Charity’s tips for a purr-fect Christmas

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Christmas is approaching and many of us are preparing to eat, drink and be merry. However, Cats Protection’s Horsham Branch advises owners to think twice before offering their pet cat a tasty titbit from the dining-room table.

“Overfeeding will cause a cat to become overweight, placing a strain on their joints and risking health problems such as diabetes,” explained Anna Portnoi, Horsham & District, Branch Co-ordinator. “We would advise that cats continue to follow a balanced diet throughout the festive period, for the benefit of their long-term health.”

If you are thinking of offering your cat a treat:

n Remember that cats normally appreciate attention or playtime with their owner more than titbits. If you are giving a food treat in addition to your cat’s meals, remember to limit the amount given so your cat doesn’t gain weight.

n It is best to stick to specially-produced cat food treats and avoid food intended for humans, such as chocolate.

n Avoid giving raw meat or table scraps, although a little bit of well-cooked fresh chicken or fish is okay.

Cat owners are also being reminded that the festive period may be hazardous for cats prone to nibbling or chewing. Top tips to remember are:

n Holly, ivy and mistletoe are all potentially toxic to cats, so if you choose to have them in the home, place them well away from your cat’s reach. If you receive any plants as Christmas gifts, check that they are safe for cats. A full list of potentially harmful plants can be found on the International Cat Care website at icatcare.org/advice/poisonous-plants

n Watch your cat to see how he reacts to decorations such as baubles, tinsel or Christmas light cables. If he can’t keep his paws off them then it is best to keep him out of the room unless supervised.

n After opening presents, be sure to completely clear the room of wrapping paper, elastic bands and ribbons to prevent your cat from nibbling at them.

For further advice on healthy eating for cats and general information on cat care, please call Cats Protection’s Horsham & District Branch, tel. 01403 854464.

Report contributed by Cats Protection Horsham.