How To Interpret Cat Behavior

More Cat Care Information:

Lots of people know that some holiday plants are poisonous to pets. Mistletoe and Holly are some of the best known but did you ever think about your Christmas tree? Most pet owners worry about them tipping it over but don't think about if their pet eats it.

General Cat Care #1: Before You Bring Your Cat Home
You will need food, food dish, water bowl, interactive toys, brush, comb, safety cat collar, scratching post, litter and litter box.
General Cat Care #2: Feeding
An adult cat should be fed one large or two smaller meals each day. Kittens from 6 to 12 weeks need to be fed four times a day. Kittens from three to six months need to be fed three times a day. You can either feed specific meals, throwing away any leftover canned food after 30 minutes or free-feed dry food (keeping food out all the time).

Feed your cat a high-quality, brand-name kitten or cat food (avoid generic brands) two to three times a day. Kittens can be fed human baby food for a short time if they won’t eat kitten food softened by soaking in warm water. Use turkey or chicken baby food made for children six months and older. Gradually mix with cat food. Cow’s milk is not necessary and can cause diarrhea in kittens and cats. Provide fresh, clean water at all times. Wash and refill water bowls daily.

Christmas is a time for many new things to be added to your home. Families want their home to be festive and colorful. This means bringing in beautiful plants and live trees. Most cats can't resist chewing on the holiday plants and tree. Many of these plants are poisonous to your cat. There are different levels of toxicity from mild to extreme. The amount of plant ingested is related to the level of poisoning. Kittens are the most curious about the new green plants. Dose is size dependent, so kittens have a greater risk of plant poisoning.

Christmas Trees

Christmas trees are considered mildly toxic. The oils of the fir tree can irritate the mouth and stomach, causing excessive drooling or vomiting.

Christmas tree needles are not easily digested. This could possibly cause GI irritation, vomiting, gastrointestinal obstruction or puncture.

Artificial trees can also be dangerous if eaten. The main worry is the toxin released from the artificial material and possible intestinal obstruction. The needles can not be digested by your cat.

As noted earlier, the amount consumed will determine the amount of worry needed. Most times, cats don't consume very much tree substance.

General Cat Care #3: Grooming
Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but they do need to be brushed or combed. Frequent brushing helps keep your cat’s coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs
General Cat Care #4: Handling
To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck (behind the ears) or by the front legs without supporting the rear end.
General Cat Care #5: Housing
Cats should have a clean, dry place of their own in the house. Line your cat’s bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your cat indoors. If your companion animal is allowed outside, he can contract diseases, get ticks or parasites, become lost or get hit by a car, hurt in a fight or poisoned. Also, cats prey on wildlife.

An additional safety note would be to consider the tree water. Pesticides, fertilizers and other preservative agents are commonly used to keep the tree fresh. These can be harmful or deadly to any cats that may drink it. Try to use a covered tree water dish to be safe.

Holiday Plants

Bright holiday plants make great decorations and gifts this time of year. They may also pose threats to your pet from mild to severe toxicity potential.

Poinsettia plants have often be labeled as highly toxic. This is actually just an urban legend. Poinsettia plant sap is considered mildly toxic or irritating. It may cause vomiting or nausea but does not typically cause death.

Mistletoe and Holly are both considered to be moderately to severely toxic. The berries as well as the leaves pose a problem. If ingested, contact your veterinarian or poison control center for advice immediately.

Lilies and Daffodils are considered very toxic for your cat. This would also include the Amaryllis and Narcissus plants. Your cat rubbing against the lily plant can be just as severe as them eating it. When your cat grooms themselves to clean up, they are ingesting the pollen from the plant. Any bulb kit featuring one of the plants in the lily or daffodil family, could pose a threat to your pet. Try to keep any of these plants away from your cat. Severe symptoms such as cardiac arrhythmias, kidney failure, gastrointestinal signs, convulsions and even death can occur.

What to Look For

If you think your cat may have eaten some of your plants or Christmas tree, watch for any changes in their behavior. Most common signs related to toxic plant ingestion are vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and sometimes excessive drooling. Tremors or seizures may be seen is some cases when Holly berries have been ingested. Coma and death are common in these cases.

General Cat Care #6: Identification
If allowed outdoors (again, we caution against it!), your cat needs to wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. An ID tag or an implanted microchip can help insure that your cat is returned if he or she becomes lost.
General Cat Care #7: Litter Box
All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. A bathroom or utility room is a good place for your cat’s box. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary. Then do so slowly, a few inches a day. Cats won’t use a messy, SMELLY litter box. Scoop solids out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent (don’t use ammonia) and refill at least once a week, less frequently if using clumping litter. Don’t use deodorants or scents in the litter or litter box (especially avoid lemon scent).
Updated: February 24, 2017 — 5:44 pm

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