Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Safety Tips for Cats: Dangerous Holiday Food and Plants

Last week, I discussed the holiday dangers that household decorations and gift wrapping pose to cats.  Now I'd like to discuss which holiday foods and plants are dangerous for kitties.


Chocolate: Chocolate is toxic to cats.  Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is used medicinally as a blood vessel dilator, heart stimulant, smooth muscle relaxer, and a diuretic, according to VCA Animal Hospitals.  According to their website, one or two dark chocolate or baking squares is enough to be fatal for an adult cat who ingests it, and as little as one ounce of milk chocolate can kill a kitten if ingested.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in cats include vomiting, hyperexcitability, nervousness, and diarrhea.  In severe cases, the only sign may be sudden death.  It's very important that you call your veterinarian, a local emergency veterinary hospital, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control hotline for advice if you think your cat has ingested chocolate.

Onions and Garlic: Onions and garlic are not good for cats as they can cause gastrointestinal upset and red blood cell damage, according to the ASPCA.

Xylitol: Xylitol is a sweetener used in many products, such as baked goods and candy.  Xylitol can lead to the release of insulin in cats, which leads to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and can potentially lead to liver failure.  Initial signs of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, loss of coordination, and lethargy.  Seizures and recumbancy may also occur.  Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure may occur within a few days of ingestion.

Grapes and Raisins: According to the ASPCA, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in pets who have ingested them.


Amaryllis: Amaryllis is also known as St. Joseph lily, Belladonna lily, Naked Lady, and Cape Belladonna.  When eaten, Amaryllis may cause hypersalivation, depression, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and tremors.

Mistletoe: Mistletoe or American Mistletoe is also toxic to cats.  When ingested, mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal distress, breathing difficulties, low heart rate (bradycardia), erratic behavior, vomiting, diarrhea, and cardiovascular collapse.  Low blood pressure can also occur when cats eat this plant, but it is rarely seen. 

Poinsettia: Poinsettia may cause mouth and stomach irritation as well as vomiting for cats who ingest it. 

Please note that this list of food and plants is not all-inclusive.  There are many other human foods and plants kitties should not eat.  

If you know that your cat has ingested any of these foods or plants, please contact your veterinarian, local emergency veterinary clinic, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control hotline for advice on how to handle the situation.  There is a $65 consultation fee the ASPCA Poison Control Center hotline.  Their number is 888-426-4435.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Opt to Adopt Tasha


Denver Dumb Friends League
Denver, CO

Tasha is a pretty brown tabby and white ladycat.  Tasha enjoys being around people, and she prefers a home without dogs.  Though Tasha is classified as a "senior" cat at 14 years old, she still loves to play with feather toys!  You can see an adorable video of her on her profile on the website!

Tasha is an independent sort.  She's not a lap kitty, and she enjoys having her own little adventures.  She would love to have a human to love and a great home to live in.  

Tasha is currently residing in a foster home.  If you would like to visit with her, please call the Denver Dumb Friends League at 303-751-5772 ext. 7309.  Tasha's ID number is: A0677896.  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Mancat Monday: Carmine Update

Hi everyone, Carmine here.

Last week the Mom took mes to the evil Stabby Place again for my monthly B12 shot.  Mes never likes to go to the Stabby Place!  

While we waited for Dr. Stabby, a nice lady came to pet mes.  The Mom says the lady works at the shelter and that hers is really nice.  Mes just stayed in my PTU and let hers pet mes.  Mes doesn't like to come out of my PTU in strange places like Milita does!   

Dr. Stabby called mes back, and before mes knew it, the Mom was taking the top off my PTU.  Then mes had to go on the scale where Dr. Stabby told the Mom mes had gained 3 ounces in that month.  The Mom was very pleased because hers though mes might have lost weight when mes had that upper respiratory infection.  

The Mom told Dr. Stabby hers wanted to see if probiotics (whatever that is) would help mes, so Dr. Stabby sold the Mom some Fortiflora.  Mes doesn't mind eating it on my food.  The Mom also gives mes pumpkin to help me stay regular.  Mes likes pumpkin, so mes doesn't mind.

Dr. Stabby said hers didn't want to see mes for a whole month!  The Mom told mes that mes needs to stay healthy so mes doesn't have to go back to the Stabby Place before the new year.  So mes is going to try hard to stay well!

By the way....did you see where mes is in my photo?  Mes is in the green and blue cube!  Mes still spends a lot of time in Angel Jewel's pink cube, but the Mom says hers is proud of mes for being more social lately.  Mes has been spending time out in the living room in my box bed and sometimes in the green and blue cube while the Mom helps us with our blogging and visiting.  

The Mom here.  I asked the vet if she thought Jewel's pink cube was helping or harming Carmine, and she said she wasn't sure.   So for now, I've decided to let Carmine keep using it.  Like he said, he has been more social lately, and as long as he's not isolating himself in the pink cube, I don't mind if he wants to spend some time in there.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Holiday Safety Tips for Cats: Christmas Decorations

Photo credit: Trish Hamme.

Christmas is a joyous time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Yet, like many other holidays, Christmas holds potential dangers for our furry friends.  Please read on to find out about the potential risks as well as how to best protect your kitty during this time of year.

Christmas Tree: Christmas tress pose many potential dangers for kitties  The best way to keep your kitty safe from the Christmas tree is to put the tree in a room your cat cannot access.  Alternatively, you could put your tree into a room with a door on it so that you can close the door when you're not home.  Unfortunately, these solutions are not always practical, so it's best to make your Christmas tree as safe as you can for your cat.

Real pine trees are toxic to cats, and if swallowed, pine needles can puncture a kitty's internal organs.  Fake trees are definitely safer for cats, but if you must have a real tree in your home, please ensure that the tree's water supply is sufficient so that the tree won't dry up and drop needles onto the floor.  Check for needles around your tree daily, and sweep or vacuum up any that have fallen onto the floor.  The tree's water supply will also be poisonous to your cat, so ensure that he or she cannot drink it.

Whether you have a real or fake tree, make sure the tree's base is sturdy so that the tree isn't able to be knocked over easily.  Pet Wave suggests that many tree stands are not sufficient for the weight and height of their trees.  The site suggests that you invest in a larger, sturdier stand and duct tape it to a non-carpeted floor to prevent your kitty from toppling the tree over if he or she decides to climb inside it.  If you have a carpeted floor, you can use twine to anchor your tree to a hook in your wall, but make sure the twine doesn't pose a risk to your feline in itself.  You may want to place your tree away from any furniture or shelves as well so your kitty can't jump onto your tree from them.

Ornaments: Make sure all ornaments are securely fastened to the tree, especially the ones on the bottom that your cat can easily reach.  It's best not to put any fragile ornaments on the bottom of your tree in case your kitty bats at them and knocks them off.  Your furry friend could easily cut his or her paws on broken glass ornaments that he or she batted off the tree.

Tinsel: Please avoid putting tinsel on your tree.  Tinsel is very pretty, but if your cat swallows it, it can cause intestinal blockages, which may be fatal or require expensive emergency surgery.

Angel Hair, Flocking, and Artificial Snow: Angel hair, artificial snow, and flocking are also toxic to kitties, and if they are ingested in large quantities, they can cause intestinal blockages.  It's best to try to find alternative decorations for your home.

Decorative Lights: Electrical cord chewing can lead to mouth burns, electrical shock, and electrocution for your cat.  To help protect your furry friend, spray your Christmas light cords and extension cords with a deterrent, such as Bitter Apple.  It is also important to always unplug your tree lights before leaving the house as well.

Candles: Keep lit candles out of your cat's reach so that he or she doesn't accidentally bum him or herself or knock them over, causing a fire.  Remember to blow out your candles before going to sleep or leaving the house so no accidents occur while your kitty is unsupervised.  You could also consider using flameless candles as decorations instead.

Gift Wrapping: Because ribbons can cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed, I would recommend not using them on gifts in your home.  Gift bows, like the one pictured, are safer for kitties.

To keep your presents and feline completely safe, you may want to consider not putting the gifts under the tree until right before your Christmas celebration.

By utilizing these tips, you can help keep your cat safe during the holidays.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jewel's Journeys

Photo credit: Erik Drost

The first Christmas I knew Jewek, I went over to spend the day with her and her former owner (we were obviously not roommates then).  Jewel didn't have any toys, and that made me quite sad for her.  So for Christmas, I decided to start her toy collection (which I would add to over time) off with a little kickeroo.  I also bought her some treats, which were her favorite thing in the world!

When I arrived at their house, I placed the toy, treats, and my friend's present under the tiny table tree he had.  While my friend cooked a little food, I watched as Jewel went over to the presents to check them out (nobody had ever gotten her a present before!!).

The next thing I knew, Jewel was dragging her bag of treats, wrapped in Christmas paper, away from the tree!  How I wish I had a photo or video of her doing this to show you!  It was so adorable!!  She couldn't wait to get into those treats.

Needless to say, she LOVED the treats I got her!  She also really liked her new toy :)

We received two wonderful surprises today that we wanted to tell you about as well.  The first came from our awesome friends Robin, Dave, Cinco, and Manna from Playful Kitty.  They sent us a Christmas tree and some ornaments!!  Aren't these owls pretty?  They remembered that owls remind me of my Jewel.  So even thought Jewel is not here with us physically this Christmas, she will definitely be present this year during the celebration.  As soon as I get ornament hooks later, I will put up and decorate the tree.  I can't wait to show you all what it looks like!

The second surprise came tonight.  I received a box, and, thinking it was Milita's present I had ordered, I opened it up.  Was I ever surprised to find a Grumpy Cat coloring book, which I wrote about in last week's Jewel's Journeys post, and Grumpy Cat stickers!!  This very sweet and thoughtful package came from our sweet friends Melissa and Truffles from Melissa's Mochas, Mysteries, & Meows.

Thank you so very very much for thinking of us!  We are blessed to have friends like you.  This season is an incredibly difficult one without Jewel, but having such thoughtful and caring friends sure helps.  :)