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Christmas Hazards for Cats

Christmas can be a hazardous time for pets. Here are several tips we’d like to share to ensure the Festive Season doesn’t become a time of danger for your pets.
Added on: 27 Nov, 2022 Posted by: Sandra James 4 min read (677 words)

In this guide:


The holiday season is upon us, and many people plan to include their furry companions in the festivities; As you gear up for the holidays, beware of these Christmas cat dangers that could make your cat seriously ill this Festive Season.

Christmas Trees

Christmas trees add beauty to the home, but pine tree water can be poisonous and stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria, so it is best to use an enclosed tree stand. If that is not possible, be sure to cover open tree stand bases. Make sure that the tree is secure because a toppling tree can cause serious injuries to cats and dogs. 

Tinsel & Ribbon

It is life-threatening if your cat ingests tinsel, string, or ribbons. Many times, if your cat swallows a foreign body, it does not pass through the faeces, and your cat will need surgery to remove the item. So, consider skipping the tinsel and ribbon in order to keep your cat safe.

Ornaments & Christmas Lights

Ornaments and hooks, twinkling lights and electrical wiring pose a significant danger to pets by ingestion or contact. When no one will be around to supervise, unplug lights and any electrical decorations a pet has access to. Cover or tack down electrical cords.


Don't leave lighted candles unattended. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out! Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over.

Holiday Games

Keep holiday game pieces out of paw's reach from pets to avoid accidental ingestion.

Holiday Plants

Holiday plants poisonous to pets include the berries of the mistletoe, holly, hibiscus, Christmas roses, poinsettia, and lilies. Keep these plants out of pets' reach. Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure and death in cats if ingested. 

Holiday Foods

The ingredients of some human foods are toxic to cats. Avoid feeding any of the following foods, even in small quantities: dark chocolate, cooked bones, corn on the cob, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, chives, nuts, and xylitol (the sweetener). Fatty and spicy foods should not be fed to your furry friends. 


Be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot reach them. If ingested, your pet could become weak and ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

Human Medications

Lock away your medicines – paracetamol is highly toxic to cats. Keep pills in a secure drawer or cupboard, and never leave any open packets lying around.

Cat Treats

Long, stringy things are a feline's dream, but the riskiest toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that's too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat toy.

Always Be Prepared!

Your pet may become poisoned despite your best efforts to prevent it. You should keep telephone numbers for your veterinarian, a local emergency veterinary service, and the  UK Animal PoisonLine (APL) 01202 509000 in a convenient location. If you suspect that your pet has ingested a potentially harmful product, call a veterinarian or a local emergency animal hospital immediately.

For more information on reducing stress in cats at Christmas, please read our previous article - Reducing Stress in Cats at Christmas

Sandra James

Sandra James

Owner & Founder

The Cat Butler was set up by Sandra James in recognition of the fact that a stay in a cattery can be unsettling for many cats and also their owners.

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