"Purr" through the holidays

Mack enjoying his Xmas tree shelter in 2005.  © Kathy Covey

Mack enjoying his Xmas tree shelter in 2005.  © Kathy Covey

Just like you, I read the plethora of “how to keep your pet safe during the holiday” tips through the eyes of an experienced pet owner.  Of course we all know not to leave burning candles unattended.  And that breakables need to be out of reach.

My ideas on keeping Mack safe through the holidays have changed over the years.  When he was young and more active, things were different.  Back in the day he would climb the tree; today he gazes as it through mostly blind eyes. 

Today, Mack can’t jump up on counters to investigate or snack on unattended leftovers.  Even the most curious cats can figure out how to lift the foil loosely covering the tempting turkey.  Make sure lids are secure.  Better yet, put those leftovers in the fridge — or in the hands of happy visitors as they depart — as soon as possible. 

I have many photos of Mack sleeping under our Christmas tree, looking for all the world like the gift he is.  If you have a fresh-cut tree, know the water reservoir can be perceived by your best friend as a new water bowl.  Avoid using preservatives that are not pet safe, especially aspirin.  If you can find a way to cover the water reservoir completely, that’s best.

Mack liked to rub his face along our tree’s lower branches, sometimes, nipping at the needles.  Oils from a live tree can cause stomach irritation, which can get worse if your cat ingests needles.  Like trying to keep your cat off the counters when you’re at work, it may be impossible to keep your cat away from the tree while you’re away.  If you notice any nibbling, or if your cat seems to be “off,” a trip to the vet may be a good idea.

Since Mack practically lived under the tree with the presents, I avoided curling ribbon like the plague.  Ingesting this bright, festive embellishment can cause serious GI trouble for your cat and is best avoided at all costs (same goes for tinsel on the tree).

As a super senior cat, these days Mack prefers curling up on his heated bed over getting involved with all the trappings of the holidays.  This year I will purr through the holidays with ease since age has dimmed his curiosity and his ability to get into mischief with ornaments and gifts.

Find more of my “keep your pet safe during the holiday” tips at: http://catadoptionteam.org/pdf/Cat_a_Safe_and_Happy_Holiday_Season.pdf.