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Simple Tips to Make Christmas Safe for Your Cat
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Simple Tips to Make Christmas Safe for Your Cat

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Dec 2, 2022

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If there's any season when curiosity strikes your cat, it's Christmas. Lost in the shuffle of shopping, wrapping, decorating, and family get-togethers, your cat could mistakenly find themselves in a bind. They'll stare at new goodies for hours on end while working their way in and out of your boxes, getting tangled up in over-the-top decorations or lost and alone when your social calendar shifts. While you want to leave them space to explore and have fun, safety is paramount. Learn how to keep your cat safe this holiday season.

1

Keep candles at bay

Curious cat looking at a candle light holder on a window sill. Selective focus. Jelena990 / Getty Images

Candles are a Christmas staple, but exercise caution when your cat's anywhere near flames or the aftermath. In fact, candles shouldn't be your only concern; your fireplace, decor, and outdoor bonfire are just as paramount. After you extinguish the flame, your kitty will be more than happy to make its way through the ashes — not good and definitely not safe, especially if embers remain underneath. Not only could this endanger your cat, but it could damage your home's interiors as they scurry down the halls covered in soot. Keep the two separate when possible, and always ensure that flames are fully extinguished.

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2

Stay away from the sweaters

A girl posing for a Christmas card wearing a candy cane head band holding a black cat wearing moose antlers. Shannon M. Lutman / Getty Images

While your dog will go gaga over cushy Christmas sweaters, puppy gloves, and other holiday-themed gear, your cat isn't a fan. Their coat keeps them plenty warm, so there's no need for extra clothes any time of the year. From a feline's perspective, that adorable tree-covered sweater is a stuffy, itchy, and uncomfortable non-necessity. Skip the costumes and allow your cat to savor the season as is.

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3

Watch your guest list

Portrait of senior couple with their granddaughter and pets. filmstudio / Getty Images

Cats don't deal well with discomfort; they're loyal to their home turf and prefer things as is, which makes adaptation difficult, so be extra mindful this time of year. Since your cat's used to the people, places, and routines in their day-to-day life, switching it up causes significant stress and anxiety. Strangers scurrying through the house, babies crying, and small children chasing after them are too much for cats, especially kittens. Keep the guest list to a minimum if possible, and while they're around, ensure that your cat has their own piece of paradise with a cozy bed, toys, and some welcome peace and quiet.

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4

Give them as-needed attention

ginger cat and human legs on the bed, christmas cozy evening Irina Gutyryak / Getty Images

While you're scurrying around shopping, wrapping presents, and decorating your abode, it's easy to lose sight of your cat and neglect their needs. Take your cat into consideration and provide them with plenty of attention during this special time. They're not fond of the holiday hustle and just want some special time with you to connect and relax. Make space in your busy schedule for some lap time, nap time, and fun with your feline friend.

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5

Keep an eye on the tree

Cat on Christmas tree. Naughty cute kitten. New Year Ukususha / Getty Images

If YouTube is any indication, Christmas trees cause concern for every cat owner come the holiday season. You already know how much your cat loves climbing and batting its paws at your twinkling tinsel and shiny ornaments, so always cat-proof your Christmas tree. A great trick is to let the tree stand without decoration so your cat has time to get used to it. Since cats love batting around ornaments, keep those shiny balls higher up or be selective and skip the hanging ball type entirely.

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6

Watch out for Santa Claws

Santa Claus making a most wanted gift to a child - he gives tabby cat to new owners

Kids go crazy over their annual photos with Santa, and even dogs can't wait to get in on the action with their own pup-approved pics. Your cat, however? They hate it. Getting the perfect snap involves a lot of things they dislike, from the car ride there to the uncomfortable environment and an unfamiliar stranger. Save your cat the stress and take holiday photos at home.

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7

Monitor chewing risks

Adorable cat portrait on background of christmas tree lights golden bokeh. Cute kitten in modern festive evening room. Space for text. Merry christmas! Pet and winter holidays. Animal calendar

Lighting timers are your friend and with good reason. Twinkling lights are a wonderful way to show off your holiday cheer, but cats love to chew away at unattended wires and cords. While this is a given, keep them out of the way as much as possible. Since cats love to prowl around at night and when you're not at home, this could be especially dangerous and result in painful electric shock, electrocution, or fire. With a timer set for bedtime, lights shut off simultaneously so your cat doesn't injure themselves or set your home ablaze during the night.

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8

Look out for ribbons and string

Cute kitten playing on stylish christmas gift with red ribbon and festive holiday decorations on rustic wooden table. Pet and winter holidays. Christmas cat

Wrapping the perfect present is tricky, but never leave ribbons and string unattended, even if you're feeling frustrated. Your cat will want to pounce and play with them, and that means they pose potential choking hazards. The same applies when you unwrap gifts or sort through stringy decor. Cats love their playthings, but potential health risks aren't worth it. Use a pet gate or keep the door closed while you handle gifts.

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9

Know that poinsettias are dangerous

Cat with poinsettia. Cozy Christmas background. Anna_Hirna / Getty Images

These lush blossoms have a striking aesthetic that puts even Scrooge in the Christmas Spirit. Cats, however, should avoid them at all costs. They're toxic and potentially deadly to cats, so this isn't something to take lightly. If you love a flower-filled atmosphere, swap them out for fake poinsettias, which are beautiful but much safer for Fluffy to fool around with.

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10

Skip Santa's cookies and milk

gray cat drinks milk from a glass. milk and cookies for santa

Cats are lactose intolerant, so there's an obvious reason to leave these snacks at a safe distance. If you can't put them out without your cat getting into them, skip them or swap them out for something safer. Otherwise, felines will spend the morning with stomach upset and diarrhea — not the best way to ring in the holidays.

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