Your Christmas tree could be LETHAL for your cat: Vets warn fir trees are toxic to felines – while fallen needles can puncture your pet’s stomach if swallowed
- Vets warn that the pine needles from Christmas trees can be dangerous for cats
- To keep your cat safe, consider getting an artificial tree or no-drop variety
No Christmas tree is truly safe when there is a cat in the house.
But now experts say that your feline friend might be just as threatened by the tree.
Vets from Purina have warned owners that pine trees contain chemicals that can be toxic to felines.
What’s more, any fallen needles can even puncture your pet’s stomach if ingested.
‘If you’ve got your heart set on buying a real tree then a non-drop variety is safer,’ Purina advised.
The needles of your Christmas tree can be dangerous to cats as they contain toxic oils and can even pierce their stomach (stock image)
What are the 5 biggest Christmas dangers for cats?
While Christmas is a time of relaxation for humans, it can be a stressful and even dangerous time of year for cats.
With new people coming and going and lots of new decorations up around the house, the whole affair can be quite overwhelming.
However, it is the Christmas tree itself that poses the biggest risk to cats at this time of year.
‘Fir trees are mildly toxic and may produce oils which can cause irritation to a cat’s mouth and stomach,’ Purina explained.
Thankfully, the vets say that it is quite unlikely your cat will eat enough of the needles to have a severe reaction.
However, the toxicity of the tree isn’t the only threat to felines.
Fallen pine needles can also be dangerous to cats when eaten, thanks to their sharp points.
‘There’s also a small risk with fallen needles from Christmas trees because if they’re swallowed, they could puncture your cat’s gastrointestinal system,’ Purina added.
If you have a cat, Purina says that the safest option is to get an artificial tree.
However, if you have heart set on a real tree, it’s best to choose a non-drop variety.
Broken glass baubles can also pose a big risk for cats so be sure to keep them out of reach of swiping paws and ensure your tree is safely secured (stock image)
READ MORE: Cats are falling ill with life-threatening STRESS as owners spend longer at home
Aside from the tree itself, Christmas decorations can also be dangerous for cats.
Hanging toys and baubles are a very attractive target for a playful kitten.
Likewise, if your cat likes to climb, then you know it won’t be long before they are scaling the Christmas tree and threatening to bring it crashing down.
If there are glass ornaments on the tree these could shatter when knocked down, spreading broken glass over the floor which could cut your cat badly.
Tinsel and angel hair can also be dangerous, as they can cause internal blockages if eaten.
Purina said: ‘To make sure you have a cat-friendly Christmas tree in your home, stay away from glass baubles and any that are made with toxic materials.
‘Ditch the tinsel and angel hair and securely attach all decorations to the tree, ensuring none are too close to the bottom, with reach of a swatting cat paw.’
Another thing to be aware of during the festive season is your cat’s stress levels.
While some cats take new people and noise in their stride, others find it very disruptive.
To avoid stressing your cat out this holiday, Purina recommends several different options.
One option is to try and keep the Christmas chaos isolated to one room.
If this isn’t a possibility for you, then giving the cat at least one room where it can hide away from the action can be very helpful.
Additionally, Purina suggests avoiding using too many cleaning products in the home.
‘While you are going to want to make sure your house looks its best if you are inviting family around, don’t go too crazy with the cleaning, polishing and air fresheners,’ it explained.
‘These can disturb the comforting scent marks your cat leaves around the house that helps them feel at home and secure, and can lead to anxiety.’
What festive plants can be toxic to cats?
- The berries of this traditional holiday plant can be extremely toxic to cats if ingested and even fatal.
- Symptoms can include breathing problems, vomiting, and even seizures.
- Be very careful that this plant stays out of reach of your cat.
- Often used in wreathes and festive arrangements Poinsettias are mildly toxic to cats.
- Their sap contains a chemical which can cause vomiting, drooling, or rarely, diarrhoea.
- Exposure is non-fatal and usually does not require medical treatment.
- The leaves, bark, and berries of this plant are all mildly toxic to cats and can be harmful if ingested.
- Holly’s sharp leaves can also cut cats’ mouths and gums if they try to chew on them.
- Certain types of ferns that are used in wreathes can be mildly toxic to cats.
- Check what your wreath contains and always keep it out of reach of cats to be safe.
Mistletoe berries are extremely toxic to cats so be sure to keep it out of reach of any curious pets this holiday season
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