During this busy time, remember to spend quality time with your cats. Don’t forget to provide the cuddles and playtime they’re used to!

Resist the temptation to give your kitty food from your table. These human goodies will likely cause stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea that will likely end up on your carpet! No one needs unexpected visits to the vet for the holidays!!

Beware that tinsel, pine needles (vacuum them up often), and ornament hooks are particularly dangerous if swallowed and can cause cuts in the stomach and intestines.

You may have a cat or new kitten that will try to climb up your tree, so be very sure your tree holder’s base is sturdy. Some owners even secure their trees to the wall with wire because their mischievous cats can’t resist the climb!

There are a number of things associated with the holidays that you may not know are POISONOUS to your cat and they are:

Anything that comes from a bulb, e.g. onions, garlic, all lilies, tulips, amaryllis, etc.
Water in your Xmas tree reservoir
Pot pourri oil
Artificial snow
Christmas cactus

Make sure kitty has no access to lighted candles that could be knocked over or burn a tail.

Ribbons, string, breakable ornaments, and light cords can all cause harm to kitty if chewed on. Make a point of cleaning up wrapping/ribbons immediately after opening gifts, so kitty doesn’t swallow anything she shouldn’t.

During holiday parties, why not create a safe haven for kitty in a room away from the festivities? Most cats will appreciate this. Use a quiet space set up with your cat’s favorite things, litter box and food, and a radio playing softly.

The repeated opening of the door to admit guests can be dangerous to indoor-only cats. If your cat isn’t in his/her safe room, make sure you know where she is before opening the door!

Have a great holiday, everyone!

Laura Speirs, Feline Behavior Consultant


All Weather Cat Enclosure

At this time of year shelters are inundated by callers wanting to get admission for the stray cats they’ve been feeding all summer.  Suddenly, it dawns on the good Samaritans that cold, rainy weather is here or soon to arrive and they worry for the kitty.   Shelters, especially no-kill shelters, rarely have spots for these cats and also some of them require indoor only homes.  Maybe the stray cat wouldn’t do well inside all the time, so that option is out.  So, now what?

I advise continuing to care for the cat and create a cozy place for him to get out of the wind and rain.  I made one for my outside stray out of a Rubbermaid storage container.  They’re inexpensive and will be impervious to the wind and rain.  I cut an 8″ X 8″ hole in the middle of one end, lined the inside walls and lid in foam packing material I glued on and put towels and blankets inside.  If you put the hole towards the bottom of the container, rain might seep in.  Then I put the container on my deck with the opening pointing towards the house so the wind wouldn’t enter there easily.  My kitty loved it and stayed dry and relatively warm.

For additional warmth in the very cold months, you can put a Snuggle Safe disc in the little “house.”  You warm it in the microwave, wrap in a towel and put it in the house for the kitty to sleep on.  It will hold its heat for several hours.  A less expensive option is to create a cloth envelope filled with uncooked rice.  Sew one end closed and heat it in the microwave and wrap in a towel.  It doesn’t hold the heat as long, but costs practically nothing to make one.

If you’re one of the many good-hearted people caring for a stray, there is a special halo for you.  Thank you for what you’re doing for the cat.  He/she is indeed lucky to have found you.

Laura Speirs, Feline Behavior Consultant

Happy Autumn

With the return of cooler weather, kids and teachers going back to school, and vacations done, please remember that these are changes that will impact your cat.  He/she may now feel more lonely and bored with no one home.  Are you remembering to make time for interactive play and quality affection time with your furry feline?

Boredom and depression can manifest in cats in different ways.  Some become withdrawn, others will become destructive, groom compulsively, overeat, or not eat.  If you see any of these behaviors (sometimes subtle, so watch for them!), pay attention and engage your cat morning and evening with something fun to do.  The old wives’ tale that says cats are solitary animals that need no interaction is just not true.  Cats are social and want interaction and closeness with us.   It doesn’t take much time to make a world of difference for your cat!

Laura Speirs, Feline Behavior Consultant