Growing up in rural America, having animals around was as common as a bowl of cereal on a Saturday morning. You didn’t give it a lot of thought, it just felt right. Cats were the pet of choice in my family. In fact, I don’t recall a time where we didn’t have a feline walking the hallways of our home. I do recall our cat Candy giving birth to a litter of six inside one of my dresser drawers, ruining my favorite train shirt. That’s a story for another time. The point of all of this is that cats have always and continue to be an integral part of my family. However, recently I wondered that if pets are part of my family, have I been concerned about their well-being as I would my child? When we make the conscious decision to be responsible over someone or something, we owe it to them to do our very best. I’ll admit it wasn’t until recently that I realized that I should have been protecting our cats in the same way that we protect our young children. Both are very curious and that can sometimes lead to devastating events. Read More
What to put in your cat first-aid kit and why
When your cat suffers an illness, injury, or poisoning, knowing what first aid to do (and not do) can have a big impact on their recovery, safety, and comfort. It can also help your emotional stress, because you'll have a plan of action to follow whenever a problem arises. For these, and many other reasons, I always recommend that cat owners take a pet first-aid class. But that's not the end of the story.
Regardless of whether you've taken (or are planning to take) a first-aid class, you still need to have the supplies and gear to be able to administer first aid to your cat. And that's where having a good pet first-aid kit (or two) comes in.
Make Your Own Cat First-Aid Kit
To make it easy for you to put together (or check) your pet first-aid kit, we have a shopping list (for mobile or printable) for you to take to your nearest pharmacy to grab your cat's first-aid supplies.
Each item on this list has been vetted to ensure that you're getting the right products and brands that will be most effective, practical, and safe for your cat's first-aid kit.
Have a dog? Check out this first-aid shopping list for dogs.Read More
Do you have carved pumpkins you want to light up?
When it comes time to lighting up your (beautifully) carved creations, it’s best if you opt for an alternative to traditional or tea light candles.
Not only will options like a powered flameless candle likely last longer than a regular candle, but you’ll also avoid the potential for your pet to burn themselves or the house while walking past or investigating your pumpkins. Carved pumpkins do smell good!!
DAY 11: CyclamenI 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.
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
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.Read More
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
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.
DAY 5: Lilies
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.
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
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.
DAY 3: Mistletoe
Be awareEven 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.
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
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.
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
One problem that frequently has cat owners calling or visiting their vet about is ‘kitty cold.’ Whether it’s a snotty nose, goopy eyes, or a case of the ‘sniffles’, kitty colds are common, and especially so in kittens and cats that have come from shelters.
Topics: Cat Health, pet safety tips, cat health problem, pet safety, toxicity in cats, cat health questions, cat health issues, Poison control, Poison control for cats, Blog, Can I Give My Cat Tylenol, Kitty Colds, Cat Tips, Acetaminophen
When your pet suffers an injury, knowing what to do (and what not to do) can significantly affect your pet’s healing and recovery time. It can also help your emotional stress, because you will have a plan of action to follow. Taking a pet first aid class is an excellent idea, but of course, you also need to make sure you have the supplies necessary to administer first aid if and when the time comes. Do you have a pet first aid kit?
Below is a list of items every pet owner should include in their pet’s first aid kit. Depending on your particular pet’s medical history, you may need additional items, as well. It’s always a good idea to talk with your veterinarian to ensure that your own pet’s first aid kit is as complete as possible.