Feline Safe Holidays

One of the joys of house calls at this time of the year is seeing how beautifully my clients decorate their homes for the holidays. Still, even as I see an elegant holiday tree with glittering decorations of tinsel, exquisite glass ornaments, and festive multicolored lights, I can’t help also seeing the potential dangers it holds for our pets, especially cats.

Knowing cats the way I do, I recognize that holiday trees are an invitation to them for mischief and possible injury. For example, when you see a cat sitting and staring at those tinsel and glass ornaments, understand that may mean they are contemplating a leap up and onto the tree. Precariously placed trees have been known to topple over following rambunctious kitty play and create a mess of needles, dirt and broken ornaments. Your cat’s curious nature may tempt it to climb the tree instead of jumping onto it, with the goal of batting all those dangling, shiny ornaments, so make sure your tree is securely anchored so that it cannot tip over when a cat’s weight is added to one side.

The cautious thing to do is to use a very sturdy tree stand or to anchor the tree directly to a wall, particularly if the tree is large. Also, avoid placing the tree near furniture that can provide your cat a perch from which to jump onto it. It’s a good idea to provide an alternate focus for your cat’s energy -- such as a cat tree -- to divert their attention away from your holiday tree. And if your cat often goes too close to your tree, try putting double stick tape on the floor around the base of the tree to discourage your cat even from getting too close. No cat likes to step on sticky material.

Important safety considerations come with using electricity to light the tree. Be mindful of the placement of electric cords for tree lights to avoid them from getting chewed on, and speaking of chewing, those beautiful Poinsettia plants cause oral and gastrointestinal irritation when nibbled so be sure to keep them unreachable. Also, don’t use tinsel or fine ribbons as decorations because they are enticing for cats to play with but can cause intestinal foreign bodies if ingested.

The holidays are a beautiful time of the year, but they can present unrecognized dangers for a house cat. Responsible cat ownership means creating a cat-friendly home environment by avoiding or securing potentially harmful items and providing safe alternatives to enjoy. It is up to us to be aware of the potential dangers that holiday decorations can create for our cats and then be proactive to mitigate their risks to ensure that our feline family members human enjoy a safe holiday season.

I wish you and your cats very happy -- and safe -- holidays.

Have a Question about Pet Health or Veterinary House Calls?

Just Send us an Email.

We Service all of Manhattan

Call City Pets Vets® at (212) 581-7387 or (212) 581-PETS today!

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm