by Nomi Berger
What would summertime be without Fourth of July celebrations and family reunions, backyard BBQs and porch, patio and pool parties? Whether held outdoors or indoors, whether with fireworks or fanciful decorations, feline guardians must NEVER let down THEIR guard.
When planning a celebratory event for people, plan it with the safety of your pet in mind by following these simple, common sense suggestions:
1. Warn your guests to keep all alcoholic beverage holders (from glass and plastic to paper and styrofoam) out of reach of your cat. Alcohol can be very poisonous to pets, causing them to become weak or ill, fall into a coma due to respiratory failure, and possibly die.
The same applies to all non-alcoholic beverages (including soda, tea and coffee) because the caffeine they contain can cause rapid heartbeats, extreme agitation and muscle tremors in your cat.
And if a BBQ is on the menu, keep your curious cat away both from the heat and the sizzling, scintillating smells emanating from the barbecue grill.
While most cats won’t voluntarily jump into water, they can easily and accidentally fall into a swimming pool when either chased (by a dog) or distracted (by the hubbub). Naturally good swimmers, they can’t, however, climb OUT again without a ramp or a person’s prompt, helping hand.
2. Should your party include pretty and perky party favors (such as firecrackers, miniature flags and sparklers, glow sticks, paper hats and poppers, balloons, streamers and confetti), keep them out of reach of playful paws and retrieve any fallen favors from the ground or floor as soon as you see them.
If swallowed, these same party favors can swiftly turn pernicious, potentially causing an obstructed digestive track, severe vomiting, dehydration, and possible surgery.
Because many cats have extremely sensitive ears, the sudden, startling sounds made by poppers and horns, firecrackers and noisemakers can be both frightening and unnerving. For this reason, it’s wise to keep all fearful felines far from this form of fun and frolics.
3. Remind your guests that all table and plate scraps are off limits to your cat’s inquisitive nose and inquiring mouth. Parties abound with unsafe temptations, including salted chips, nuts and chocolate, fat drippings, highly seasoned meats and dips that contain avocado, onion and garlic.
While some of these sweets and savories may merely cause mild stomach upsets, some can be highly toxic.
4. To be safe instead of sorry, provide for your cat’s comfort beforehand by providing her with the protection and privacy of her own purr-sonal chill space. A quiet bedroom, far from the partying crowd or the explosion of fireworks, is ideal.
Supply your cat with “all the comforts of home” – including her cat bed, a scratching post or pad, and her favorite toys. Set down a bowl of cold, fresh water and spread assorted treats around. For additional calming, leave the TV on low or play some classical music to blunt the effects of the noise outside.
Place a note on the door warning your guests to please NOT enter the room or let your cat out.
Play peek-a-boo once in a while, or stay for a pet, a cuddle or a game to reassure yourself that your cat is content, and to remind her that you’re always close by.