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Why cats love Christmas!

| December 6, 2012
This is probably the most exciting thing that’s happened all year, particularly for an indoor cat.

This is probably the most exciting thing that’s happened all year, particularly for an indoor cat.

Christmas is an exciting time for most of us and especially our cats. There’s this enticing tree to climb, magnificently decorated with the loveliest cat toys. Underneath the tree lie beautifully wrapped packages covered in tasty bows, just waiting to be explored. Irresistible smells waft through from the kitchen where the biggest bird a cat has ever seen, bubbles away in the oven. There are little bowls of chocolates wrapped in crinkly coloured paper, bouquets of flowers for chewing, people coming and going and leaving doors open inviting escape, to say nothing of all those laps to sit on. Christmas is a Cats Paradise! To make sure it is just as enjoyable for the owner, here are some guidelines.

The tree
This is probably the most exciting thing that’s happened all year, particularly for an indoor cat. Here’s the best designed climbing frame in the world. And if the cat’s a bit lazy, the tree is covered in decorations that glitter and swing and tinkle and have to be played with! So better to put the more delicate ones towards the top of tree, make sure they are all securely tied on and avoid hooks and glass decorations if possible. Why not replace them with the more sturdy wire and bead ornaments often sold at the side of the road?

It’s also important to check that the tree is very firmly secured. Even the average cat, never mind the couch potatoes, weighs enough to easily overbalance the whole artistic effort with disastrous results! Apart from being environmental and economic sense, an artificial tree is safer as pine needles can poison or choke the cat.

Strands of electric lights add magic to the tree and room so make sure the cords are well concealed and taped down from curious feline teeth.

Presents
Every self respecting cat expects to be included in the family when it comes to presents. And almost 75% of cat owners give Christmas gifts to the family pet. Food and treats are always popular, as are toys. Why not wrap them up in several layers of paper so he can have real fun unwrapping them, but avoid bows unless you’re using natural fibres that can be safely chewed and eaten. Ribbons and string can tangle in a cat’s stomach with fatal results. Rather use sellotape. The cat won’t notice! Some families like to put together a stocking for their cat, full of his favourite treats and toys which, once unpacked, provides a good snooze spot when all the excitement is over!

If you really want to give your cat a treat let him help you wrap the presents. It will probably take three times longer than normal but its worth it. He can help you choose just the right bow, having sorted through the box first, will enjoy helping you cut the paper (watch out for his whiskers and tail) and sellotape is so rewarding when it gets stuck to fur! Best of all, he’s spending quality time with you under supervision.

Most of the cats I know find it completely impossible to wait for Christmas Day to open presents. Anyone’s will do, as they excavate package after package under the tree, tearing at the paper and chewing the bows, in their search for their own present. They can smell the cat nip, but which one is it in? Many a family has come down on Christmas morning to discover that Santa’s paid a visit and the family cat got there first, leaving a windstorm of torn brightly coloured paper and half chewed bows with the presents exposed for all to see. Sometimes it’s a good idea to banish the cat to another part of the house on Christmas Eve, so tree and presents look as lovely on Christmas Day, as they did the night before. Your cat will then enjoy opening his (and your) gifts with the family, and there’s all that wonderful paper to burrow in, hide under and pounce on (legally!)!

Food
Many of us feel that as we’re enjoying special Christmas fare, our cats will too, so we buy a tin of his favourite expensive cat food, roast some chicken, or invite him to share some of our turkey. One cat owner I know even prepared a pheasant for kitties Christmas lunch!

While birds of various kinds (cooked but without bones or fat) may be appropriate, there’s often a lot of other food around which can be really bad or even poisonous for a cat; foods like chocolate, avocado, grapes, currants, raisins and macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, chives and all forms of alcohol should not be left out for the cat to sample.

Sometimes it’s much better to stick to his routine diet with just a treat or two to spice things up.

Guests
Christmas also sees a flood of visitors and parties. Shy or older cats probably won’t enjoy this as much as you. So why not make sure they have a safe room to retire to when they’ve had enough of all the fun and noise? A room with a bed and litter tray, food and toys. This is especially important if you have a cat that lives indoors. Most guests don’t think twice about leaving a door open or opening a window, which is an invitation for a cat to explore the great outdoors.

Decorations
Pot plants and floral bouquets are often given as gifts and we decorate our houses with them. Not surprisingly these present a great temptation to the curious cat, who will often try to make a meal of them. This doesn’t do much for the flowers and can be harmful to the cat. Azaleas. holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, ivy and Christmas roses need to be placed well out of reach of even the most
agile feline.

Christmas can be a wonderful time for all the family especially if you bear in mind the needs of its four footed members.

Copyright & Credit:
Article by
Noreen Alexander
Article Source: ALL ABOUT CATS IN SOUTH AFRICA is a glossy, bi-monthly quality magazine focused on all things feline. 

Photo copyright and courtesy: C & D Photo

Category: Feline Articles, Feline Health and Care, Feline Resources

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