top of page

Cold-Weather & Holiday Cat Safety

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and all the celebrations are a time for family, friends, and fun. However, such celebrations can pose safety problems for your pet. A visit to the emergency room with your cat will not add to the joy of the season. The following are some tips to help you keep your furry family members safe and happy.

Protect All Black Cats

Did you know that animal shelters place all black cats in the back for protection, and that most rescue organizations do not allow black cat adoptions, during the Halloween season? Protect your black cats, or your neighborhood friendly black cats, from cruel hands during the Halloween season. Keep them indoors during October.

Keep it Brief with a Halloween Costume

Got a cute Halloween costume for your cat? If your cat is the nervous type, don't torture him by keeping it on him for too long.

Remember That Chocolate is Toxic

Chocolate is not for cats (or any pet). The less sweet the chocolate, the more toxic it can be. Make sure to keep all chocolate out of reach and remember that a shelf is not out of reach for cats. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, hyperactivity, and seizures. Get help immediatley (don't wait until the next morning) for a cat with these symptoms.

Do Not Give Holiday Leftovers

Keep the holiday leftovers away from your cat to avoid stomach upset. Poultry bones are especially dangerous.

Use Caution with Unattended Alcohol

Be cautious with unattended alcohol drinks that could make your cat sick if ingested.

Keep Christmas Tree Water Clean:

Christmas tree water in the stand might contain dangerous fertilizer. Also, stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria. If you’re using a live tree, do not add chemical preservatives or Aspirin to the water. Put aluminum foil around the stand to keep your cat away from it.

Wrap or Tack Down Electric Cords

Tack down all exposed wiring so it’s not tempting. Wrap or shield electric cords that cannot be tacked down. Plastic tubing for this purpose can be bought at hardware stores.

Use Christmas Tree Lights Cautiously

Beware of the lights on your Christmas tree that may look like something to chew. Keeping lights off the lower branches may help avoid an accident.

Don't Use Tinsel

Tinsel is pretty on the tree, but not in your cat’s mouth so it may be best to keep the tinsel off the tree. Ingesting this can cause serious blockages requiring surgery.

Don't Use Angel Hair

Angel hair shouldn’t be used since it’s made of spun glass and can cause irritation on contact.

Use Safe Ornament Hooks

Ornament hooks that can snag an ear or tail shouldn’t be used. If swallowed, the hooks can lodge in the throat or intestines.

Secure Christmas Tree

Make sure your tree is secure, possibly even tied to a hook in the ceiling or wall. It might look like a fun place to play and hide for your curious cat.

Use Safe Ornaments

Check all ornaments for possible dangers such as small and sharp parts that can be ingested. Glass balls can break in your cat’s mouth. Use only safe ornaments that won’t shatter when they become your cat’s batting toy.

Use Caution with Tree Strands

Cranberry or popcorn strands around the tree can be very dangerous causing intestinal obstruction, or getting wrapped around your cat’s neck.

Beware of Poisonous Plants

As you receive your holiday floral arrangements, remove the poisonous flowers (find out the plants toxic to cats). Lilies can cause kidney failure and death in cats, and poinsettias can cause vomiting and nausea so keep these plants out of the house. Why not try a silk floral arrangement instead?

Cut Off Shopping Bag Handles

Cut all of the handles off your shopping bags that your cat can reach so that he doesn’t get his neck or paw caught.

Use Candles Cautiously

If you like candles, try the kind that use batteries since the possibility of burns to your cat, or a fire when a candle is knocked over, is just not worth the risk.

Leave Cat Home

If you’re traveling over the holidays, consider leaving your cat at home instead of taking him with you, or having him boarded. Your cat will appreciate being in his own environment with daily care from someone.

Check for Toy Hazards

Check out the toys your children and cats receive as gifts since small parts can be a choking hazard to cats (and your children!)

Use Caution with Household Chemicals

When cleaning your house before guests arrive be sure to keep household chemicals out of your cat’s reach.


Have a Safe Room

When entertaining with friends and family, give your cat a safe place to retreat where it’s calm and quiet with his own litter box, toys, beds, and food and water bowls.

Watch for Escapes

Be careful that no accidental escapes happen when your guests are entering and leaving. It may be best to put your cat in his safe area while guests are arriving. Just in case, make sure your cat has a collar with identification and/or a microchip.

No Guests' Pets

Ask your guests to leave their own pets at home. Your cat may not appreciate a visit from an unfamiliar dog or cat, and will just add to his stress.

No Ribbon

Remove the ribbons from all packages. Ribbons are extremely dangerous since they can cause strangulation, choking, or intestinal blockage. For your packages, bright paper will be just as attractive and much safer!

Don't Give a Cat as a Gift

Don't give a cat (or any pet) as a surprise gift. The holidays are not conducive to introducing a new cat into a home, and the recipient may not want a pet. If you know for certain that the person wants a cat, just give a card with a note that after the holidays you'll accompany your friend or family member to a shelter.

Skip the Potpourri

That pine scented potpourri may smell wonderful, but if ingested by your cat, it can cause vomiting, stomach upset, and possibly liver damage. In addition, liquid potpourri can cause severe burns in a cat’s mouth if it’s ingested.

Use Mistletoe Cautiously

Keep the mistletoe out of reach since it can cause serious health problems if ingested by your pet. Remember that hanging mistletoe will be even more attractive to your cat so make sure he can’t reach it if you're going to use it.

Take Time to Give Love

Take time out to love your cat during the busy holiday season. You'll both be more relaxed and you can enjoy your friends and family without guilt

Use Fireplace Cautiously

Cats love warm areas so use caution with your fireplace by using a protective screen to prevent your cat from being singed.

Warm Car Engine is a Danger

Honk your horn before starting your car on cold mornings. Cats are drawn to the warmth of an engine and can suffer injuries from the fan belt.

Use Caution with Clothes Dryer

Because cats are drawn to warmth, keep your clothes dryer closed between uses and check inside each time you use it

Give Shelter to Outdoor Cats

If you care for outdoor stray or feral cats, buy them a shelter (the smaller the better) and if electric is an option on your patio, deck, or porch, add a heated pad. You also can purchase a snuggle safe pad that stays warm for 12 hours after being heated in the microwave for just 5 minutes. Remember, cats can suffer form hypothermia and need winter shelter.

bottom of page