We all love our pets and at Christmas time it’s no exception that we want them to be part of the fun and festivities but your pets and Christmas decorations may not be a good partnership. Read our “tail” of woe and tinsel to learn about how we realised that Christmas decorations may not be safe for your pets.
We adopted Layla at six weeks old, as a rescue kitten and she quickly became part of our family. We had a few ups and downs learning to be cat parents but one of my most memorable incidents with her is her first Christmas with us.
We had put up a small tree and decorated our tiny flat where we were living. She was about 6 months old and very adventerous and fiesty and she loved trying to get into the tree, knock decorations off and cause chaos with baubles. We didn’t realise that anything could go wrong.
One day I came home from a long shift at work as a nursing student to find her looking a bit miserable and lethargic. She had been fine when I left that morning but she didn’t want to eat and wasn’t very happy. The next day she was no better and her tummy felt very swollen and she was still refusing to eat and was also being sick.
We lived literally almost across the road from our vet so I rang them and took her in for a visit to see what they thought was wrong with her.
They took bloods and examined her and the diagnosis was “she’s eaten something that has upset her” or “something is obstructing her stomach” and they did an x ray to see if they could see anything. The results were hard to see, there was something there, but they couldn’t quite work out what and she was clearly in a lot of pain and not very well.
They suggested surgery to investigate and we signed forms and left her in their care to go home and wait.
A few hours later, I got the call.
“Layla is doing fine, and we have removed a piece of tinsel from her instestines”. She had clearly decided that playing with and eating tinsel was a good idea.
That little party trick cost us £500 (well, it cost us much less because we have pet insurance and always have) but it meant she had to have surgery and recover from that and we learned a sharp lesson.
Christmas decorations and pets are not always good for each other and some Christmas decorations can be downright dangerous for your pets.
Christmas decorations are beautiful and are a huge part of the fun of Christmas, but if your pet eats one of them, it can have lethal consequences. Videos like this are funny but actually, they are also not funny because tinsel and other Christmas decor can make your cat very unwell or even kill them. Tinsel, baubles that break and could be sharp, berries on that lovely Christmas plant your colleagues at work gave you, chocolate deocrations on the tree? They look fun and it might be cute watching your cat or dog try to play with them or eat them, but landing a large vet bill at what is already an expensive time of the year and having a poorly or even worse, possibly lost pet is not worth the cute factor.
You can read here for a full list of what may be dangerous to your dog or cat but my advice would be to make sure you are very careful about the decorations you use, do not encourage your pet to play with things like tinsel (easier said than done, I know, we simply don’t have tinsel in the house any more) and to make sure things that might be tempting are as out of reach as possible. If you think your pet has eaten or ingested soemthing they shouldn’t, always get them checked out by your vet as soon as possible.
So, it might be looking a lot like Christmas, and the tree is up, and the presents are all wrapped and your cat or dog looks cute (or annoyed as hell, in our case) in their Santa hat but you do need to take care with your pets and Christmas decorations, so you don’t end up like we did, with a large unexpected vet bill and a rather poorly cat with a taste for red tinsel.
Thankfully she did live to tell the tail, but I am sure that was one of her nine lives intertwined with the tinsel she ate. Lesson learned.