Q: We always have lots of people in for the holidays, including New Year’s Eve. Should I plan to keep my new cat away from all the excitement?
A: Yes. I always tell my clients who entertain often during the holidays that cats are better off in a separate room with all the essentials — litter, water, food, treats — and behind closed doors until the guests go home. I even suggest putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. Cats are territorial and can become stressed with changes, especially a party. One client told me about a well-meaning hostess who suggested that a guest bring her cat along with her to a New Year’s weekend party. The poor cat was so terrified she stayed in her cat carrier the entire time and definitely did not make merry.
The following is my annual holiday hints list to ensure wonderful and safe holiday for cats (and all):
- Please keep all shopping bags off the floor. Cats can get stuck in the handles and seriously injure themselves.
- If you have a live Christmas tree, securely anchor it to the ceiling or wall. Please do not put any chemicals in tree water and keep the bowl covered with a tree skirt. You don’t want your cat drinking from that bowl.
- Keep pine needles off the floor and poisonous plants such as mistletoe and poinsettias out of reach.
- Place all tinsel high up on the tree. Cats easily can swallow tinsel, which can become lodged in their intestines. Also put all breakable ornaments on the upper portion of your tree and don’t use wire hooks to hang ornaments. I suggest ribbons or decorative string. Place all excess string, ribbon and tape out of harm’s way.
- For New Year’s parties, secure your cats in a separate room for the duration. Once everyone goes home, check the floor for any dropped food, glasses, wine corks, toothpicks, gift bags, etc. Any of these could harm your cats. Please bag all garbage and if you cannot put it outside then secure it in a place where your cat cannot reach it. Get extra cat treats so your wonderful kitties can ring in the New Year as well.
As always I welcome your stories and comments, and I wish you and your kitties a lovely holiday season.