Safe and Happy Holidays for your Cat – Now and Throughout the New Year

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The holiday months of November and December can be our busiest time of the year. When we talk about our cats (and other pets) during this season, conversations are often about special gourmet treats, an eccentric holiday costume or perhaps a special grooming session.

We love our cats as family members and we’re certainly not shy about pampering them. Americans spend millions of dollars every year on various pet services and indulgences for our beloved companions.

The upcoming holidays can pose special health dangers for our furry, four-legged friends. Each year, thousands of cats and dogs become seriously injured or ill during the holiday season while their owners busy themselves with shopping, baking and entertaining.

Be Aware of These Holiday Dangers
Protect your pets from these potential health hazards

  • Candles and hot wax
  • Candies, chocolate and foil wrappers
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Electrical cords (uncovered or untaped)
  • Ribbons and strings
  • Metal ornament hooks
  • Fireplace flames and color salts
  • Tree tinsel and confetti
  • Carving and kitchen knives/blades
  • Outdoor fireworks and other loud noises
  • Rich, fatty foods and table scraps
  • Stagnant tree stand water and chemicals
  • Intricate or fragile ornaments
  • Rock salt and antifreeze
  • Poultry bones and hot meat drippings
  • Small holiday lights
  • Angelhair (spun glass)
  • Poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and greens
  • Rich food stocks and seasonings
  • Artificial snow and snow flock
  • Toys, especially those with small parts
  • Slippery outdoor ice and snow

Betsy Sigmon, DVM and owner of Creature Comforts in Cary, NC says “I often see pets during the holidays that become ill from table butter, meat

scraps from the trash, and candy.” These foods can result in gastrointestinal upsets and pancreatitis, a painful and sometimes fatal condition; when this inflammation occurs, pets might exhibit depression, vomiting, abdominal pain or lack of appetite. “I’ve also had cases where tinsel, ornaments and garlands have lead to foreign body ingestion and stomach irritation, as well as drinking tree sap water that has caused health problems for some pets,” Sigmon adds.

Another problem Sigmon has seen is poisoning from xylitol, a sugar-free ingredient found in baking goods, candy, and chewing gum. “This can cause a severe blood sugar problem leading to weakness, depression, and seizures, particularly in cats,” she emphasizes. “Certain types of concentrated chocolate, particularly baking chocolate, can cause serious health problems, depending on the size of the animal,” adds Kevin Monce, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM and owner of PetSound Animal Hospital in Cary, NC.

“During the holidays, prevention is really the key,” Dr. Monce points out. “Don’t put large quantities of food out and place high-risk items out of reach,” he suggests. “Another problem we see at our clinic is pets that have chewed on electrical cords and have swallowed ribbons and strings.” Monce recommends watching for symptoms of restlessness, tremors, seizures, vomiting and diarrhea after cats and dogs have gotten into mischief and then seeking immediate treatment for them.

Of course, our pets’ health and well being is a responsibility that goes beyond just the holidays. Recent advances in veterinary diagnostic and treatment procedures have increased the quality of care available to pet owners for their cats and dogs. Advanced surgeries, chemotherapy, CT scans and ultrasound are just some of the advanced techniques used by veterinarians to treat conditions that were often fatal to pets just a few years ago. But a trip to your veterinarian might cost you several hundred – or thousand – dollars for a serious condition.

A sampling of some recent treatment costs for pets include: $5,000 for cancer treatment; $2,569 for intestinal surgery resulting from a tumor; $4,686 for pneumonia, $1,262 for a rattlesnake bite; $5,800 for ingesting rocks; $1,651 for gastroenteritis and $2,200 for bee stings. This is where a pet healthcare insurance plan can serve as a bridge between expensive veterinary treatment and the financial costs to owners.

As the word spreads about affordable pet healthcare insurance, more and more pet owners are enrolling in plans that allow owners to budget sensibly for the lifelong healthcare needs of pets. The right pet healthcare plan can help alleviate difficult emotional and financial decisions over whether you can afford treatment. Having to deal with unexpected and serious pet healthcare decisions during the holidays can create an added layer of stress — and even bigger bills to an already busy and expensive time of year.

The CFA Pet Healthcare Plan from PetPartners provides a wide range of affordable insurance plans for all pedigreed and domestic cats. The Plans are designed to enable the ability to tailor coverage levels that best meet each individual owner’s needs. In addition, all cats registered with the CFA are automatically eligible for sixty days of complimentary insurance coverage. No credit card is required to activate the 60-Day Trial Plan and there is no obligation to purchase an annual plan when the Trial Plan automatically expires.

Insurance coverage options in the CFA Pet Healthcare Plan include choices for unexpected accidents and illnesses, as well as preventive care expenses. For example, the Essential Plan covers unexpected accidents, injuries and illnesses, and up to an $11,000 maximum annual benefit. The plan features a $125 per incident deductible — with a 10% co-insurance payment — and it reimburses 90% of allowed expenses. Plans can be paid on a monthly or annual basis.

Don’t let innocent holiday traditions jeopardize the health of your cat and other pets. Evaluate the potential risks of your holiday decorations, plants and meals (see chart). Consider enrolling in a pet healthcare plan for the peace of mind you need during the holidays — and all year round. And, in the hustle and bustle of the season, remember your pets’ regular feeding and exercise schedule and be certain to give them lots of love and attention as you begin the New Year.

PetPartners, Inc is the exclusive pet healthcare plan provider for The Cat Fanciers’ Association (and The American Kennel Club). Choose from several plans with affordable coverage options to best meet your cat’s needs. For more information, visit www.cfapetinsurance.com or call 1-877-232-4441.

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