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The holidays are a time of merriment and cheer, but they are also one of the most likely times a cat will wind up in the emergency room. Here are some of the most common holiday mishaps:
Holiday food. An unattended turkey may prove to be irresistible to your favorite carnivore. Unfortunately, cats that are accustomed to eating the same food every day may have a very uncomfortable reaction to overeating traditionally fat-laden holiday treats. At best, your cat may experience gas or diarrhea. At worst, it may develop a life-threatening condition, such as pancreatitis.
Candles and potpourri. Many people like to make the house smell like the holidays with scented candles and potpourri, but these can pose a big health risk to cats. In addition to burn risk, more than one house fire has been caused by a cat knocking over a candle when no one was looking. Liquid potpourri -- which some people use as a safer alternative to candles -- can be extraordinarily toxic to cats, causing severe GI ulceration.
Tinsel and string. String is irresistible to many cats; they play with it, bat it and sometimes eat it. In the intestine, any string -- from tinsel to curling ribbon -- can hitch up in the GI tract and cause it to bunch up painfully before sawing straight through it.
Holiday parties. One of the great joys of the holidays is getting together with friends and family at the big annual holiday parties. Cats, however, can become annoyed by the disruptions and a little perturbed at all the people in your house. With a fretful cat looking for escape, it’s easy to miss your cat slipping out the door while your neighbor comes in with a fruitcake.
Most of these hazards can be reduced or eliminated with a little planning ahead of time. With some extra preparation and thought, it can be a happy and healthy holiday for everyone!
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang is a small-animal veterinarian from San Diego. When she's not at work or with her family of two and her four-legged creatures, you can find her blogging about life with pets at PawCurious.com. Dr. Vogelsang's blogs have previously appeared on The Daily Cat.
Cats reach full skeletal development when they are this old: