catIt’s getting cold outside, but with your trusty feline afoot, there’s plenty of warmth and laughter to be found in your home. However, two symbols of the season, the Hanukkah menorah and Christmas tree, can be particularly hazardous for your inquisitive kitty. Here are a few tips to keep your cat safe while you enjoy the time-honored holiday traditions.

The Menorah

Anyone who has played with a laser pointer knows that dancing lights attract the curious eyes of felines. The flicker of a candle can have the same effect. Keeping your cat out of the same room as your menorah when it is lit will preempt sniffing or pawing at the flames. Make sure the candles are completely extinguished before you go to bed, especially if your cat loves to prowl around at night.

A menorah looks very enchanting on a windowsill, but your cat may knock it over to get a better view outside. Try to place your menorah on a heat-resistant surface at least a foot away from flammable materials like curtains.

Realistic LED lights are not as much of a fire hazard, but try to secure excess slack and use a cord cover. Your kitty can get tangled in the wires, or chew on the cable and get a severe electric shock.

The Christmas Tree

In the wild, cats hide in trees to avoid predators. Your cat might launch itself into the tree just for old time’s sake. A smaller tree will minimize the amount of foliage to come crashing down. You can also place your tree in a corner, or tether it to a wall.

The enticing scent of nature may call a curious kitty to investigate the Christmas tree, but orange peels, hot sauce, vinegar, camphor, and store-bought repellents may be malodorous enough to keep your cat away.

Cats love a fresh source of water, but fertilizers and preservatives that are sprinkled in your tree’s water can make your cat very ill. Opt for a tree stand that has a completely covered reservoir, or cover it with tin foil.

Regardless of the type of celebrations you take part in this holiday season, please be sure to consider your pets and their safety. The holiday will be much brighter for you and your pets.

Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty.  She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by zanastardust on flickr