Tips for coping with your feline friend's festive fears

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Read our top tips for keeping your cat calm, happy and healthy over the Christmas period.

The majority of us look forward to Christmas time - after all, it's the season jam-packed with fun, laughter, food and giving - but unfortunately for pets, it can be a time of stress, hazards and anxiety.

Whilst it can be great getting in the spirit of things and putting up decorations galore, playing Christmas music full blast and pulling crackers ten times a day, these are all things which can contribute to animal anxiety.

Lucy Ross, Pets Corner Head of Training, has put some tips together for keeping your pets safe, happy and stress-free over the festive season:

Christmas trees and plants: 

Most Christmas tree species have only a low level of toxicity, but needles can actually cause gastrointestinal upset or even intestinal perforation if consumed. To prevent this from happening, make sure you choose a 'non-drop' species, hoover regularly, keep your tree hydrated (this minimises needle drop) and avoid leaving your pet unsupervised with the tree. Mistletoe, poinsettias and festive berries can all lead to health problems if ingested, so ensure these are kept far out of your pet's reach.

Tree decorations:

As pretty as decorations can be hanging on the tree, they also make a very tempting toy for playful kitties. Unfortunately most toys are very hazardous if ingested - although tinsel is not toxic, ingesting it can cause choking or intestinal blockages. Avoid putting up glass baubles as it's likely these will shatter, which can injure your pet. Make sure you supervise your cat when near the tree as much as possible to ensure accidents don't happen.

Festive food: 

Much of the food we enjoy at Christmas is actually toxic to our pets - some even pose life-threatening consequences, so it's really crucial you know which foods to keep out of their way:

  • Chocolate is extremely toxic to our pets, so if you do find your pet has feasted on chocolate while your back was turned, seek advice from your vet. 
  • Nuts are poisonous to many pets and their consumption should be avoided, so ensure that you don't leave nibbles unattended if your curious pet is prone to tucking in.
  • Grapes and raisins are found in many festive foods - such as mince pies, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake - and can cause kidney failure so ensure that you don't leave these within their reach.

Be on your guard and keep tempting foods away from your pet - and remember that their regular diet is far more beneficial than rich festive 'human' foods.

Wrapping paper, ribbons and gifts:

Be mindful of where you store edible chocolate gifts as your pet may decide to help themselves, especially if they are within easy reach (for example, stowed beneath the Christmas tree.) Discarded ribbons can also become a choking or blockage-causing hazard so dispose of these very carefully, and make sure your cat can't get hold of them easily if they are attached to presents.

Wintry weather:

Be sure to keep your moggy warm when temperatures plummet, to avoid it catching cold. It's also important to consider the storage and use of anti-freeze solution as this tastes very sweet to pets, but even the smallest amount can cause serious kidney damage, or even death.

Of course, it goes without saying that if you have any doubts about your pet's health then you should seek immediate veterinary attention.

Pets Corner is a family-owned and run business with animal welfare at the forefront of everything they do. They supply a wide range of high quality nutritional supplements in store and at www.petscorner.co.uk