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While fireworks night has thankfully passed for this year, it is important to remember that winter presents other challenges to our feline friends as well. Keeping your cat safe and well over the winter doesn’t have to be difficult, but with the colder weather, Christmas and New Year just around the corner, it is important to pay a little extra mind to your cat’s happiness and wellness.
Read on for our tips on caring for your cat during the winter.
During December, many of us will receive more visitors or callers than usual, with family and friends dropping by, guests coming over and doorstep callers such as carol singers sometimes doing the rounds. This can provide extra stress to your cat’s life, and it is important that they do not feel overwhelmed or pushed out by a constant stream of visitors. Ensure that your cat has a safe, quiet room that they can retreat to and not be disturbed when you have guests over, and that your guests treat your cat appropriately and know when to leave them alone.
There is a whole plethora of stimulus around to entertain your cat over winter, from the Christmas tree to present wrappings, string bindings, and morsels such as the string from the turkey or roast joint. Keep an eye on what your cat is getting their paws on, and ensure that your home remains safe for your cat. Do not let them play with tinsel or other decorations that might shed, and beware of cats making off with unsafe toys or other items that they might ingest. However, you can entertain your cat by allowing them to play with discarded cardboard boxes and paper bags, which to many cats, are the best presents ever!
There are usually lots of delicious foods being served up around Christmas, from the traditional turkey to treats such as salmon, pate, and lots of other foods that are just as appealing to cats as they are to people! While it is fine to give your cat the odd scrap of something nice, such as a slice of turkey or a piece of salmon, don’t go overboard or substitute treats for your cat’s usual foods. Also, ensure that anything that you consider giving to your cat is safe and suitable for them to eat, and not poisonous to cats.
Cats will rarely eat poisonous plants, as they are generally unpalatable to them. But it is worth bearing in mind that many of the plants and foliage that we bring into our homes over winter can potentially be poisonous to cats, and to keep them out of your cat’s reach. Holly and mistletoe are both toxic to cats, and while cats will not often try to eat them, dropped berries rolling around can prove irresistible to cats with a playful streak, so ensure that these things are kept out of reach, or buy artificial plants instead. Many cats will have a good go at climbing your Christmas tree, whether it is real or artificial, so ensure that it is sturdy and well secured and will not topple if climbed by your cat.
Antifreeze has a sweet taste and smell, and can unfortunately prove appealing to cats to drink. Ensure that antifreeze is kept well out of the reach of your cat, and that drips and puddles of it are always cleaned up immediately and not left on the ground. Road gritting and solutions that local councils often lay down on the pavements to melt ice or provide a safe walking surface are also potentially toxic. Try to find out what is used in your local area and wipe your cat’s paws off when they come in from outside to remove any residue of it that your cat may lick off.
These days, fireworks are let off over New Year as commonly as they are on fireworks night itself, so it is important that you bear this in mind and do what you can to both keep your cat safe and minimise their stress levels. You may want to keep your cat inside on New Year ’s Eve itself, and do not set off fireworks in the immediate vicinity of your own home, particularly if they are noisy ones. Follow the same protocols of preparation and cat care over New Year as you would for fireworks night, in order to minimise the stress and impact that it has on your cat.
Christmas and New Year can also prove to be noisy on other levels too, with rowdy children enjoying their presents, general jollity and sometimes, convivial singing. Again, make sure that your cat has a safe place within the home that they can retreat to quietly, and not be bothered by the general festivities.
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