Ribbons & Bows – Holiday Hazards for Cats

Holiday Hazards for CatsAre you done wrapping all your Christmas presents yet? One of the great things about Christmas is seeing lots of beautiful presents with lots of ribbon and bows under the tree. And although it can be fun to watch cats play with the ribbons on the presents, it can also be dangerous for them.

Cats love to play with (and sometimes eat) long stringy toys – and ribbon is no exception. Just like with the tinsel and garland, cats will swallow ribbon in long pieces, and it can cause big problems. Cats who eat ribbons get obstructions in their stomach and intestines, and may need immediate medical attention. An obstruction like this can also require emergency surgery.

While no ribbon is truly “safe” for cats to play with, they don’t tend to eat wide ribbon as often as they do narrow ribbon. Curling ribbon is a favorite for cats – it bounces and twists, and it’s smooth (which makes it easy to swallow).

If you have cats, or will be taking presents to someone who has cats, consider skipping the ribbon and bows this year. If you are using ribbon and bows, follow these guidelines:

  • Keep your supplies of ribbon in a sealed container, out of your cat’s reach. A sealed box kept inside a drawer, cabinet, or a closet is a great container for ribbon.
  • Keep your cat out of the room where you are wrapping. They will be tempted to play with the ribbon that is waving around while you are wrapping, and can snatch a piece and wander off while you’re not looking.
  • Make sure you clean up all the scraps of wrapping paper and ribbon before you let the cat back into your “wrapping room.” Throw the scraps out in a garbage can that your cat can’t get into.
  • Keep all presents wrapped with ribbon out of your cat’s reach. Keep them on a high shelf, or better yet, keep the wrapped presents in a closet until you’re ready for them.
  • Keep your cat out of the room where you are unwrapping. This can be a crazy time, and lots of ribbon and paper can get thrown around. This is the perfect time for cats to get involved and find some ribbon to play with.
  • Make sure all the paper and ribbon has been cleaned up after unwrapping presents before you let your cat back in the “unwrapping room.” Throw the used ribbon away in a garbage can that your cat can’t get into.

If you think that your cat has eaten ribbon, keep a very close eye on him. If you see that he is not eating or drinking like normal, if he is vomiting or has diarrhea, or isn’t acting right, call us right away. You cat may need to be seen, and may need emergency medical attention.