Cats At Christmas/Holidays
Cats At Christmas and other Holidays
Christmas is when more families get into arguments about their pet cats than any other time of the year. And I bet, right now, you are smiling, thinking of all the Christmas Trees cats have toppled. It is only funny when it is not YOUR favorite and or family heirloom Christmas Ornament getting shattered.
Cats have toppled many many Christmas Trees. Somehow it makes some people laugh. The laughing usually stops, and at least one person becomes angry, at their/the cat, when they find the broken mess they will be trying to stand back up and clean up....only to find, that Kitty will go back to the tree and do it again.
But it is not just the Christmas Trees that are a concern with 'Cats At Christmas'.
Cat's will love the pretty packages, the beautiful bows, the dangling decor on the gifts under the tree. Your cat has no idea why those things are there, other than for it to play with. After all, cats see the world as it moves around them. ie: EVERYTHING is set up for them, about them.
It would be a very good idea not to put your gifts under your tree until a few hours, or right before, you plan to open them. If you just have to put the wrapped gifts under the tree...you might want to keep wrapping to a minimum, only larger gifts that could not be carried off or battered away by the cat, and don't teach your cat the trick, "Unwrap A Gift", a Cat Trick I cover in the Teaching Your Cat Tricks Chapter of this book.
This is where humans amaze me. I have shaken my head more than once at the fact that people do not think things out. If you give Kitty a gift at Christmas, and you wrap that gift, if Kitty unwraps it or sees you unwrap the fun and exciting toy.... YOUR CAT IS GOING TO THINK THAT EACH AND EVERY GIFT UNDER THE TREE IS NOT ONLY FOR IT, BUT READY FOR OPENING.
Boxes And Expelled Christmas Paper
A cat is a cat is a cat is a cat. Cats LOVE to play and hide inside boxes and under papers. Be careful not to throw your cat away with the empty boxes and expelled wrapping paper. Go through all the places a cat might hide in before carrying your 'Christmas Trash' out of our home.
If Kitty likes a particular box that something came in, let Kitty keep the box at least a few days. THAT is Christmas to a cat. Any empty box, of any size or shape, will be interesting to a cat.
A Cat Christmas Stocking can be a stocking for your cat filled Christmas Eve with toys and treats, or it can be a stocking for you with a Christmas Kitty print on it. Either way, be careful where you hand them.
If Kitty can reach any sort of hanging stocking, and this includes jumping up and grabbing them, cats will want to get those stockings. If not for any other reason then the stockings are hanging there and people seem to like them. IF there are cat toys enclosed, all the more attractive for Kitty to want.
If the stocking has bells, fringe, little dangling scarves, blinking lights, and the like, it will be even more appealing to Kitty.
Having company over sounds so simple. But at Christmas, when you own a cat or more than one cat, having company over can become rather complicated.
Cats know when you are distracted and will often get into trouble because of it. Cats will also be excited about all the other events and items that Christmas brings and company coming might just send them into that....tantrum, or run about, or turning into that mean cat we all hate to see come out of our sweet kitties! What I am saying here is: Christmas can become very over stimulating to a cat. I am NOT saying that you can not enjoy Christmas to it's fullest. I just want you to be aware of Christmas through your cat's eyes.
Doors Opening And Closing
When Christmas comes, people visit. We are all more on the move, going to and from places, moving about our homes more, and going to parties. Keep in mind, as a cat owner, that your door to outside will be open more for Kitty to slip out, as well as closed more for Kitty to get between and injured in. In many areas, Christmas time also means = Winter Time. If your house cat goes outdoors and you are unaware of it, kitty might get pretty cold out there.
You will want to remind your guest, using your bathrooms, that cat's have tails, so if the cat follows them, to watch the door as it closes. If your cat plays in the toilet and you need the toilet lid put back down, or if the cat uses that bathroom and needs the toilet seat let up....and by all means, if Kitty DOES use that toilet....make sure it is very clean for each and every guest...that is, go in often and check it while guests are in your home.
If you entertain and serve food, you will need at least one other person to help keep Kitty off the tables, counters, trays and out of the food.
Cats are notorious for getting up on tables counters at will. Many owners do not train their cats to stay off the tops of them. If you have all your food up on that counter for you and your guest, Kitty is not going to understand that no one wants it up there with or worse, in, the party foods. In fact, Kitty might just think you have set that delicious and festive food up on the table for it.
During a party people are distracted. You need to be aware of where your Kitty is so that it is not eating foods that can harm it. Some foods won't really make Kitty sick because of what they are, but because Kitty is not used to eating them. The other problem is, too much of a good thing, can make Kitty very sick. And a 'sick kitty' can really smell up the house.
Also. Make very sure guests know not to feed Kitty.
Not only do drinks in cups draw many cat's attention, they like to play in them and drink from them. Straws sticking out of glasses are just a 'set up' for a cat to grab it. Straws are not just toys for cats, they have that instinct for 'long tails'. Don't blame Kitty if it grabs straws and spills the drinks.
Keep in min that your guest do NOT want to share their drinks with your Kitty. Also, most of what is served in those drink cups is really bad for Kitty too.
Many cats love to play with ice inside a cup or inside a drink and their some cat owners let them do it. This is fine as long as the owner wants cat feet or cat faces inside their drinks or cups, but guest will not.
Keep in mind.....cat's use their feet when they cover their bodily waste in their kitty litter. Cat feet in human foot or drink.....
People As Guests To Your Home That Do Not Like Cats
My theory on this is probably like yours. If you do not like animals, you won't like coming to my house. I let people know ahead of their first visit that I have animals, lots of them, and that animals live inside my home....it is up to them if they still want to come and visit.
Some people just do not like to have cat/dog hair on their clothing. Those people would not like to visit me, and I probably would have nothing in common with them anyway.
However, I hate the howevers like this one, sometimes a family member or other person you just can not leave out of your plans, does not like cats. It is Christmas, be kind. Try to keep Kitty away from this person and this person away from your cat. Personally, I watch this for several reasons, one reason is that I do not want this person mistreating my animals in my pet's own home.
People That Are Allergic To Cats
There are an increasing, almost alarming, amount of people that have allergies to something, many of them are allergic to cats. Just let people know ahead of time, maybe even on your party invitation, that you are a cat/dog/animal owner. If you know someone is allergic to cats, explain why you are not inviting them to your home.
If they come to your home anyway, my feelings are, it's on them. I don't let them feel like they are doing me a favor, I don't give them much sympathy for their allergy symptoms. That might sound cruel, but the truth is, my cat lives here, and I told them ahead of time that the cat and other animals live here.
Taking Your Cat On Christmas Vacation
Many people travel at Christmas and go and stay with family. Whatever you do, do NOT just show up with your cat. Not only will you upset the apple cart doing this. It will not be so fun for your cat.
If the people you are staying with INVITE your cat, that is different. Keep in mind these people, even your own parents, will have the same problems with your cat at their house as you would have had with your cat at your house.... doors, Christmas trees, gifts, food, drinks, all of it. To add to that, many people have their own animals and do not need an extra, well, ever, but especially at Christmas.
If your cat is invited to go with you to stay with someone in their home, any time of year, be prepared, be polite, don't make them sorry they invited you. Take your cat's normal food, water and kitty litter, as well as the cat's normal clean kitty litter to change out as it is used. Take your cat's bed, your cats favorite blanket, and a few toys. And of course, Kitty's favorite larger crate. Also take with you! Take a good cleaning agent, a really good one, to use in a heartbeat, if your cat would potty on the carpet or floor or bed or.... while you are in someone else's home. If it happens, do not try to blame it on any other pet or person, just jump up and clean it, and clean it well!
Your cat will be stressed enough to stay over in someone else's home, if during a Holiday, with all the extra hustle and bustle, Kitty will be even more stressed. Kitty may 'act out' for more of your attention. Be prepared to put Kitty into it's crate at any moment. The cat might not like that it is spending a lot of time in a crate, but better than that, then someone bit or scratched, items ruined, or other hurt feelings.
If you are traveling for one day and a night, coming back the next day, set up kitty with enough food for that time frame. Clean the kitty litter box before you go, right before you go. This will leave Kitty at home safe and secure in the place it knows best. But. Take your Christmas Tree down before you leave.
If you will be gone longer, find a friend or neighbor to drop in and check in and up on Kitty. Someone that will feed and clean the kitty box, making sure Kitty has water to drink.
The Christmas Tree. At our house we have, and our cats know the words, and they know to stay out of them, "No Kitty Zone!". We teach this when they are kittens and we are very firm and consistent on those 'no kitty zones'. But cats and trees... Well. Everyone has trouble keeping their cat out of their Christmas Tree. Not only do we bring in a tree to the house, we put all the lights, blinking lights, and pretties on them. It is like a magnet for a cat.
The trick is to find an area where you can keep an eye on the tree and Kitty all the time. Yes. It is a full time job to keep Kitty out of your Christmas Tree.
You might find that not leaving the Christmas Tree up for over a month is helpful too. Set it up later in the month, closer to the 25th of December, and take it down earlier, sooner than January 1.
Do not add your favorite ornaments if you have a kitten that year. Wait till Kitty is older, knows the house rules and more is more trained and behaved. But those favorite, old, dear, breakable ornaments....think twice, maybe three times, before putting those on your Christmas Tree.
My Daughter In Law, Jen, came up with a BRILLIANT Idea to keep their cats out of the Christmas Tree. She hangs Cat Toys from the BOTTOM BRANCHES of her Tree. Her cats play with those rather than the more expensive and much loved Ornaments at the top.
Christmas Choo Choo Train
Another fun Christmas Tradition for many families....that miniature train that comes out with all the small, cute, fun small pieces a cat will love to grab and run with. The train, going down the tracks, another draw for Kitty.
The first year, when your cat is a kitten, you might not want the fight over the train. You might want to either not set up the train or to set up only the basics. While your cat is a kitten maybe only set up the tracks and run the train when Kitty is not around, put Kitty up or hold Kitty. Only have the train on the tracks when Kitty is a kitten when you are RIGHT THERE watching the cat and the train. Put the train itself in a box and up where kitty can not get to it.
If Kitty does chase the train as it choo choos around the track, and grab the cute items from the display, or if kitty knocks it all down, DO NOT LAUGH! Do not let poor behavior continue. If you laugh and let it go, you will be asking your cat to tear up the train set, and to tear it up, year after year after year. Many people do not even know they encourage bad behavior in children and pets with a laugh or a smile and or by telling the story, as if it is a cute story, in front of others.
Oh the lovely Christmas Nick Nacks we set all around our home. Those beautiful bulbs, the Christmas Angels, all the cute and fun and some battery operated Christmas fun. YOU need to decide if you want to leave all these setting out when you own a cat, or not. This is one area I would say, it is not Kitty's fault if your Nick Nacks get broken by Kitty. Why? From the cat's point of view, these are toys for it. You have set these out for it's fun.
Other Holidays and Bar-B-Ques
All of this information can be used all year for parties and events you will have at your home and yard.
At Bar-B-Ques many time food is left inside while the folks are outside. The food comes out when the meat is ready. Don't be foolish and think that food on the counter is safe while you are outdoors and Kitty is in. Put food and or Kitty away.
Cats really need to have a large crate, for smaller homes, that are set up with a Kitty Litter Box, soft cushion or bed, and toys. Or a room where the door can be shut and remain shut with Kitty in that room during parties and events in your home.
Some people think crates are cruel, they could not be more wrong. Cats used to a crate, even with the door open on it, will go to it for a safe place to be. Cats love a 'hiding place', if trained, the crate will be this safe place for Kitty.
Smaller parties, however, where people like your cats are quiet different than large parties where that door will be open, people everywhere, food, drinks, too much for Kitty to handle. Smaller gatherings can be fun for Kitty too, if the right folks are invited and don't feed Kitty the wrong or any foods.
If you have children and are going to have other children over for a party. PUT KITTY AWAY FOR CHILDREN PARTY TIME. It is not fair to Kitty with all the kids squealing and running around, and it is not fair to the children if one gets scratched or bitten by an excited cat at your home.
Don't forget to let the parents know, before the party that you have cats in your home....allergies and all.
The Cat That IS The Holiday Gift
I personally do not have a problem with pets as gifts, IF the person receiving the pet as a gift WANTED THAT PARTICULAR pet for a gift.
In today's world it is all but, if not completely, taboo, to give a pet as a gift. I was born in 1957 and it was quite common when I was growing up....but, our parents also made sure, made sure, we were caring for and treating those animals correctly. The animals became part of our learning to care for and be responsible for something besides ourselves. Often we were also given a care book on the animals we received and encouraged to read the books. I think we lost some of the responsibility taught to kids, the sense of responsibility, that comes with pet ownership as a child as it used to be. I think it shows in our society today.
My biggest problem with pets as gifts is that the adult given the pet did not get to pick it out themselves. When a pet is picked out by the one that is the caretaker and trainer, there seems to be more of a bond. The caretaker can choose not only for looks and personality, but also physical and mental fitness.
IF you are planning to give a pet as a gift, maybe give a card with a photo inside of the pet or they type of pet the person can choose. That way the person receiving the pet can think about it. That way the animal given is not as overwhelmed at the Holiday. Pick up the animal a few days after the Holiday and let it settle in. If the pet is a Christmas gift, take the tree down before picking out the pet.
IF you give a child a pet, please, I beg you, watch over the pet's care and training. Please, buy the correct foods and items needed for this pet. This would be a very fun outing for your child, picking out all the fun items for their new pet. Teach your child to read the Pet Food lables to choose a proper foot for the animal. Take your child shopping before picking up the new pet. You will want to have the items ready and set up for the new pet before it arrives to your home. And you will want to come straight home after picking out the new pet.
Buy the cat a crate before picking it up, use the crate for the pet to ride to it's new home inside of. It will not only be safer, if you are getting a kitten or cat, your child will be safer as well as the animal. That pet, has probably NEVER ridden in a vehicle before...or been away from it's mother.
-- The Siamese Song Team
Wed, 22 Aug 2018 11:20:39 -0400