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Winter and Holiday Hazards for Cats

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Here are some tips for keeping your cats out of danger during the holiday season.

AVOID Holiday Food Items That Could Cause Problems For Your Cat

Alcoholic beverages
Chocolate (baker's, semi-sweet, milk chocolate)
Coffee (grounds, beans, chocolate covered espresso beans)
Moldy or spoiled foods
Onions, onion powder
Yeast dough


Lilies that may be found in holiday flower arrangements could be deadly to your cat. Many types of lily, such as Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, and the Casa Blanca, can cause kidney failure in cats.
Poinsettias are generally over-rated in toxicity. If ingested, poinsettias can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, and may cause mild vomiting or nausea.

Mistletoe has the potential to cause cardiovascular problems. However, mistletoe ingestion usually only causes gastrointestinal upset.

Holly ingestion could cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and lethargy.


Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers, which, if ingested, can cause stomach upset. Stagnant tree water can be breeding grounds for bacteria, which can also lead to vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea, if ingested.

Electric cords - Avoid pet exposure to electric cords. If they were chewed, they could electrocute your cat. Cover up or hide electric cords, never let your cat chew on them.

Ribbons or tinsel can get caught up in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction.

Batteries contain corrosives. If ingested they can cause ulceration to the mouth, tongue, and the rest of the gastrointestinal tract.

Glass ornaments can cut the tissues of the gastrointestinal tract if ingested.


Keep all prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs out of the reach of your cats, preferably in closed cabinets. Remind holiday guests to store their medications safely as well.

Pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer, drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills are common examples of human medication that could be potentially lethal even in small dosages. Less than one regular-strength ibuprofen tablet (200mg) could stomach ulceration in a 7-pound cat.

During the holidays, many veterinary clinics have limited office hours. In some cases, pet owners try to medicate their animals without their veterinarian's advice. Never give your cat any medications unless under the directions of a veterinarian. Many medications that are used safely in humans can be deadly when used inappropriately. Less than one regular strength acetaminophen tablet (325mg) can be dangerous to a cat weighing 7lbs.


Antifreeze has a pleasant taste. Unfortunately, very small amounts can be lethal. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze can be deadly to a cat.
Thoroughly clean up any spills, store antifreeze in tightly closed containers and store in secured cabinets. If you think your cat has consumed antifreeze, contact your veterinarian right away!

Liquid potpourris are popular household fragrances commonly used during the holiday season. Cats are often exposed to liquid potpourri by direct ingestion from simmer pots or spills, or by rubbing against leaky bottles or simmer pots containing the potpourri, or from spilling the containers upon themselves. Oral exposures result following grooming. Exposure of cats to some types of liquid potpourris can result in severe oral, dermal and ocular damage.

Ice melting products can be irritating to skin and mouth. Depending on the actual ingredient of the ice melt and the quantity, signs of ingestion would include excessive drooling, depression, vomiting or even electrolyte imbalances.

Rat and mouse killers are used more commonly during colder weather. When using rat and mouse bait, place the products in areas that are inaccessible to your cats.

ALWAYS Be Prepared !!!!

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Also, blow your horn before you start your car when it's real cold. Cats like to hide in the engine of cars.

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I agree. And leave food out if you can for the ferrels.

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