk

Easy to miss those hidden dangers while busy planning for the festive season. Decorations, food, gift wrap can pose danger for our 4 legged family members. With a few precautions, you can make the holidays safe and worry free.


The Christmas Tree

Real tree needles on some species can puncture tissues after swallowing. My live trees were always Douglas fir. Smaller and softer needles. Cats chewed them because it was new and interesting.


The sap from trees can be toxic. A little on their paws and they rarely want to encounter the experience again. One of my cats tried to climb the tree. When she got sap on her paw, the plan was aborted.


Another danger is the water in the tree stand. Make sure they don’t have access. Resin and sap from the tree leach into the water, plus additives to the water pose a real danger to their health.


Flocking a tree can be toxic. Yes, guilty of a flocked tree before I knew better. But my cat was an indoor/outdoor and was used to real trees. Only issue was when he threw his new toy in the tree. He brought the tree crashing to the floor.


Artificial Trees

Opted for the artificial ones when the real ones dried out in a warm house. The cats chew on the artificial needles. Once the novelty has worn off, they stop.


If young kittens are still chewing on electrical cords, better to forgo a tree. Little kittens have to be broke of that habit asap. With supervision, I have always been able to stop the habit by 8 weeks of age. You don’t want a kitten biting light strings or light bulbs.


Tree Decorations

Tinsel. Yay, I used around my first cats and now I’m wiser. Just lucky none needed emergency care. Nasty stuff can cause blockage in their little guts. Consider what you never give a baby, for fear of swallowing. Remember, cats test most things with their mouth.


Glass ornaments that fall and break can cause cut paws. Plastic, felt, or any soft, non-breakable ones are safer. What you attach them to the tree with matters. I found large attractive coiled hooks; they keep the ornaments on the tree, even with most cat attacks. When Lucy knocked one ornament off, the hook remained on the tree.


I had shiny thread covered styrofoam balls that seen better days with previous cats. I trimmed off the loose threads and placed the better ones in a container.


Lily got a hold of one and batted it around the living room. Was having lots of fun. She likes to grab stuff and kick with her hind claws. This action caused the threads to come off the balls. Think cotton candy, and she now had a wad in her mouth. Grabbed most of it. Waited for 2 days using rubber gloves to find the rest of it in the litter box. The shiny balls are no longer available for cats.


Know your cat is the best advice. Cookies, popcorn hung on the tree might be fun… but a good idea?


Dangerous Holiday Plants

I have resorted to artificial flowers. Two reasons. One cat munched on my crocuses and the others used to destroy any flower arrangements. My cats are interested in the artificial flowers but most of the time they leave them alone.


Mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, amaryllis, lilies, Christmas cactus. These flowers and plants appear often during the holidays. You may hang mistletoe up high, as in a doorway. But the danger lies if the berries or any leaves fell to the floor. To read more on these plants’ side effects on your pets, check this out.


Dangerous Foods

Cats may circle around like sharks, as you are preparing cooked turkey. Share of course. But stuffing with onions is off limits. It might smell wonderful and have turkey odors. This goes for any other foods you have added the flavors of onion, garlic, black pepper.


We flavor food with spices and seasonings. Not something our pets need. It can cause GI problems or worse. Too much fatty substances can cause issues in the GI tract.


I had a cat once consume 2/3 cube of butter. Disillusioned it was safe on the counter. The consumption had consequences. A very greasy bottom and smelly poop for a few days. Offered her butter a few times after, just to test her. She backed off and didn’t try it again. Butter is now never unguarded.


Make sure your guests or children don’t feed your pets without checking with you first. Be sure to put unattended food away. Amazing how quickly they can pounce when you’re not watching and snag a bite. Consider for safety before guests arrive, to put your 4-legged family members closed in a room with food, water, and litter box.


After guests leave, make sure no glasses or plates contain an extra snack the cats might grab. Then let them out to investigate. A danger for poisoning if they consume a food or drink toxic to them.


Note: Cats are a curious bunch and you have to outsmart them.

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