Keep Your Christmas Tree Safe from Your Cat (or Dog)

Image by Myshun from Pixabay

This holiday season is a bit different. Everyone is challenged because of Covid-19. Many of us have to be separated from our families. We want to keep all of the humans safe but we also want to keep our fur babies safe. Lets stay out of the hospital and the vet clinic this holiday! Here are some great guidelines to keep your pets safe around your Christmas tree.

Safety Around The Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree can be beautiful and a giant safety hazard. Here are some guidelines to keep your tree upright and in tact.

Tree Dangers

  • Falling Over: You never think your tree is going to fall over until it does. One year we bought a big tree. It was about twice as tall as we normally get. We had moved into a new house and it could fit a really tall tree. We didn’t realize that a really tall tree needs a different stand than an average size tree. So the tree kept falling over. This is dangerous for so many reasons: 1. It can cause injury to your pet, your kids, or you. 2. It is a fire danger. 3. It could damage something in your house. Make sure your stand is the right size for your tree.
  • Eating the tree: I know it sounds gross but pets love to chew on Christmas trees. It is like when they go into the backyard and chew on plants. Eating the plants is a natural behavior, and in some cases can help digestive issues. But the Fir tree’s, aka. Christmas trees, are not a tree that will help make their tummies feel better. In fact, they will do the opposite. If your pet chews on the tree they may get stomach irritation, vomit, or have diarrhea. 
  • Tree Water: Cats are the biggest culprits of drinking tree water. For some reason they just love it. But tree water is not like tap water, even though you put tap water in your tree stand. Once the base of the tree goes into that water it can release potential hazardous chemicals into the water such as pesticides, preservatives, or fertilizers. It is also common for people to put aspirin into their tree water to help prolong the life of the tree. But even that little amount could be too much of a dosage for your pet and could make them very sick. 

String and Tinsel

We love to put string, tinsel and ribbon on the tree and your pet loves that you put them on. To them they look like wonderfully sparkly toys to play with and chew on. Swallowing string and tinsel can cause serious gastrointestinal problems, so make sure they are either secured firmly to the tree or out of reach of your furry friend.

Christmas Lights

Christmas lights set the mood for the whole season. But do you remember that scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when the cat bites the string of lights? Well, as funny as the scene in the movie was, in real life it is not so funny. Cover any wire on the ground with a wire cover (tape will work) to keep exposed wire covered so your dog or cat cannot chew on it.

It is a good idea to simply keep your pets away from the tree. Chewing on it, drinking the water, climbing into it, eating the decorations, chewing on wires, eating wrapping paper, getting caught on ornament hooks, breaking glass ornaments, are just some of the easy to list dangers. The list goes on and on. If you need to, put your tree in a room where your pets can’t go, or put a fence around your tree to keep them away from it. 

At any time if you think your pet has eaten something to make them sick, been injured in any way, it is better to call your Albuquerque veterinarian and get them checked out immediately. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

We want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! So our staff can enjoy the holiday we will be closed November 25-28th for the long weekend.

Stop Your Cat Spraying In Your House

cat spraying
cat spraying

One of the great things about cats is they are typically very clean. They usually like to keep their toilet behaviors to a litter box or a garden. This means that if you smell cat urine in your house, somewhere other than the litter box, or find cat poo in the corner of the room, this can be a cause for concern.

There are a number of different reasons a cat might have an accident.

Marking– Cats use urine as a way to mark their territory. This is more common with unaltered males, so make sure to get your boy cats neutered. Sometimes even if your cat is neutered and you get a new cat your old cat may be feeling a bit encroached upon. They may start spraying their scent, aka urine, in corners of rooms or on furniture, to let the other can know whose house it is. If they are doing this you will want to use a cleaner that will get rid of 100% of the cat smell. Cleaners like Natures Miracle work to get rid of the smells you can smell and the ones you cant. If there is a lingering smell, even if you cant detect it, your cat will be more likely to continue to spray in that area.

How can you tell if your cat is peeing or marking?

When cats urinate to relieve their bladder they squat down. Typically they will have a fair volume of urine and will prefer to pee on a flat surface. If a cat is spraying they will stand up and often make a treading or running in place motion with their hind legs. Their tail will be up an quivering or twitching. Typically it will be a small amount of urine and it will be sprayed straight behind them onto a vertical surface like a wall. They will often pick spots near doors or windows. Curtains are often a favorite.

Retraining Your Cat

If your cat is spraying you will need to retrain them to use the litter box.

  1. Keep the litter box very clean. If they poo, remove it immediately. Leaving a little bit of urine in there so they can identify their own smell can help.
  2. If you see your cat getting ready to pee, pick them up and put them in the litter box. Doing this means you can only have your cat out when you are able to watch them because success is based on catching them doing it every time.
  3. Place litter boxes in all the places they spray. If you can’t catch them every time, the make sure you have litter boxes everywhere they spray. As they get use to standing in the litter box, start moving it away from the spray area and get them use to only going in the box.
  4. Keep it clean. Any area you do not want them to spray you must keep it very clean and make sure all smell of previous sprays are gone. You need to use special cleaners such as Natures Miracle to get out all the odors.
  5. If your cat is spraying because of anxiety due to new people, new pets, or new enviornment, you will want to help quell their anxiety. Do not leave them alone with the new person of cat. Offer gentle and supported introductions. If you are in a new environment, keep them in one small room and slowly let them explore the new house a little at a time. Putting things out around the house that have your scent, like shirts and blankets that you use, can help your pet start to feel more at home.
  6. If your cat is spraying because they see a neighbor cat outside you may want to consider putting up blinds that go up from the bottom so he can’t see the neighborhood tease.
  7. Feeling secure. Cats are less likely to spray if they feel secure in their environment. Give them places to retreat too, like boxes or perches up high.

Spraying can be a sign of a health issue. If your cat won’t stop spraying make sure to speak with your Albuquerque vet about it.