Why We Hate the Holidays, by Fifi and Mittens

A dog and cat’s perspective on how to keep your pets safe during the holidays.

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Holiday hazards for pets include harmful foods like grapes and chocolate. By: nguyenhoangnam1142002

It’s time for everyone who has pets to understand that holidays are not just stressful for you. We — Fifi and Mittens — are also a wreck at holiday time.

Physically and mentally, we are completely fried furbrains. We are not barking or rocking around that Christmas tree. We want to tear it down. And sometimes we do!

Food tempting us all over the place. Relatives sleeping on our beds and couches. Ornaments and tinsel to chew on. With all the stuff we can do to ourselves, it’s a Christmas nightmare out there, a veritable Santa’s workshop with no safety regulations and evil elves trying to get us into trouble.

Holidays: Barf! Humbug!

Just thank our guardian angel-cats and lucky dog-stars we didn’t get sick over Halloween or Thanksgiving with all the candy and baking chocolate you left out, and that turkey carcass smelling so good on the back porch. Corrupting your pets with temptation after temptation.

You better forget about buying presents and throwing holiday parties and cooking and decorating for a little while. It’s time to make sure you take care of us.

Wish List From Your Pets

1. Clean up after yourself.

  • What humans do: Bake flourless chocolate cake with cocoa and dark chocolate. Get distracted and leave the cocoa and the chocolate on the kitchen table.
  • What we do: Eat it and promptly ruin your holiday (and your bank account) by trying to commit death by chocolate.

We are constantly watching and waiting, drooling alongside your culinary endeavors. As soon as you run to turn on the Christmas lights, we have helped you clean up all your baked goods, raisins and anything else that can harm us.

2. Don’t leave holiday treats out to tempt us.

  • What humans do: Let all the relatives leave food all over the place.
  • What we do: Sneak around and score big time when humans aren’t looking.

Guests bringing tidings of comfort food are a hazard. Say hi to Aunt Sophie, but take the candy box or the fruitcake away from her as soon as she walks in the door and throw it in the closet.

Don’t worry — that fruitcake will still be good when you find it again in 5 years. Then you can throw it out with great confidence, knowing that you saved your pets’ lives that one holiday.

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Your cat may love to chew on ribbons, but an emergency vet visit isn’t anyone’s idea of a merry holiday. By: mseckington

Your guests can be slobs. We love it when they leave half-eaten plates on low tables or the top of the trash can open. Bones to swallow! Grapes to poison us! Nuts and shrimp tails and so much more to cause digestive disasters.

3. Put the wrappings, ribbons and presents away.

  • What humans do: Wrap presents deep into the night and get tired and go to bed.
  • What we do: Find the ribbons on the dining room table and eat them and get a string obstruction in our intestines. (This is Fifi here, speaking for the idiot feline I live with. Don’t worry about me — I’m more interested in finding all the dog treats you got me and destroying them before Christmas morning.)

4. If you must leave us this holiday season, put us with the right humans.

  • What humans do: Leave home for the holidays and hire a pet sitter or put us in a kennel without doing their research.
  • What we do: Get stressed or scared or stop eating or just depressed. And Mittens, the spiteful little cat-brat? She stops using her litter box.

Check out this video for more tips on keeping your pets safe during the holidays:

That kennel is full of barking dogs this time of year, like too many kids in the hotel pool. So, “Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays” sounds like a great idea to us. Make all the logistics plans for us early so that everyone is happy, familiar and content with the situation.

Last-Minute Reminders

If you have a lot of visitors, remember: We love to run out of open doors and play in traffic. Keep us in a safe place.

Speaking of Christmas guests, we might be scared of the little people. If they run up to our faces and pull on our ears or, claws forbid, they try to pick up Mittens, things could get ugly. If you need to put us in a separate room, we understand — after all, it’s for our own safety.

Help us stay nice, not naughty, this holiday season. It’s all up to you!

Many purrs and face-washing licks,

—Fifi and Mittens

Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD

View posts by Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD
Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD, is a small animal and exotics veterinarian who has split her time between a veterinary practice in Pelham, Massachusetts, and her studio in New York City. Dr. Lichtenberg is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine with 30 years of experience. Her special interests are soft tissue surgery and oncology.

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