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7 Tips For A Pet-Friendly Holiday Season

7 Tips For A Pet-Friendly Holiday Season

Yes, you read that right - holiday season is officially upon us! Here are some helpful hints on keeping the holidays a pet-friendly and SAFE time of year.


Thomas the cat thinks it's the most magical time of year. Just kidding. Due to his current sleep schedule of about 20 hours a day, he literally has no idea what time of year it is. That, and I moved his bed right next to the radiator (HE IS SPOILED).

 Does this make you as happy as it makes me?!?

Does this make you as happy as it makes me?!?

Can I do like, a Parent Trap where I just switch bodies with my cat? Is that a thing yet? Basically, he is only marginally aware that it is the holidays because I made him wear a Santa outfit for our Christmas card this year:

Anyway ... in addition to maintaining our S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) Holiday Cheer, we pet owners have to prioritize our fur child(ren)'s safety when decorating for the holidays.

Here are some tips pet parents can think about this PAW-liday season:

  • Holiday Decorations: For many cat owners, the tree is a big source of holiday stress. Cats + Christmas Trees often times = COMPLETE AND UTTER DISASTER. Even my NYC-apartment-life TINY tree (pictured here) requires my locking it in the bathroom every night for fear that Lil T will destroy everything on it (and possibly the tree itself). What to do then? 
  1. Make sure the tree is SECURE, and if possible, in a corner.
  2. Keep the area around/under the tree free of loose pine needles as best you can. These needles are sharp and could cause problems if swallowed.
  3. Avoid using tinsel - this stuff looks pretty now, but think about how pretty it will look in an x-ray all tangled up in your cat's intestinal tract! (Sorry, gross, but I'm just looking out for you guys!)
  4. Inspect your decorations periodically to make sure there are no broken lights or sharp wires. 
  5. No food on the tree (ie, popcorn garlands).

Don't let this be you: 

holly-plant-poisonous-to-cats
  • Gift Wrapping: Make sure you aren't leaving ribbon or string out while wrapping gifts. We all know that cats may eat them and have some serious intestinal problems as a result.
  • Seasonal Plants: Hopefully by now you know that lilies are extremely poisonous to cats, but did you know the following plants are also toxic to cats?:
    • Amaryllis
    • Ivy
    • Mistletoe
    • Poinsettia 
    • Holly
    • Daffodils
  • Cold Weather and Cars (for outdoor kitties): Give a good bang on your car hood before starting it, if you have cats who roam outdoors. We all know cats like a warm spot to cozy up in, and under a car hood is about the coziest place in the winter to an outdoor cat. Take precaution before starting that car! 
  • Keep antifreeze out of reach: This one is pretty obvious, but since it is used in the winter, the chances of leaving it out or open are higher. Be diligent - clean up any spills and always make sure the lid is tightly on the container.
  • Leave shoes and boots outside: If you live in a place that gets snow, consider making yours a "no shoes on inside" household. Rock salt (the stuff they throw down on the roads and sidewalks to melt snow and ice) can be poisonous to cats if they ingest it. Besides, you never know what other gross things you're dragging in on your heels! 
 Image via: Thundershirt.com

Image via: Thundershirt.com

  • Anxiety or stress: While YOU may be able to quell your holiday anxieties with a little egg nog or hot toddy, your pet can unfortunately not. There are some pet-friendly ways of helping the little guys stay calm in the midst of the holiday madness, such as: 
    • Make sure your pet has a place it can go to get away from all the action (such as a bed in a separate room)
    • Thundershirt (supposedly this calms cat anxiety)
    • There are also some calming supplements on the market that you can try (although we've never tried these and cannot vouch for their effectiveness or safety)

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Having pets is super fun (especially when you can subject them to themed Christmas cards!) but it's always wise to keep an eye on special times of year to make sure your pet is coping with them normally. Hope these tips help you and your fur children have a very happy holiday season! 

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Title Image via: Wikipedia Commons

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