When I was a kid, my friend's cat had obviously eaten Christmas tree tinsel (he had a long sparkly strand hanging out of his butt). When I went to pull it out my friend's older brother shouted, "Stop! You'll pull out his intestines!!" Later that winter when my mom made a money cake for my birthday, all I could think of when I was tugging on a ribbon in search of a coin, was yanking out a pile of cake covered cat intestines. Scarred...for life.
The holidays bring up all kinds of memories. Some horrifying ones, like cat disembowelment, but mostly sweet, like the special times spent with our families - pets included.
Nobody wants to create holidays memories based on separating Fluffy from his innards, so here are some tips to keep your furry family members safe over the holidays.
Candy can cause gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea, while chocolate and xylitol (found in sugar-free candy and gum) are potentially deadly.
Rich holiday foods can cause stomach upset or even pancreatitis. A little bit of lean meat is fine, but offer sparingly (and not directly from the table. Ya, I'm looking at you Grandpa!).
Foods with raw eggs and undercooked poultry may contain salmonella bacteria.
Onions and garlic can be toxic to pets. Plus, my dog's breath is already bad enough...
Bones from your holiday meal can cause obstructions and perforate the intestines. Oh god, intestines again...
Other potentially harmful foods include: apricots, avocado, alcohol, caffeine, cherries, currants, raisins, grapes, and mushrooms.
Keep your kitchen trash secure and take it out at the end of the day to prevent "Sniffy" from ingesting something harmful. Or gross.
Poinsettia plants are mildly poisonous—leaves and sap can cause drooling and intestinal upset. (P.S. So can drinking four glasses of wine on an empty stomach. Or so I've heard.) Holly, mistletoe, amaryllis, and lilies are all potentially toxic too, so it's best to use faux versions of these plants if you have pets.
Be mindful of your pet's access to ornaments, decorative lights, wires and of course...tinsel. "Dangly and sparkly" = irresistible to curious cats and can create a tangling, suffocating, choking, or electrical shock hazard.
Best of the season everyone!
May your holidays with Kitty and Fido be filled with peppermint "bark" and happy "felines."