Thanksgiving is a day where we gather our friends and family together to give thanks for what we have, and we celebrate with a plethora of delicious food. However, while we enjoy our meal, our cats have a high risk of becoming injured or ill due to all of the tasty treats and decorations they can get into around the holidays. Your cat won’t be so thankful if they eat some meat bones or a toxic (to them) decoration. We know you are thankful for the companionship of your cats, but now it is time for you to learn how to keep your kitty safe during this time of thanks. Read through our tips and tricks to keep your cat safe, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
1. No Candles!
Although candles are lovely, cats are attracted to the flickering flame and could burn themselves or knock them over and start a fire. Unless your cat is locked up tight in another area of the house, do not have real candles lit in your home. Instead opt for LED candles- they are very realistic, and not dangerous like a real flame can be.
2. Avoid Table Scraps
As much as we would love to give our kitties some stuffing, turkey skin, or other tasty Thanksgiving treats, certain human foods are extremely toxic to cats and should be avoided no matter what. Below are some of the most toxic foods that should be avoided:
- Sage is a tasty herb that is frequently used in Thanksgiving cooking, but it and many other herbs can cause intestinal upset in our pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects many different herbs, and with the exception of cat nip, cats should not have excess to any fresh or dried herbs.
- Bread Dough According to the ASPCA, when raw bread dough is ingested by our pets, their body heat causes the dough to rise and expand in their stomach. This can then cause vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, resulting in life-threatening illness that will need emergency surgery.
- Fatty Foods Any amount of rich, fatty, or unfamiliar foods (such as meat fat, skins, and gravies) can cause intestinal issues; large quantities can cause a condition called pancreatitis, a medical condition that can be very painful and life-threatening if left untreated.
- Bones can cut or obstruct your cat’s internal organs and should never be fed to them. They can also splinter and become stuck in the cat’s throat or further down its digestive tract.
- Onions: Onions and onion powder will attack your cat’s red blood cells, causing your cat to develop anemia.
- Grapes and Raisins contain a toxin that causes kidney failure in cats.
3. Feed your Cat a Special Thanksgiving Meal
As previously mentioned, traditional Thanksgiving meals are loaded with ingredients that can make cats very ill. If you want your kitty to join in the celebration, prepare their own turkey dinner ahead of time with a slice or two of skinless turkey breast and a small spoonful of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling).
4. Keep the Garbage in the Can!
Cats are highly skilled at finding food enticing foods, and although they are not as likely to get into the garbage as a dog is, you still should take care when disposing of leftover foods and packaging. When disposing of any leftovers, it is best to double-bag them and put it in your garbage can outside.
On top of food, items such as aluminum foil, wax paper, plastic wrap, tooth picks, skewers, used silverware, and strings that have been in contact with meat or other foods. Your cat won’t know this shouldn’t be eaten because it smells like food, and once ingested these items can cause damage or intestinal blockages.
5. Give Your Cat Extra Love
When you have a crowd at your home, your cats may feel neglected- particularly if your cat is very social or attached to you. If you can, try to set aside 10-15 minutes to spend some quality time with your cat before and during your party. Your cat will be more relaxed after getting some much needed attention from you, and you can enjoy your friends and family without feeling guilty for neglecting your kitty.
6. Give your Cat a Safe Place
While some cats thoroughly enjoy visitors, many cats do not, and in fact, may try to get as far away from new people as possible. For those cats, it would be best to confine them while you have guests in your home. Be sure to provide litter box, fresh water, toys and bedding for your cat. Make sure all windows are secure, but if your cat loves to look out windows, keep the blinds and curtains open so they can see outside. If feasible, set up a nice bed at the window so they can feel comfortable. You can also set up a stereo and play soothing music, or keep the television on low volume.
7. For the Extra Stressed Cat
An overly-nervous cat may need to have a little help calming down and feeling at ease with other people roaming around their home. Many cats are able to calm down with the help of natural remedies; however some cats need a light sedative. If you think your cat may need something to “take the edge off” while there are guests at your home, please call your veterinarian for assistance.