Why Not a Kitten For Christmas (A Bonus Post)

I wrote this article last year,  but I feel so strongly about the subject that I decided to post it again.

It’s that time of year again. The time for decorations, Christmas trees, Santa Claus and presents. It’s the time for parents to make their child’s’ fantasies come true. It is so tempting for ‘Santa’ to give their darling a little kitten. They are so cute and cuddly and, it is thought that, as the child grows, so can the kitten.

However, we must remember that a kitten is not a toy. They are living beings, with needs that can only be met by a true knowledge of what it takes to be a good guardian. The excitement of waking up Christmas morning to a brand new furry kitten, will soon wear off when the child is charged with caring for Fifi. Chances are, it will take no time at all before he will grow tired of feeding her and cleaning the litter box. Then it falls to the parent to take care of the needs.

A cat (as with any pet) is a full-time responsibility that can last for 20 years or more. In that time, Johnny or Janey will probably go their separate ways, leaving the cat behind. That’s all well and good for the humans, but for the cats, who have grown to depend on their people for love and attention, it can be traumatic and certainly is unfair.

In my opinion, one of the main reasons not to get a kitten as a present is that, in order to meet the demand, some pet stores, etc. receive their supply from disreputable breeders and kitten mills.

A kitten mill is a place where cats are bred in tight quarters with no medical attention, until they are no longer able to breed. When that day comes, they either are tragically killed or  sold, spreading diseases. When they are kept alive to be given away, the kitten has a higher chance of being unhealthy, costing more money and possible heartache in the long run.

So, the next time you take your child into the pet store to gaze at the cute little furry things in the window, remember, they are not toys , so look, but don’t give in to the temptation of taking one home.

What You Need To Know About Christmas Trees and Your Cat

I was astonished to learn the statistics regarding Christmas trees.  According to National Christmas Tree Association,  there are approximately 350 million Christmas trees planted by farmers in the U.S. alone.  Of those 350 million, 25-30 million are sold.  These numbers pale compared to people who buy artificial trees, which amounts to 80% of those who decorate Christmas trees.

You may be wondering what Christmas trees have to do with your cat.

The obvious answer is that if your cat is prone to climbing, or as I like to put it, be a “tree baby” (pun intended), there is a chance for injury.  There are other reasons, too.

  1. The sap from the tree is toxic to your cat.  The sap can be found not only on the tree and needles themselves, but the water that the tree stands in.  
  2. Along with pine poisoning, comes the threat of the pesticides and fertilizers used in growing the tree, and chemicals that are used to enhance the look of it.  These can cause kidney and/or  liver failure, muscle weakness, labored breathing and digestive issues.  
  3. There is another danger with the needles of the tree.  These needles could easily become lodged in the cat’s throat, or rip her intestines, etc. 
  4. Then, you have the ornamentation of the tree.  Tinsel and those shiny bulbs look like cat toys and are a huge temptation for the cat.  If she chews on the tinsel, chances are that she will swallow it and it may wrap itself around the cat’s intestines.  Some of the ornaments used on the tree are made from breakable material and can cause damage to the cat’s paws if stepped on and, of course, cut internal organs if swallowed.

Unfortunately, with the exception of the sap poisoning, artificial trees have the same dangers as do their live counterparts.

Solution: Raise your tree off the ground and out of reach of your little ones.  You may think that it takes away from the beauty of the season, but better that than spending hundreds of dollars towards vet bills.

Have a happy and safe holiday!

National Christmas Tree Association

Boston CBS Local

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