We’re lucky to be southern cats. We have ridiculously hot summers in exchange for not having snow like so many of our friends up north. But we learned that there are a lot of hazards lurking in the winter for kitties in cold climates, and we’re sharing a few tips we found that humans can use to make winter a little easier on their outdoor kitty friends like community cats who stay out in the cold.
The big Thanksgiving holiday. It’s a time many of us spend with family and friends, and one of the centerpieces of the holiday for most families is the big Thanksgiving dinner.
Your cat may have varying opinions about this.
Ashton: When do they serve the turkey?
Newton: Forget turkey. I want to dive into the whipped cream!
Pierre: Does this mean visitors for dinner? Tell me when they’re gone.
Cats like Pierre are mostly immune to Thanksgiving dinner hazards, but cats like Newton and Ashton will put on their holiday best to be able to share in your Thanksiving feast. Is it safe to share with them?
A little taste of boneless, well-cooked turkey is safe for your cat, but hold the stuffing! Stuffing usually contains onions, which aren’t safe for cats. Sweet potatoes are safe, but don’t share them if you don’t know what they were prepared with, the essential oils in some herbs and spices can cause gastrointestinal upset. Similarly, pumpkin, which vets recommend for feline constipation, isn’t the same thing as a pumpkin pie full of spices. Consider holding a little pumpkin aside when making your pie if you want to share with your kitty.
The most important thing is moderation. A little taste of your mashed potatoes is all right, but your cat doesn’t need a meal of them. Kitties may love the novelty of interesting food smells at the holidays, but share sparingly and keep up their regular diet to avoid upset stomachs.
How can you keep your kitty safe this Halloween? Depending on how much trick-or-treating happens in your neighborhood and how much you love to decorate for the holiday, these tips can help:
Keep your indoor-outdoor cat inside, at least for the evening. If you have lots of scary strangers walking up the front walk in costumes over and over, it increases the likelihood of your outdoor cat being frightened and going missing or having an accident happen.
Make sure your cat has ID. Since your kitty won’t carry an ID card, both a collar and microchip are suggested to make sure that if trick-or-treaters or Halloween revelers spook your cat and she ends up lost, someone can help her get home safely.
Make a quiet spot away from the front door’s constant ringing and opening. You may want to play some soothing music in the room to help cover the doorbell noises for the anxious cat. If your cat is really anxious about the doorbell and door, consider sitting on your porch to hand out candy so that the bell isn’t causing such agitation.
Be careful with Halloween decor. It’s not manufactured to be a safe cat toy and may have unhealthy components or pieces that are easily torn off by a playful cat, such as gauzy fake spiderwebs, which can cause blockages if ingested. Don’t forget that a candle inside a jack-o-lantern is still an open flame and can be dangerous if knocked down. Consider using a battery-powered, artificial candle instead.
Watch out for Halloween toys that weren’t meant for cats and might be a hazard. Glow sticks, enjoyed by children instead of flashlights while trick-or-treating, can be toxic.
If you’re going to dress kitty up in a costume, even just for photos, do it safely. If your cat isn’t used to wearing clothes, watch for signs of distress and don’t overdo it if your kitty gets upset. Be sure that the costume isn’t too tight for your cat to draw a deep breath and doesn’t obscure your cat’s vision.
Don’t share Halloween candy with your cat. If you have a cat like Ashton who will eat almost anything, whether it’s species-appropriate or not, make sure that candy is stored out of reach or in a sealed container.
Our washer broke recently. You wouldn’t think this would be a big deal to us cats since we don’t wear clothes, but Pierre loves his clean sheets more than just about anything else. Our old washer was pretty old.
Well, maybe not quite that old. But it was old. And our new washer is all fancy and opens on the front.
Doesn’t that look like a great place to hang out if you’re a cat?
Of course, that’s not a photo of one of us. Our washer is in the garage, and we aren’t allowed out there. Lots of kitties live in houses where the washer and dryer are right inside the house, and there is no way that we would be able to resist such a tempting hiding place.
Unfortunately, a lot of cats have trouble resisting staying out of washers and especially warm dryers. That can be really dangerous. How often do you check the inside of your washing machine or dryer before starting to put laundry in there? Unless you said “every single time,” there’s always the risk that your kitty may have gone in there to take a nap when you weren’t looking. Washers with dirty clothes smell like their favorite people — you — just like your laundry basket does, and that makes them especially inviting. Not to mention that dryers are often warm. We all know how much cats like finding warm spots to rest.
We know someone whose kitty was sleeping in the dryer when it was started, and it didn’t turn out well, and we don’t want this to happen to you! Things you can do to help prevent this include:
- Always checking the inside of the washer and dryer before putting in clothes or running it, even if it was unattended only briefly.
- Securely closing the doors that access laundry rooms.
- Closing the washer and dryer door between loads to prevent access. For washers that get musty if left closed and do not have a built-in way to prop them slightly ajar, look into getting a gadget to hold them ajar just enough for air to dry the washer without allowing access to your kitty.
With a little extra diligence, your cat can be safe even around your tempting front-loading washer and dyer.