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Cats and holiday decorations

Q: We adopted a kitten named Joy over the summer, so this is our first Christmas with a cat in our home. What do we need to know to keep her safe?

A: Cats love to investigate, so focus on pet-proofing your Christmas tree and the decorations around your home.

Secure your tree to the wall or window so it doesn’t topple over if Joy tries to climb it. Cover the tree stand so she can’t drink the water, which may be contaminated with bacteria, preservatives or tree oils.

This year, while Joy is young and her tree behavior is uncertain, decorate with unbreakable ornaments, and secure them with green pipe cleaners instead of hooks.

Ingested tinsel, ribbon and yarn almost always require emergency surgery. So throw out the tinsel, and keep gifts wrapped with ribbon and yarn hidden away until it’s time to open them.

Don’t decorate with live holiday plants until you know that Joy won’t chew them, because some are toxic.

We hope your holidays are filled with joy and peace.

Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at

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