Gifts are a big part of the holidays. Few people think twice about loading up a pretty gift bag with easily accessible goodies, topped with a bow, perhaps sparkles and little plastic ornaments or a candy cane. Any of these would be big attractions for your feline companions.
Even traditional box-wrappers may not realize that what used to be simple wrapping paper is now fortified with a thin coating of plastic. With pretty ribbons tied in up a bow, it’s beautiful, but not safe for your cat.
Cats are notorious for playing with strings, ribbon, twine and yarn. If swallowed, string objects can cause an obstructed windpipe or intestines. Cats have barbed tongues, so they cannot spit out whatever they lick. Instead, they swallow more. This can become a life-threatening emergency.
Gift bags can include chocolates, nuts, raisins, gum and candies, batteries, and tiny items such as earrings, crayons, candles and soaps, bottles of hand cream or sanitizer, or miniature toys. Cats will be extremely tempted to enjoy batting them around, and may try to taste some ‘people-treats.’ All of these items are poisonous or obstructive, so it’s important to keep them away from your cat altogether.
Consider making it a holiday tradition to select an ‘angel’ to watch over the family cat to keep her from getting into any trouble throughout the festivities.
Also consider giving each person a large shopping bag to keep all of their gifts contained in one place, instead of spreading them out.
To help your cat (and your environment, because most of these things aren’t recyclable), here are some alternatives:
- Kraft or plain (non-coated) paper
- Fabric wrap, tied into a bow on top
- Edible wrapping paper, made of potato starch, that sticks together without tape
- Pre-decorated boxes, perhaps printed with soy ink
- Plain canvas tote – you can personalize it with an embroidered name or design
- Holiday cookie tin
- An unusual box found at an antique shop
You might make a holiday afternoon activity of buying kraft paper, vegetable dye ink and stampers, to let the kids design their own gift papers and tissue bows.
Simply exclude the ribbons and decorative ornaments, to protect your cat, especially if you have a kitten.
The end result is a homespun look under the tree, safe pets, and lots of happy memories that have been forged in preparing each gift individually.
Heron’s Crossing provides end-of-life care for pets in the Metro Atlanta area. In-home appointments with compassionate vets are available. If you’d prefer a home-like setting away from your home, our Decatur office is also available by appointment.