Four Tips for a Cat-Safe Celebration

The year-end holidays are a joyous time. Let’s not ruin them with a trip to the vet! We’ve assembled a few tips to keep in mind while you’re decorating and dining to keep your kitty safe this weekend.


The soft glow of candlelight adds warmth to holiday gatherings. It also occasionally adds fire to houses. Cats don’t know this though and may bump candles or the furniture they are on, knocking candles over and causing an emergency.

Pets may also try to play with the flickering flames which will lead to burns and other injuries. We suggest using safe, battery powered candles. The realistic, flickering light will add ambiance to your holiday table but they won’t ruin the celebration if your kitty accidentally pulls the tablecloth.

Tinsel and Ribbon

Glistening tinsel and curly cue ribbons decorate the tree and presents but they pose a risk to cats. Both are fun to play with but are easy to swallow. Once consumed these materials can cause everything from discomfort to death in dogs and cats.

We suggest you avoid these items all together and opt for big, fun-to-bat-around-but-hard-to-eat bows, but if you feel like you can’t live without it, keep your veterinarian’s number on hand and contact them immediately if you suspect your pet might have ingested a decoration.

And…while we realize this is kind of icky…if you see ribbon or tinsel hanging from your cat’s butt – don’t pull it! It may cause internal injury. Contact your vet for assistance.

Holiday Foods

Everyone knows the highlight of the holidays is big meals, snacks and sweets shared with family. But let’s not share some of these items with the cat. Chocolates can cause diarrhea, vomiting and death due to caffeine and methylxanthine content. The general rule is the richer the chocolate the more dangerous it is. Luckily, chocolates aren’t as appealing to cats as they are to their canine companions but if you think your cat has gotten into that tray of fudge you were saving for guests call your vet or the ASPCA’s poison control at (888) 426-4435. (Be aware they do charge a consultation fee for this call.)

Other items you’ll want to keep out away from your cat? Nuts, bones and fat trimmings. Both are choking hazards, can cause digestive issues and fat trimmings can lead to pancreatitis.

But the slice of turkey your cat has been eyeing all day? YES! It is Christmas after all. Feel free to share!

Holiday Plants

Many of you already know that lilies are extremely poisonous cats, and that poinsettias can cause stomach upset — but did you know many other plants can make your cat sick — or worse? Check out the ASPCA’s list of plants!

Luckily, they taste pretty bad, but then your cat also enjoys the smell of you gym shoes so it’s best not to risk it.

Keep in mind also that pine needles, mistletoe and holly are also toxic when ingested. If you must have them, place them out of your cat’s reach!

Have a safe and happy holiday season!