Holidays With Cats

For those of us who love our cats, the holidays can be a very rewarding time. It's great fun to give things to the people and pets we love. And they seem to love it, too. We've all seen our cats bounce around the room on Christmas morning while the family opens all the presents. Kitty darts into a pile of used gift wrap like a kid in a pile of freshly raked leaves, then explodes out of the heap to blast right past you to the other end of the house.

Who needs toys, eh? Well, yes, they do. After all, how long does used gift wrap last? Once the morning's excitement is over, so is the pile. Having some durable toys for daily play is essential. And getting new ones is just as important as it is for children, because cats become bored with the same old stuff, too.

But we want to obtain toys that are safe as well as interesting. Your kitty's life could depend on it. In fact, it's a good idea to clean up that pile of used gift wrap before everyone leaves the room. It's not safe to leave kitty behind to chew on ribbons or other items that could be harmful.

The traditional picture of a kitten playing with - and getting tangled in - a ball of yarn is cute, but it's a formula for disaster. Even adult cats can get into trouble with yarn, but kittens are most vulnerable, due to a strong sense of curiosity and lack of experience with most materials. If their mother is no longer with them to guide their growing up, they can get into even more trouble.

String, or ribbon, can get compacted in the digestive tract if they try to eat it, necessitating a trip to the vet. If it balls up in the intestine, it can even cause death.

If you do use string toys, it's important to supervise the play sessions, then put that toy away.

Balls are usually great toys, because they can't be swallowed, and they provide a lot of interesting movement. Just be sure the balls are sturdy enough to hold their shape. Some of the cheap plastic "basket" balls with bells inside can be hazardous, because they are weak and easily broken. They can cause trouble with children in the home as well. Youngsters - kids and kittens alike - often try to put things in their mouths. If a plastic ball has broken, there could be sharp edges and points.

Cat toys manufactured with animal parts may be more than a philosophical problem. Cat teasers made with feathers, for example, usually are cheaply made, too, and the feathers will pull out. Since cats do like feathers, they may eat them. Just be sure the colors are made with a safe dye.

Other animal parts in toys include fur. If you are against the use of fur for anything but covering a live animal, then do not purchase items made with fur. Again, some toys that use fur, such as fake mice, may be dyed an unnatural color and the dye could be a problem.

Cat furniture is a good investment, if the items are well made. Cheaply made things like some scratching posts can be problematic, because they fall over or fall apart, or the cat shreds it and spreads it around, or worse, eats the covering. Be sure cat furniture items are sturdy and well made.

Books about cats and cat care are popular items also, and can help you and your cat-owned friends learn more about how their kitties tick and how to keep them happy. (Remember, a happy cat is usually a well-behaved cat.)

Copyright 2013 - Dr. RJ Peters 
The Problem Cat