12 Things Your Cat Wants You To Know at Christmas

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk—author of 250 Vital Things Your Cat Wants You to Know—has 12 suggestions to make this your cat’s best Christmas ever. As Ingrid says, “Your cat is a virtual shut-in—or should be, given the traffic, dogs, and other dangers out there. Your home is his entire world, and there’s probably not much to that world from a cat’s perspective. His drab little life must be enriched.” So we’ve compiled a list of best practices for keeping your feline friends happy and healthy this holiday season:

  1. PRESENTS: Did you know that cats hate when you leave the house, so every time you do go out, your cat would like you to return home with a present? On Christmas Eve and Christmas, that might be a catnip toy, but every other time, try surprising him with a dried leaf, a flower, some grass, or even a feather.
  2. CHRISTMAS TREES: Christmas trees are fascinating to cats, who like to hide in and jump on them—but remember these tips to keep your cat safe.
    • Make sure the tree is secure.
    • Bury electrical cords in thick duct tape or electrical tape.
    • Avoid hanging sharp, metallic, or glass objects.
    • Block off the tree water, as it’s harmful to cats.

PETA rescued cat Oscar

  1. PLANT SAFETY: Choose holiday plants wisely—holly, mistletoe, poinsettia, and lilies are all dangerous to cats (including the water in the vase!). Ingestion of lilies can cause arrhythmia and kidney failure. Follow these links for a list of common houseplants that can harm your animals, and cat-friendly indoor plants.
  2. LOVE: Speaking of mistletoe, please offer kisses and affection when your cat gives the signal—she might paw at you or “make biscuits” with her feet, a high compliment indeed!
  3. LIGHTS: Steady lights are best—avoid the tempting flashing or twinkling lights.
  4. ON THE CATWALK: Cats enjoy the safety of a high space, like a tall cat tree, as well as catios! And good hiding spots are essential for their confidence. Psst—don’t forget a fountain with running water as opposed to stagnant water for drinking.

PETA rescued cat Olive

  1. KEEP IT CLEAN: Cats are fastidious about their litter boxes—and not using them could be a sign of stress or illness, so be vigilant. If they’re going in and out of the litter box frequently, it could be cystitis, a urinary tract infection, so call your vet.
  2. A ROOM WITH A VIEW: For optimal contentment, offer your cat a lookout spot. A windowsill is typically too narrow, so you might consider pushing a bookshelf or table next to it. Hang a bird feeder in front of the window, if possible. Your cat will be captivated.
  3. BALLS: Any balls (except the delicate ornament type), even crumpled paper “balls,” can provide your cat with hours of pleasure. Bonus if you put them in a box or a crate.
  4. SPACE: We all know that cats need their space, but even the most social cats might get overwhelmed with visitors coming and going this holiday season, particularly after so much isolation for many of them. Make sure they have a safe, quiet refuge.
  5. BOXED IN: Wondering what to do with your extra boxes? Give them to Kitty Dearest! She’ll love hiding in them and spying on the rest of the family. For added fun, sprinkle in some catnip or honeysuckle or add some crumpled-up tissue paper.

PETA rescued cat Tiki

  1. WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND: Want to go for a walk? Take your cat with you—but never leave Kitty outside alone. Teach your cat to enjoy walking on a leash and a sturdy but lightweight harness. Before long, you two will be able to enjoy the great outdoors together, safely.