With the Easter season nearly upon us, many of us are probably worrying more about hiding Easter baskets from the kids (and big kids) than we are about hiding the baskets from our pets. This is a mistake that can often lead to more than just an upset stomach when it comes to our favorite felines. There are some potentially deadly, yet extremely common Easter products that grace many households during the season. Here are our top five things to keep out of reach of your cats this Easter.
1. Easter Basket Grass
Who doesn’t love the plastic green “grass” that eggs and candy rest upon in Easter baskets? Guess what? Cats love it too, but not because of its pretty! Cats are attracted to the “grass” because it’s shiny, stringy, and easy for them to play with and potentially eat. However, it’s definitely not digestible by pets, and if you’re one of the unlucky few who have had your cat eat something that it shouldn’t, then you know that blockages of the intestinal tract are not a fun (or cheap) experience.
2. Easter Ham
As we all know, cats and other carnivorous pets are built to consume primarily meat. However, many of the processed, pre-cooked hams that we often purchase as the staple of our Easter dinners contain very high amounts of sodium, more commonly known as salt. If your cat were to consume a large amount of the Easter ham while you and your guests were, say, outside hunting for Easter eggs, then she could be susceptible to sodium ion poisoning.
According to PetMD, Sodium ion poisoning (which is common in almost every animal species, apparently) can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. If you think your cat could find their way to the main course, it’s best to keep them in another room until the left-overs have been cleared.
3. Easter Lilies
These beautiful white flowers may look heavenly in your home, but, unfortunately, they run the risk of being deadly to your cat, should he or she ingest even a small part of the plant. According to the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants, cats are the only species susceptible to poisoning by the Easter lily. They will become lethargic, vomit, and could even experience kidney failure, with the possibility of death. In short, if you have a cat (or several), it’s best to keep the Easter lily’s beauty in someone else’s home.
4. Easter Toys
Remember when we said that cats liked stringy things when we were talking about Easter basket “grass”? We think it’s safe to say that cats also enjoy playing with “bendy” things (if you’ve seen a cat with a hair tie, we bet you’ll agree with us). Unfortunately, many of the small toys that come in Easter baskets are bendable, flexible little bunnies and figurines that you cat would have a hay day with, should he or she have the chance.
Additionally, as we all know, cats enjoy biting as a form of play…so should your cat happen to bite a little toy bunny’s leg off and proceed to swallow it, you could wind up dealing with them choking on the toy. If she does happen to ingest the toy, then you could potentially end up with a stack of vet bills a mile high due to the surgery required to remove it from your lovely cat’s intestines…not fun!
As you know, Easter time means candy, and lots of it (jelly beans and Peeps and chocolate bunnies, oh my!). As you may not know, candies sweetened with xylitol can be especially toxic to cats. Per the ASPCA, xylitol causes an insulin release in most species, which then causes “…hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbency and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.” As such, we recommend keeping all candy out of your kitty’s curious paws.
Celebrating Easter is a joyous occasion, but it could lead to a not-so-joyous emergency trip to your vet, should you forget to cat-proof your Easter decorations and goodies. However, if you keep the above information in mind, both you AND your cat will enjoy a happy and healthy Easter this year.