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    How to Keep Your Cat Out of the Christmas Tree


    Living with a cat will give you a whole new perspective on life. Where once your perspective was, “How do I decorate my home the way I want,” a cat will help you realize that it’s far better to decorate your home in the least-destructible way.

    Any cat owner will soon find themselves squinting at their furniture and wondering A) how will they climb this and B) can they knock it over? Notice the carefully chosen words, “how will they climb this” and not “will they climb this?” Rest assured that if a cat can climb something, they probably will climb it. And that includes your Christmas tree!

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    Topics: Cat Behavior, Cats Falling, holiday safety, holiday pet safety tips, Christmas pet hazards, Christmas pet dangers, Digestive irritation, Electrical shock, Electrical Cords

    The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 11 - Cyclamen)


    DAY 11: Cyclamen

    I suspect this is a pet toxicity that many of you were unaware of. In fact, I suspect many of you have never even heard of a cyclamen before – right? However, you've likely seen them around and may have even had them on your holiday table – these plants are common in supermarket floral departments and home & garden centers.

    Although not nearly as popular as the poinsettia around the holidays, the cyclamen is often found in homes this time of year. And not many people know about the dangers of the cyclamen.
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    Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Dog Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, Plants Poisonous for Cats, holiday pet safety tips, Poison control, Christmas pet hazards, Poinsettias, Plants Poisonous for Dogs, Cyclamen

    The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 6 - Ornaments)


    DAY 6: Ornaments & Other Tree Decorations

    From cuts on paws from those that break to gastrointestinal obstruction from those that get ingested, ornaments and other Christmas tree decorations pose a wide array of hazards to your pets. It’s this scope of problems and the prevalence of such decorations in homes this time of year that make Christmas tree decorations the 'poster children' for Day 6 of our The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series.

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    Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Dog Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, holiday pet safety tips, String, Dog Booties, Christmas pet hazards, Pet emergency, To pull or not to pull, Cats and string, Bandages, Use of bandages, Septic peritonitis

    The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 5 - Lilies)


    DAY 5: Lilies

    While lilies don’t exactly ‘scream’ Christmas – flowers do – and lilies are amongst the most common types of flowers found in bouquets at all times of the year, including Christmas.

    Lily toxicity is something everybody should be aware of, regardless of whether or not they have cats. Even non-cat owners need to know about this because they may well be the one to send you or bring over your next bouquet of flowers! If they’re not aware of the danger they won’t know to advise the florist that lilies should not be included in the bouquet.

    Lilies Kill Cats!
    Stargazer lilies, Rubrum lilies, Tiger lilies, and the other members of the Lilum genus, the ‘true lilies’ as they are known, are highly toxic to cats. So too are certain types of Day lilies.

    These types of lilies are so toxic, that a nibble on one or two petals, a lap of spilled vase water, or the ingestion of a small amount of pollen (such as what happens when a cat grooms itself) can be enough to put a cat into expensive, debilitating, and potentially fatal acute kidney failure.
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    Topics: Cat Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, toxicity in cats, Lilies, Tiger Lily, Lily Toxicity in Cats, Stargazer Lily, Lily Flowers, Rubrum Lily, Plants Poisonous for Cats, pet poison control, Poison control, Poison control for cats, Christmas pet hazards, Flowers

    The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 3 - Mistletoe)


    DAY 3: Mistletoe

    Before you pucker up to kiss your sweetheart, be sure that bunch of mistletoe is well secured to the door jam. Though a strategically placed sprig of mistletoe may get you that Christmas "snog" you've been dreaming about all year, it may also land your dog or cat in the hospital if it falls to the ground or they find another way to get their paws on it.

    Be aware

    Even when eaten in small quantities, mistletoe can cause your pets excessive drooling and digestive upset. The latter of which may manifest as vomiting and diarrhea - which kinda ruins the thought of the previously mentioned snog I guess, doesn't it? But even bigger problems are in store for your pet if they ingest a larger quantity of this common Christmas decoration.

    In these situations your pet may experience heart and/or neurologic problems, which could include abnormal heart rate and rhythm, decreased blood pressure, and a staggered walk. If left untreated, these signs can progress to collapse, seizures, coma, and even death. Now I've really ruined the thought of the snog, haven't I? I'm sorry, truly, I am... but you really should be aware of this.

    If your pet has ingested any quantity of mistletoe...

    ...you should seek immediate veterinary advice. You can do so from your regular veterinarian, the local Animal ER, or from a dedicated animal poison control hotline . Though severe toxicity from mistletoe is uncommon, many factors will influence the degree of toxicity your pet will experience should they be unfortunate enough to ingest it. And as with all potential or known toxicities, you should not delay in seeking professional veterinary advice. The sooner appropriate actions are taken, the greater the chances that a better outcome will be realized.

    Preventing mistletoe toxicity

    • If you hang mistletoe in your home, be sure it's well secured.
    • Take the berries off of any mistletoe you hang in your home.
    • Be careful when putting up (and taking down) your holiday decorations; do not leave the mistletoe laying around where your pets can get to it.
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    Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Dog Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, toxicity, Plants Poisonous for Cats, holiday pet safety tips, Vomiting, Poison control, Christmas pet hazards, Diarrhea, Neurological problems, Plants Poisonous for Dogs, Mistletoe

    The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 1 - Tinsel)


    DAY 1: Tinsel

    Cats and tinsel can be an expensive combination, and it can prove fatal, too!

    Tinsel is often a very attractive toy for cats. After all, its shiny, it dangles, and it’s something new in their environment. Few cats can pass it up – and even fewer can "pass it out."

    When cats play with tinsel, they often end up swallowing some or getting some wrapped around their tongue, and this is when their nightmare (and yours) will begin. Fortunately, with awareness and some simple preventive steps, this is a common pet emergency that you can easily avoid. Read on to learn how...

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    Topics: Cat Health, Cat Safety, Christmas pet hazards, To pull or not to pull, Linear Foreign Body, Tinsel, Dangerous Cat Toys, Pet Hazard, Cat Toys

    The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 9 - Ribbons & Bows)


    DAY 9: Ribbons & Bows

    You’d be forgiven for thinking that curly ribbon and gift bows are good toys for your cats – after all, pictures and videos of playful cats rolling around with such objects can be found everywhere online, on television, and in print ads. But we in the veterinary profession also want pet owners to be aware that another place we commonly see kittens and cats playing with Christmas ribbons – or at least the debilitating and expensive results of such activities – is in the veterinary clinics and Animal ERs all across the country.

    This article will tell you what you need to know to recognize, react, and prevent this common holiday pet hazard. So dig in, read on, and don’t forget to share this information with your friends and family.

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    Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Dog Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, holiday pet safety tips, Vomiting, Christmas pet hazards, Pet safety and houseguests, Linear Foreign Body, Cats and string, Diarrhea, Hiding, Septic peritonitis

    Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

    Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

    Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.