Sunday, December 20, 2009


This post originally ran in December of 2009. With Christmas right around the corner I thought it was worth a second look.....

Fa-la-la-la-la what a joyous time of year this is for those who celebrate Christmas but if the right safety measures aren't followed in reference to your cat it can turn into the "Nightmare Before Christmas" or the nightmare during Christmas. Save yourself an emergency trip to the vet by following some simple guidelines and make it a "Merry Christmas" for your main meower(s)!!!

 THE TREE-there are thousands upon thousands of pet related Christmas tree injuries every year. Even cats who gazed with disinterest at the tree years  earlier and may not have ever bothered the tree in the past can suddenly take a liking to it and a potential disaster can occur. Be sure your tree is secured (to the wall or ceiling) away from furniture. (Cats love to jump from furniture onto the tree) you also do not want your tree to become a climbing post (especially for kittens). Make sure that the tree is close to an electrical outlet so that cords do not have to run a far distance in the room. My first husband was Catholic so I used to put up a tree for him. My Angel Bobo was about 2 at the time. He thought the tree was a giant Pinata and spent his day while I was at work shaking the tree until all of the ornaments dropped, he thought he hit a cat toy cornucopia!! (I witnessed him doing this one day when I was home from work and it explained why every day that I came home, the tree was sprawled on the floor in it's nakedness. Thankfully he never ingested anything that could have hurt him.

 DO NOT USE TINSEL. Cats love to eat tinsel and it cannot be passed if ingested. Hello emergency room.

 DO NOT USE HOOKS ON YOUR ORNAMENTS-replace the ornament hooks with a loop of thin ribbon or thin yarn tied in a knot. If an ornament falls from the tree with a hook on it the hook can get caught in your curious kitty's mouth or can be are not trying to catch a cat fish.

 BULBS THAT ARE SAFER FOR PETS-should be plastic or wood. (However there is no safe ornament for pets. DO NOT TRIM THE LOWER TREE BRANCHES....obvious reasons......too close for a curious cat. Try using  large velvet ribbons on your tree that are not only attractive but safe.

DO NOT PUT WRAPPED GIFTS UNDER THE TREE PRIOR TO CHRISTMAS. Cats don't understand that they aren't opened til Christmas Day. They can ingest paper, string, and all the bling on the boxes....bring gifts out at the last minute.

 SWEEP UP FALLEN PINE NEEDLES-If a cat eats these they can cause vomiting and gastric irritation. Do not allow your pet access to the tree water as a forest drinking bowl. Keep tree lights OFF when you are out. They are a fire hazard.

SPRAY THE TREE WITH BITTER APPLE-for the curious kitty who just cannot leave the tree alone.


May you and your cat(s) have a Merry, and Calamity-Free will save yourself huge emergency vet bills and allow your vet to enjoy their holiday as well by following the above tips!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Moving and Feral Cats

A dear friend of mine calls herself the "Crazy Cat Lady" but she is not crazy, (well maybe a little kooky but definitely not crazy!)   She has an immense love of cats and a desire to help all cats, which is how she started caring for a feral cat colony by providing them with food on a daily basis. She has done this for quite some time and today she contacted me with an enormous dilemma, she is moving and wanted to know how she should move the feral cats and what type of shelter she should provide for them with the  fast-approaching, frigid, Mid-West Winter scratching at the door.

Cats are very territorial and "place/situation oriented" and moving can be quite traumatic. They are creatures of habit and if she chooses to move them herself there are very strict guidelines/procedures that should be followed: she can either buy a trap (cage) or borrow one from a local animal shelter. The dangerous part of trapping the cats yourself is among other things, the danger of accidentally trapping someone's beloved pet kitty, along with, in addition to, or instead of the kitty colony.
There are certain types of cages that should be used, there should be a towel on the bottom of the cage, mackerel or tuna used as "bait" and a blanket at the ready to cover the cage with once the cats are trapped.

As for shelter for feral cats in the winter? An old dog house with straw on the floor should work just fine (one with a pet door would be ideal to keep the elements out, the straw traps warmth and will be less cold for the cat. Also a shed or unused section of woodpile or under a deck, (straw could be placed there as well)

In my opinion this is too much for an inexperienced individual to undertake and they should seek the advice of a professional. This led me to search for exactly who could help her and I think I found the answer!
There  is a Feral cat rescue group called "Alley Cat Allies" which can address all of her concerns. They can connect her with someone in their "feral friends network" in her area. The website is

I applaud my friend for the good she has done and continues to do, I applaud her for not just abandoning the cats and for being responsible by attempting to make provisions for them when she moves. There are too many people who take on the responsibility of feeding feral cats and when they are done they are done without giving another thought about the cats and what will happen to them.

I hope she contacts "Alley Cat Allies", I am sure they can offer her the advice and assistance that she needs. "Happy Trails" my dear friend, I am looking forward to hearing about what happened, I am hopeful you will have a happy tale  (tail) to share!