Cold Weather Hazards

With winter in full swing, there are many risks that this time of year can bring to our feline friends.
Here are some tips and hazards to be mindful of:

1) Frostbite – pets are just as susceptible to frostbite as humans in freezing temperatures.
Areas most at risk are the extremities – ears, paws and tail. Keep pets inside and out of cold weather whenever possible and especially at night when temperatures drop!

2) Tap your hood – outdoor cats often hide under the hood of cars to keep warm. When the engine is started, the cat can be seriously injured or killed by the fan belt, or suffer from burns. Tapping on the hood of the car gives cats a chance to escape safely.

3) Antifreeze (ethylene glycol) – Extremely toxic substance if ingested! Just a few teaspoons can be lethal. The sweet smell attracts cats. Animals can become poisoned when licking spills in the driveway or garage. Choose an antifreeze product with propylene glycol, a safe alternative!
As a rule of thumb, keep out of reach of pets and clean any spills promptly.

4) Salt – If ingested, can cause severe burns to the delicate tissues of the mouth and throat. Salt is also damaging to pads causing burns, dryness and irritation. There are ‘Pet Safe’ salts commercially available made of magnesium chloride. Wildlife will appreciate this as well!

5) Cat shelters – help outdoor feral cat communities and strays by providing cat shelters! Here’s a link for how to build them : http://www.alleycat.org/resources/feral-cat-shelter-options-gallery/

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Holiday Hazards

We want you and your cat(s) to enjoy all the wonders of this magical season safely! As you decorate for the holidays and prepare festive feasts, keep these potential hazards in mind so you can avoid an emergency.

  1. easter-lily-dangerLilies are deadly for cats. Leave these out of your bouquets as any part of the plant can be harmful to a cat. Poinsettias, mistletoe and holly are also toxic and should be kept well out of reach. Opt for a pet safe bouquet!

    2. Chocolate is a favourite Christmas treat to give and to get, but.. don’t share with your pet! Chocolate poisoning occurs within hours of ingestion causing vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and even death. Theobromine is the toxic compound. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.
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  2. Tinsel, Ribbons and things that sparkle may intrigue your curious feline to bite, chew and bat them around. While this can be entertaining to watch, ingestion of these foreign bodies can cause severe damage to intestines and in some instances if the object gets stuck, surgical removal may be required. These pets are usually dull and depressed with vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort.
  3. Secure the tree ! This one is self explanatory !  Use baby gates to block access to the tree when no one is home to avoid a cat-astrophe!
  4. Avoid table scraps. Although it is tempting to treat our kitty friends, it is best to stick with pet safe treats to prevent an upset stomach.
  5. Holiday lights can be an inviting chew toy for cats and kittens. Make sure your cords are not frayed,  inspect for defects and short circuits, and store them away from the tree’s water and off the ground. Unplug when there is no one around. If you have caught your cat chewing, there are plastic covers commercially available.
    In case of electrical shock, contact your veterinarian or emergency department immediately.
  6.  Maintain routine.  Cats are creatures of habit and the hustle and bustle of the holidays can be very stressful! Make sure your cat has a safe place they can retreat to when there are visitors. Always ensure there is fresh water and avoid making changes to their feeding schedule or their diet this time of year. Consider the Feliway happy cat diffuser or spray to help calm and re-assure kitty! int-phar-feliway-refill_1