5 Holiday Hazards for Cats

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
Keep your feline festive and safe this holiday season. Before you deck the halls, be aware of these 5 holiday hazards for cats.

The holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year for humans, but they can be a pretty hazardous season for your cats. Between the tempting holiday lights and various decorations, there are quite a few things that could actually harm your beloved pet if you don’t take the proper precautions. Keep reading to learn more about what you can do this holiday season to fill your home with cheer without inadvertently exposing your cat to things that could harm him.

Christmas Tree

Whether you prefer a real tree or one that’s artificial, set it securely into place, or in a room that your cat will not be able to access, so that your pet can’t easily knock it down. Also discourage your kitty from climbing into the tree, and keep an eye on your pet to make sure he doesn’t drink the tree’s water or eat any of the needles or any part of the tree—again, whether it’s real or artificial—as these could be toxic.

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Holiday Plants

Some holiday plants can be quite dangerous to felines. If you want to avoid any possible chance of your cat ingesting anything harmful, keep these plants out of your home altogether, opting instead for out-of-reach artificial plants instead.

Again, if you prefer real Christmas trees, just beware that the pine needles, if ingested, could result in posterior weakness, trembling, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, and oral irritation. Also be careful with holly, which could lead to depression, diarrhea, and vomiting.

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Mistletoe is especially toxic, so it should be kept away from your cat as well. It could lead to difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, erratic behavior, hallucinations, collapse, and death.

Day lilies, as well as Asiatic hybrid, Japanese Show, stargazer, wood, Western, red, rubrum, Easter, and tiger lilies, are toxic to cats, even in small amounts, as they could lead to kidney failure. And lily of the valley could lead to heart arrhythmias and death. Therefore, it’s best to not bring these into your home at all.

Finally, poinsettias could lead to mouth and stomach irritation, as well as vomiting, if consumed.

Tree Ornaments

The beautiful ornaments that adorn your tree could be harmful to your precious kitty, who will likely become curious and want to investigate what these new objects are.

In addition to being choking hazards, if your cat were to chew on ornaments and swallow them, sharp pieces could cut your cat’s mouth, throat, and intestines. That’s why it’s a good idea to put any paper, aluminum, and glass ornaments higher on the tree, where he can’t reach them.

Holiday Lights

From the lights that surround your windows and tree, to the candles that you place throughout your home to create a warm glow, you need to take proper steps to keep your cat from chewing on electrical cords or knocking down candles. In addition to a risk of fire, there is also the risk that your kitty will become injured as he inspects these objects.

Ribbon, Tinsel, and More

Keep an eye out for anything that your kitty may interpret as a new toy. Things that are shiny or stringy could quickly grab your cat’s attention and potentially lead to injury. For example, shiny tinsel and colorful ribbons could be ingested, and this could lead to severe damage of the intestines or become fatal.

Even though there are quite a few things to consider when decorating your home for the holidays if cats are a part of your family, some simple steps can make all the difference in keeping your kitty safe. If your cat does end up consuming something toxic or dangerous, contact your vet right away.

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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