Nina Nandy

Gastroenterologist at The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center

Holiday Hazards for Cats

Holiday Hazards for Cats

The feline mind is inquisitive and cats cannot resist the lure of holiday decorations and changes about the home. There are several holiday hazards for cats’ health. Fortunately, these can be avoided. Follow these tips to enjoy the holidays and keep the kitty safe and healthy.

Christmas Trees

Christmas trees are irresistible to some cats. These trees, regardless of how sturdy the stand is, are not as solid as real trees with roots sunk deep into the earth. Cats often bring down Christmas trees. In the best of cases, this produces a mess. In the worst, broken legs, strains, and sprains may occur. The solution is simple: deny your cat access to the tree when unsupervised.

Holiday Decorations

Decorations and ornaments that adorn Christmas trees also present a risk. Tinsel is alluring to many cats, with its dangling flash and shine. Unfortunately, felines do not stop at batting at the tinsel but consume it. This may simply result in sparkly feces, but it may also cause a problem known as a linear foreign body obstruction. Tinsel is not the only decoration that may be swallowed and pose this risk. Jingle bells have been removed from feline intestines. Holly and mistletoe are also toxic. Decorate with care.

Wrapping Presents

Generally, the presents under the tree do not pose a hazard. The wrapping, however, may be dangerous. Bows and ribbons have the same risk that tinsel and decorations offer. Obstructions of foreign bodies in the digestive system are quite dangerous. Avoid dangly packaging.

Christmas Tree Water

A final note about Christmas trees is the water in which they sit. Cats are contrary when it comes to their sources of drinking water. If the source distresses humans, they seem drawn to it. Chemically treated trees may not have safe water for cats to consume. A fake tree is a solution to this problem, as it eliminates water.

Fireplace Ashes

The yule log finally burns out, leaving behind piles of nice, fluffy ashes. While cats do not come to harm playing in cold ashes in the fireplace, they can get burned if they interact with the substance too soon. Even cold ashes produce a horrible mess if a cat decides to play in them.

DIY Halloween Costumes for Cats
DIY Halloween Costumes for Cats
With Halloween just around the corner, folks are clamoring, not just for their own costumes, but for costumes with which they can adorn their feline compatriots. But going out and purchasing pre-made costumes for your cats can be pretty costly, so, instead, here’s a few ideas that will save you money, time, and ultimately make your furry friend the talk of the party!

1. Try out a mounted moose costume! All it takes is a head band, some felt, card stock, and a little time. Your cat becomes your trophy cat, and your wallet is happy!

2. You can turn your cat into a soup dumpling (not literally). Again, felt and a sewing machine are your best friend to make this trendy get-up.

3. Why not make a nod to Princess Leia with a head-bun costume? This one just takes an old t-shirt, a pattern to follow, and some stitching. And it just sits on their head like a beanie, meaning less bother for your cat!

4. Bring the out the devil in your little angel! Take a head band and some felt and put some devil’s horns are your kitty to let your neighbors know that you take Halloween very seriously.

5. Have you always thought your cat was kind of like a peacock? Most people haven’t, but just in case, you can bring out the fowl in your feline with just some turquoise felt, peacock feathers, cardboard, and Velcro. This one is trickier to put together, but the turnout is phenomenal.

6. You can go classic Halloween and make your cat a witch! Grab a hat (or make one) and loop tulle around an elastic band for a tutu effect.

7. You can make your cat a predator, quit lion to yourself. It just requires some orangey, brown yarn and a pattern to leave your kitty prowling pride rock.

8. If you have felt like you haven’t bought enough felt, then take some grey felt and make a dorsal fin. It would make your cat a terror in the pool (if they liked water).

9. The Minions have been all the rave for a while now, and your little minion can show some tribute with a few pieces of felt, hand stitching, and an easy-to-follow pattern.

10. Using a felt hoodie, you can make your cat Pikachu or Cheshire Cat (or really anything; the possibilities are endless!).

You can find more patterns, videos, and information here. Happy costume making and happy Halloween!

Cats and Their Sleeping Habits
Cats and Their Sleeping Habits
Anyone who has owned cats is well aware that they do not conduct their lives in an order similar to other household pets. For instance, cats may sleep 15 hours or sometimes almost the entire day, then be awake during the night since they are crepuscular (a word meaning relating to twilight). Much more active from dusk until dawn, cats either nap or go into a deep sleep during the day. Some owners who are aware of cats’ nocturnal natures still wonder why they sleep so many hours.

Cats can appear to be asleep for as much as 20 hours, but the depth of their sleep varies. During a third of the time that they are curled up with their eyes closed, cats are in a deep sleep. This level of rest, during which cats dream, is essential to a cat’s health because it is the period in which their bodies regenerate cells, thus allowing the cat to remain healthy.

In the hours in which they are not in a deep sleep, they may just be dozing or resting in case they need energy. They may appear to be sound asleep, yet they can become alert at a moment’s notice and spring into action. This ability is essential to their nature as a predatory animal who must be capable of capturing prey at the opportune moment. When cats lived in the wild, they often hunted for long hours, so they slept as much as possible to have the necessary energy for their hunting. Not having been domesticated as long as dogs, cats retain some of the habits of their ancestors. Taking naps allows them to recharge, just in case they need to spring into action.
Just like us humans, our friendly felines are affected by weather. Although cat behavior will range depending on their breed, age, personality, one thing that is for sure, cats will sleep when the weather is unfavorable. Even if your kitty is primarily an indoor-dweller hey can still feel the affects of a rainy and cold day. Most like you will find them curled up in a blanket when gloomy weather approaches.
Natural instincts and the weather aren’t the only two reasons for a cat’s sleeping pattern. Below you will find a combination of reasons that your very own cat may be snoozing:

1. Kittens who are growing sleep more than adult cats.
2. Older cats need more rest than younger cats.
3. Cats will sleep longer when it is cold so they can conserve energy and remain warm.
4. Cats like to sleep in the sunshine to warm themselves.
5. Cats sleep for long hours if they have been active for several hours.
6. Cats who are bored will sleep more often than others.

Meet Lionel 

A Word From Nina Nandy’s Cat

Hi, my name is Lionel and I am a long haired tuxedo likely Maine Coon mix with giant kitten mittens and a big fluffy tail. I was a stray roaming the mean streets of Albuquerque until the age of one and a half when I was picked up by Animal Humane and neutered. My Nina Nandy Photohuman mommy, Nina Nandy, came in to meet me and though she was very sweet I was scared. Nina took me home and I was nervous because I had never lived inside before. She gave me lots of love and treats and toys but I would hide and one day I saw a way out and I ran away! I know she was very worried about me and put up flyers all over town and even went door to door looking for me. It took a few months and animal control picked me up and put me in the west side shelter and because I was microchipped Nina was able to find me again. Now I know to never run away again because I have the best life ever! I have all the cuddles, snuggles and treats a kitty could ever have and all the best toys! I particularly enjoy my giant black and white cat tree because it matches my colors, my window seat where I can catch all the sun I want, getting hair all over everything particularly clean laundry and generally being naughty. =^.^= Check out pictures, videos  and the latest antics of me, Lionel the snugglisest, most mischievous kitty in the world !