It’s the same precautions each year, but it’s easy to forget when we get into the thick of things around a holiday—and even if you don’t celebrate American Thanksgiving, most holidays have food, decorations and traditions that we need to be careful of for the sake of our kitties. I’ve included the most important points below with a link to the main article after that. Have a great Thanksgiving if you celebrate, and if not enjoy whatever celebration you choose!
Unlike most other major holidays, Thanksgiving is really all about food and people. Everyone does it a little differently but for the most part we don’t have too many decorations that are up for long periods of time or notable plants brought into the house for the season, it’s really just a day, or a few days, especially if you cook a big meal, when you need to be careful. But even if you are vegetarian or vegan, parts of that meal can still be dangerous or downright toxic to your pets, especially cats, and visitors to your home can also either unknowingly bring dangers or totally freak out your pets.
Before covering the basic warnings, here are a few key points to remember—the same ones I always use to begin a holiday article, but I find it important to reiterate them each time:
1. Animals are not little people. Animals are simply a fraction of our size, so the effect of anything on them will be multiplied in their smaller bodies which don’t metabolize things the same as we do. Consider chocolate and raisins, both of which can be toxic in dogs and cats in smaller amounts than we would eat for fun. Consider aspirin, which a cat’s small body doesn’t metabolize quickly enough to avoid a possible overdose and can be fatal, but can safely be used in reasonable dosages in a dog as a pain reliever.
2. Animals don’t make reasoned decisions in the same way we do. They make decisions based on their own sensibilities as cats and dogs, and because we presume they can’t read or understand warnings about dangers to themselves, these decisions are based on curiosity and adventure and are not always in their own best interest.
3. Don’t ever think your cat or dog “wouldn’t eat that”. They would. Plan on it. Cats are a little more discerning than dogs in choosing what to eat, and even with that, in all the years I’ve had cats they’ve eaten, or attempted to eat, just about anything they could chew and swallow, including such foods as hot peppers, cookies and raw green beans—who would think?!
4. Don’t think your cat or dog “can’t get to it”. They can. They have nothing better to do than to stalk and kill your cheese plate, or the box with the curling ribbon. Confine them if they won’t stay out of something, or get it out of your house.
5. And a special one for the holiday season: Your change in routine will change your pet. Don’t presume you can predict what they will do. Animals are creatures of habit, but this is the one time of the year we intentionally break habits including daily schedules, entertaining guests, and arranging and decorating our space. Our pets may run the spectrum from happily helping to totally freaking out, but the change in plans will have an effect on them and they may not behave in their usual manner, either, making them much less predictable than we are accustomed to.
They can only get into what we leave available for them, so keep them in mind as you prepare. I have links to articles for more information about toxic plants, foods and other dangers at the end of this post.
Click here to read the rest of “Thanksgiving Goodies, and Baddies”
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Here is one of my favorite sketches, the third daily sketch of over a thousand, from way at the beginning of my series of sketches beginning on December 4, 2011, and one of the few to include Cookie. It’s Kelly, Mimi and Cookie enjoying dinner on the evening of December 7, 2011. Read more and purchase.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!