It's All About the Cat!

Happy Holidays!

Winter is here! The holidays are approaching and the year is drawing to a close. This December we're focusing on keeping cats safe and happy by identifying common holiday hazards, and taking the necessary steps to prepare for a safe and cat-friendly season. We'd also like to promote the importance of keeping both indoor cats and community cats warm and healthy as temperatures drop this winter. We'd love to have you follow along with us on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter this month as we share additional content and resources to improve the lives and health of cats. 

In This Issue:

Featured CATalysta: Denise Lauffer
December 6 & 19                               Saint Nicholas' Day
December 21                                      Winter Solstice
December 24 - January 1                Hannukah 
December 25                                     Christmas
December 31                                     New Year's Eve

What You Can Do Today

Identify Holiday Hazards 

  • Food: Many traditional foods that we like to eat in winter are unhealthy or dangerous for cats to ingest. This includes dairy, fried foods, rich and fatty foods like gravy, chocolate chips, hot cocoa, and much more. If you're having guests over, be sure to let them know ahead of time not to sneak your cats any human foods - stick to healthy cat treats instead!
  • Christmas Trees & Decor: Poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, and lilies are toxic to cats once ingested, but did you know Christmas trees are toxic to cats, too? A curious cat who licks up pine needles or tree water can even land you in an emergency veterinary clinic. The tree's decor (ribbons, string, tinsel, wired lights, and ornaments) are tempting for cats looking to eat or play. Pet MD provides tips on keeping your cat away from your Christmas tree in Can Cats and Christmas Trees Co-Exist?.
  • Menorahs: One of the most popular traditions for Hanukkah is the lighting of the menorah for eight nights. For humans, it is a meaningful symbol of the holiday. For cats, as Melvin Pena writes, it's "eight chances to burn the house down." In the Catster article Observing Hanukkah Safety With Your Cats, Pena suggests closing your cats in a room while candles or oil lamps are lit, and never leaving a lit candle unattended.
As always when dealing with new people or new decorations, make sure your cats have a room of their own to retire to if the celebration is too overwhelming. The ASPCA's Holiday Safety Tips are a must-read during the season!
New Years Eve Safety 
With all of the cheering, fireworks, and celebrations, New Years Eve may be the loudest time of the year for your cats. In addition to all of the previous holiday tips, it's important to remember to keep alcohol and fireworks out of reach from your pets. Keep your cat's microchip up to date, and be sure to keep your cats away from doors, as they could bolt when hearing sporadic fireworks in the distance. Stressed cats may benefit from a cozy sweater or cat hormone sprays. Check out these 7 Cat Safety Tips for New Years Eve for more ways to have a happy and safe New Years Eve!

Cat Wellness

Indoor cats are not shy about making themselves comfortable. When they've been "too quiet," seek out the softest, warmest spot in your house and you may find them peacefully snoozing - maybe in a blanket, underneath furniture, or in a sunbeam. However, there are key things to watch out for when it comes to their winter safety, both for indoor and community cats.
  • Salts and chemicals that melt snow are irritating to paws. Clean up any antifreeze spills so cats don't accidentally walk through and then ingest the toxic solution when they lick their paws. 
  • Knock on the hood of your car before starting, as community cats might be sleeping inside for the warmth.
  • Build winter-proof shelters and provide clean food and water for community cats in winter. Alley Cat Allies provide Winter Weather Tips and The Humane Society also has a guide explaining How to Care for Outdoor Cats in Winter.

What's Happening at CATalyst

Featured CATalysta
Denise Lauffer

A CATalysta is a person or organization that celebrates and champions the cat!

Denise Lauffer is a guardian angel to the homeless and discarded cats of Highbridge Park. She learned that the place was a "dumping ground" for the area's unwanted dogs, cats, and other animals, yet nobody seemed to care. She stepped up to help them entirely on her own, and has gone to great lengths to personally saved hundreds of hurt and scared animals. She fosters the rescued cats until they find furrever homes, and also takes care of 25-30 cats outdoors. When she rescues animals with serious medical conditions, she raises money to give them another shot at a healthy life. She is truly an angel to these animals that the rest of the world has forgotten. Her impact is immeasurable.

Read her full interview by Andrea Gibbs on Life With Cats to find out how you can help Denise Lauffer in her mission this holiday season.

CATs About Town!

During the whole month of November at the CATalyst Council we observed three pet health awareness events:

  • ASPCA's Adopt a Senior Pet Month to promote the adoption of older cats from shelters;
  • National Pet Diabetes Month to promote awareness of the causes, prevention, and treatment of feline diabetes; and
  • National Pet Cancer Awareness Month to promote feline cancer awareness.

We also shared ways to keep cats safe over Thanksgiving. Our November newsletter is available here

Thank you to everyone who has followed along with us this year! We appreciate every effort you make to improve the lives and welfare of cats. Cheers!

For years veterinary practices, animal shelters and rescue organizations have often operated independently without much collaboration. Catalyst Connection is helping to bridge that gap and develop a sense of community for the betterment of animals.  

If you're interested in developing a strong shelter-veterinary relationship in your community, check out our Catalyst Connection: Forever Homes Forever Health toolkit

Interested in the Catalyst Connection initiative? Sign-up to our mailing list to be informed of program developments!

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