Christmas . . . and #Cats

cute black cat poking out of plastic bag on bedThis is our second year with Raven, my beautiful rescue cat. Look at that face. Pretty hard to be miffed at anything that cute, right?

Last December she was seven months old and filled with curiosity. That led her to camp out in the smaller of my two Christmas trees, sprawling on the branches, and stealing at least a dozen Christmas ornaments. Every morning I’d find sparkly blue and silver balls on the floor or tucked away under the couch. Clever little thing did most of her “hunting” at night.

Because the smaller tree goes in our bow window—one of her favorite hangouts—we decided to forego it this year and just use our larger tree in the family room. She didn’t bother the larger tree last year, so we figured we were in the clear.

Uh…not.

A cat never outgrows curiosity.

The tree wasn’t trimmed more than ten minutes when I found her lying in the branches. Now that it’s been up for over a week, the branch-lounging novelty has worn off, but decorations on the bottom are still fair game. Fortunately, we’ve only had one shattered bulb and I was able to scoop her up before her little paws picked up any glass. The glass bulbs are now clustered mostly at the top.

Progress.

I’ve had cats before—three since I’ve been married, Raven being the fourth—and they were all spoiled. But this one has me wrapped. Worse, she knows it. I keep reminding myself that in human years, she’s about 18-20 years old. What’s the saying—Girls just want to have fun?

She’s definitely doing that!

If you have a cat—or even if you don’t—you might enjoy my paranormal Christmas novella, Food for Poe. It features a clever black feline, a holiday romance, and a creature from myth all wrapped up in a Yuletide tale. You can pick it up on Amazon for just .99 cents.

Book cover for FOOD FOR POE by Mae Clair shows attractive young couple in a winter setting with a black cat and silver Christmas ornaments belowBlurb
When a blizzard strands Quinn Easterly at a handsome stranger’s house on Christmas Eve, she doesn’t realize her newly adopted cat, Poe, is the catalyst responsible for bringing them together.

Breck Lansing gave up on relationships after his wife, unable to cope with their daughter’s illness, left him. But the pretty blonde he rescues from a snowstorm has him rethinking his stance—especially when Quinn’s arrival coincides with a dramatic change in Sophie’s health.

Unfortunately, that change also attracts something only whispered about in folklore. Together, Quinn and Breck must defeat a sinister creature intent on claiming the ultimate payment.

Warning: A clever black cat, Christmas magic and paranormal trouble

One reviewer’s take:
“This has become my new favourite Christmas story! I’m going to read it again next Christmas. Poe, a beautiful pure black cat (Not at all unlike my own darling, Rico… Wink.) is the hero of this most magical and thoroughly captivating tale.

It is a tale of love, hope, compassion, faith, superstition, and suspense with a touch of horror… I was hooked from the start. If it was up to me, I’d make it into a Christmas movie and watch it every year.” ~ Kevin Cooper

You can purchase Food for Poe for .99c from Amazon 

Raven and I thank you for your consideration, and send you wishes for a purrfectly Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

Cat Toys and Author Tools

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I spent half of mine visiting with family and the other half trying to be productive on my WIP (more on that project in a later post).

Of course, I had to make time for the Kentucky Derby, something DH and I never miss. It was a rainy day in Kentucky with a muddy track, and and equally rainy day in PA.

I bought some new play toys for my cat, Raven, called Neko Flies. They’re by far and away the best cat toys I’ve ever purchased, sheer genius on the part of whoever designed them. Picture a fishing rod with a life-like lure on the end. I bet the inventor was fiddling around with tackle one day when his or her cat went crazy.

Raven loves to stalk and hunt and turns into a predatory demon anytime she sees a bug, so as soon as I spied Neko Flies, I knew they were golden. Has anyone else tried these for their cats?

I picked up the Kattiepede and Kragonfly. The Kragonfly has beautiful iridescent wings (the picture on the website doesn’t do it justice). Next up, I’d like to get the Katarantula. You can order online or through Amazon, but I found Neko Flies at my local pet store. I have the regular wand, but want to get the telescoping rod, which looks like a small fishing rod. It’s currently out of stock at the store and online. What I don’t do for my cat—she is so spoiled—but, boy, is she getting her exercise! Including performing complex aerial acrobatics on a regular basis.

And speaking of being spoiled, it’s time to spoil yourself with today’s resource material on Story Empire where Staci Troilo shares Part 3 of her series on Author Media kits. Her topic is One Sheet and Author Biographies. As always, Staci delivers an information packed post with guidance, examples, and suggestions on implementing. Enjoy!

When #Cats Rule Your World by Mae Clair

Those of you who’ve been following my blog or a while know that I’m a cat fanatic. It’s been almost five years since I lost my last cat, Onyx, to cancer. I never thought I would last five years between felines given my OCD (obsessive cat disorder), but if I’d gotten another cat sooner (or later) I wouldn’t have met Raven.

Say hello to my latest companion.

cute black cat lying on a white and blue blanket, looking at cameraShe’s four months old and is a rescue from Castaway Critters. I’ve been prepping my house for her for weeks. Rather, I should say I’ve been prepping for “a cat.” I’m a planner, so I had completed an application to CC ahead of time, supplied references and a vet check, all so that I could get a cat the first week of October, after a brief visit to the beach. All neat and tidy, planned out perfectly—NOT!

I was approved ahead of time and started looking at the Castaway Critters website early. Big mistake. My willpower was shot by that point and I was in uber cat mode.

I knew I wanted another black cat. Why? Because they’re often left in shelters due to old superstitions, something I addressed in my novella FOOD FOR POE. I saw Raven online, went to meet her prior to my beach trip, and was immediately smitten. Once they put her in my arms, she started purring, and buried her nose in my elbow, I was a goner.

Hubby and I brought her home before our trip, but I made sure she had everything she needed while we were away.

I’m pleased to say she’s settled in just fine, passed her vet check with flying colors and has pretty much taken control of the house. Yeah, she rules my world.

Check out these photos of her lounging on my desk, and playing on her climbing tree. She has boatloads of energy, but she will curl up for an hour or three on my desk when I’m composing. Otherwise, it’s racing through the house in the morning and demanding play time at night.

Cute black cat lying in a circular bed on top of desk beside a computer screenClose up of a cute black cat in a circular bed
cute black cat on a indoor climbing pet tree with a small ladder at the bottom and tiers for laying at the topShe also has a fun pink “cube” that my cousin picked up for her. She absolutely loves the thing and uses it as play-time central. It’s springy, so she can crush it in all kinds of shapes (see second photo), zip in and out, and roll around like a tumbleweed (which she does frequently). Whoever invented this thing deserves his own private island–which I’m sure he has from profits.It’s quickly become her favorite toy, next to her Jackson Galaxy feather wand (not pictured) and her pink feather ball (that’s what she’s clutching in the cube).

A flexible pink cube cat toy with a black cat insideA flexible pink cat cube toy with a cute black cat lying on its side

Raven loves to be held, loves to snuggle (especially at night) and has boundless amounts of energy. When I took her to the vet, rather than hide timidly in her carrier she immediately hopped out, explored the whole room, then promptly plopped down and started grooming herself like she hadn’t a care in the world. She was found in a town not far from where I live called Steelton. Around here we say people are “Steelton tough” and I think she inherited some of that toughness despite the sweet exterior.

Given it’s October, and she looks like a Halloween cat, I thought would be the perfect time to introduce her. I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of Raven on my blog now and again. Now I just have to explain the Mothman to her 🙂

New Release: Food for Poe by Mae Clair #Christmas #Cats #SweetRomance

In the U.S., it’s soon time for Thanksgiving, aka, “Turkey Day.” Personally, I’m partial to the stuffing, though I enjoy the main course and all the other trimmings, too. November always feels like a short month to me with Christmas looming around the corner.

No complaints though because Christmas is my favorite holiday. Not only do I enjoy December 25th and Christmas Eve, but I love the entire month of December. It’s like one long holiday with all the merriment, festivities, and spirit of goodwill that leads up to that very special day. I’m a Christmas sap.

So it stands to reason I’d eventually get around to writing a Christmas story.

Those who know me also know there are two things (other than writing) I’m passionate about: folklore and cats. When it came time to dream up a Christmas story, I decided to weave both elements into the tale. The result is FOOD FOR POE, a short Christmas novella that is also a tale of sweet romance, twined with the paranormal, and even a wee smidgen of horror (just a smidge, I promise!).

Take a look:

Cover of FOOD FOR POE with cute young couple and a black cat.

 

BLURB:
When a blizzard strands Quinn Easterly at a handsome stranger’s house on Christmas Eve, she doesn’t realize her newly adopted cat, Poe, is the catalyst responsible for bringing them together.

Breck Lansing gave up on relationships after his wife, unable to cope with their daughter’s illness, left him. But the pretty blonde he rescues from a snowstorm has him rethinking his stance—especially when Quinn’s arrival coincides with a dramatic change in Sophie’s health.

Unfortunately, that change also attracts something only whispered about in folklore. Together, Quinn and Breck must defeat a sinister creature intent on claiming the ultimate payment.

Warning: A clever black cat, Christmas magic and paranormal trouble

~ooOOoo~

I’m happy to announce that FOOD FOR POE has just released. In celebration of the holidays, you can grab a copy for $.99 at Amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download a FREE Kindle Reading App for your PC, MAC, iPad, iPhone, Android or tablet here.

Merry Pre-Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Mae Clair Bio
Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back.  Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars.

Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with mystery and romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.

Discover more about Mae on her website and blog at MaeClair.net
Sign up for Mae’s newsletter here

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:
Twitter (@MaeClair1)
Google+ 
Facebook Author Page 
Amazon Author Page 
Kensington Books Author Page 
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Pinterest

Purchase FOOD FOR POE from Amazon

My Debut on Great Indie Authors, by Mae Clair

Interesting thing about writing—you get to wear multiple hats. As an example, I just released a romantic suspense/mystery novel, MYTH AND MAGIC, through my publisher, Lyrical Press. But I’ve dabbled in indie publishing, too, and have two books to my name under that banner.

Book open on it's spine with rifled pagesToday, I am sharing one of them at Great Indie Authors, a fabulous blog I’ve recently discovered. The owner, Kevin Cooper, popped in on my blog one day to say hello and a whole new world opened up. Kev does a fabulous job promoting indie and small press authors. He’s also an author in his own right, a musician, and a cat lover (hello, Aragorn and Ricco!). Seriously, how can you go wrong with that? 😀

Today, Kev has given me the spotlight on his “Author Interview” feature. I’m so happy to be there and invite you over to see what we’re chatting about. Also to discover this super-supportive and friendly blogger for yourself. While you’re there, why not sign up to follow his blog? I’m so glad I did! 🙂

~ooOOoo~

In other news, today is the launch of book tour number two for MYTH AND MAGIC, this one through Goddess Fish. I’m just doing a straight book promo tour this time, otherwise I would have been spreading myself too thin (there are 11 stops on this tour), but I had to share the snazzy banner they made for me:

BBT_TourBanner_MythAndMagic

If you need a refresher on what MYTH AND MAGIC is about, hop over to Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews, the first stop on my Goddess Fish book tour.

You can also find me at Mythical Books, today’s stop on my Pump Up Your Book tour.

And in case you’re wondering, I’m still waiting for someone to clone me 😉

The Three Day Quote Challenge by Mae Clair #Cats

ME: Guess what?

YOU: What?

ME:  I got tagged in the Three Day Quote Challenge by C. S. Boyack over at Entertaining Stories. Guess what else?

YOU:  What?

ME:  No one really knows what the “three day” part of it is. That’s okay, though, because this is too much fun to pass up.

YOU: Oh? Tell me about it.

ME:  Since you insist. 🙂

Here are the rules: 
1.  Thank the person who nominated you. (Thank you, Craig!)
2.  Post your quote.
3.  Pass it on to three others.

Originally, I was tempted to post a quote about writing or something inspirational, because there are several of those that I love. But my true obsession won out. So, despite being currently “cat-less” I give you my favorite cat quote (along with the three fabulous felines who have graced my life).

Not sure who said this—I’m pretty sure it’s attributed to “anonymous”—but I love it!

A dog looks at you and says, “You take care of me. You must be a god.”
A cat looks at you and says, “You give me food and shelter. I must be a god.”

Isn’t that just like a cat? 🙂
And with that I’d like to tag the following ladies, should they like to play!

Carmen Stefanescu
Stanalei Fletcher 

Flossie Benton Rogers 

Writing, Cats, and a Friendly Octopus by Mae Clair

Opie1Say hello to Opie, my writing cheerleader, taskmaster, cute companion and occasional muse.

He showed up on my doorstep several years ago when I was working on a short story involving a hagfish.

If you’re not sure what a hagfish is, think of a fat, eel-like creature capable of producing massive amounts of slime.

Sound cuddly? And my story wasn’t about just any garden variety hagfish, but a colossal mutant with a fondness for underwater submersibles. Um, did I mention I didn’t always write romance? 😀

A friend of mine sent Opie along as inspiration. Granted he’s more octopus than hagfish (who really wants a pet that engulfs its victims in slime before devouring them), but  I was instantly smitten. Seriously, who could resist those turquoise blue eyes and floppy tentacles? And that bulbous head was just meant for repeated patting.Opie Crop

Opie immediately commandeered a corner of my desk and has clung there tenaciously. Since I no longer have a cat to keep me company, Opie has become the critter who dominates my work area when I’m writing.

But it wasn’t always that way.

My cats each had a favorite means of making their presence known when I was in a creative zone. Any good feline worth a disdainful tail twitch knows that’s the opportune time to demand attention. Feeding time, cuddling time, play time, whatever. Cats have an innate strategy gene and know how to employ it.

IMG_1328

Onyx sunbathing. He was such a good cat…they all were!

McDoogal liked to curl up on my lap, which was actually nice until my legs started falling asleep. Onyx preferred strolling across the keyboard and posing in front of the screen. But Arafel…leave it to a female to be the queen of distraction. Her tactic involved sitting beside my chair and meowing. At least that’s how it started, but eventually those soft plaintive meows transitioned into a caterwaul it was impossible to ignore. In a test of wills, Arafel always won.

Opie is far less intrusive but I know he’s there. Watching, encouraging, inspiring. And yes, distracting, when I get caught up in his excess of cuteness. 😀

How about you? Do you have a pet who demands attention when you’re working or a desk mascot that inspires you?

Mae Clair’s Mythical Monday: The Nine Lives of Cats

Arafel

Arafel, my first cat came from a litter of farm kittens. I always told her she looked like a little woodland creature from myth.

I love all animals, but cats are my favorite. As a kid I grew up with cats, dogs, goldfish, hamsters, gerbils, a parakeet, tropical fish and even a chinchilla. As an adult, I bonded with cats and never looked back. These animals have alternately been revered and feared throughout time. From the ancient Egyptians who worshipped them as demi-gods, to the people of Medieval England who believed them to be the accomplices of witches, felines have known extreme highs and lows. Perhaps this is the reason they are said to have nine lives.

More likely, the cat’s agility and its uncanny self-righting mechanism allowing it to survive falls from great heights, is where the myth originated. Felines are extremely graceful, swift, and able to squeeze into small spaces–traits that add to its undeniable mystique. Of all domesticated animals, the cat is the least tame. Like its wild kin, it is most active during early morning hours and at night, the best times for hunting prey. The nocturnal aspect of the cat and its ability to see in the dark also support the nine lives belief.  Blessed with enhanced senses and fluid agility, this clever and crafty animal could easily live nine lifetimes.

McDoogal

McDoogal was a rescue cat who entered our lives a year after Arafel. I joke with my husband that McDoogal worshipped me. He was definitely MY cat.

When superstition was rampant, many believed a witch could take the form of her cat familiar nine times, thus giving the cat nine lives.  Another tale related to the myth involves a cat entering a home where nine hungry children resided. Nine fish had been set out for the children to eat, but the cat devoured them all. The poor children died of starvation while the cat met an untimely end from gluttony. When the feline arrived in Heaven, God was so angered by its selfishness he made it fall to the earth for nine days. The nine lives of the children reside in the cat’s belly, which is why it must die nine times before finally being able to rest.

Sometimes those nine lives came in handy.  Seafarers knew cats were able to predict storms, which is why they considered a cat onboard ship good luck. It wasn’t simply a matter of running roughshod over vermin.

That was something Noah knew about. When the ark set sail, there were no cats onboard. Rats and mice multiplied and soon overran the boat.  In desperation, Noah asked the lion for help. The great beast sneezed and two cats were born, the only animal not originally created by God.

Onyx

Onyx, my last lovely boy. Everyone said he was so handsome with his silky black coat he should have been a show cat. I preferred spoiling him rotten.

Whatever you believe, there’s no denying these frisky and entertaining animals have found a place in our hearts, whether for a single lifetime or nine. Disney gave us The Three Lives of Thomasina while Stephen King terrified us with Pet Sematary.

I prefer my cats cuddly and affectionate over Mr. King’s variety which is why I’m dedicating this post to the lovely felines who graced my life with companionship–Arafel, McDoogal and Onyx. All are gone now. It would have been nice had they hung around for eight more lifetimes!

To close, I leave you with one of my favorite cat quotes. Nothing against dogs, (I love them too), but I think this quote speaks volumes about the mind of a cat:

A dog looks at you and says, “You take care of me. You must be a god.”  A cat looks at you and says, “You give me food and shelter. I must be a god.”

Wish I could credit it, but I don’t remember who said it.

What’s your take on cats (or dogs)? Do you have a favorite pet story or a strange superstition to share?

Mae Clair’s Purrrfectly Giftastic G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y

Purrfectly GiftasticWelcome to the Purrrfectly Giftastic Christmas blog hop which runs December 14 through December 17 at midnight. Many thanks to Drea Beacraft for organizing such a great hop. You can find a list of all participating authors here.

Given the cute kitty mascot and the name of the hop, I thought I’d share a few memories of cats at Christmas.

Shortly after my husband I married, one of his co-workers offered us a kitten from a litter of farm cats. I’d grown up with two cats, two dogs and wanted a pet again. I named the kitten Arafel after the Lady of Trees in C.J. Cherryh’s fantasy novel THE TREE OF SWORDS AND JEWELS.

Arafel and McDoogal

Arafel and McDoogal

A year later, my brother needed to find a home for a beautiful two-year old gray and we took him on a ‘trial basis,’ worried how he would get along with Arafel. It was two weeks before they were able to tolerate one another, but they eventually grew as close as litter mates. Both cats loved climbing our Christmas tree and batting at dangling ornaments. If you saw Cadence Blue’s Pet Safety post on my blog earlier this week, you know these activities can be potentially dangerous to kitties. I remember coming downstairs one morning and finding both cats tucked among the branches of my Christmas tree. I think McDoogal went exploring and Arafel followed.She was the dominate one, but he was insatiably curious.

Onyx, Christmas 2002

Onyx, Christmas 2002

For Onyx, the last feline in my life (he died of cancer shortly after New Year’s 2012 when he was thirteen), the allure was artificial greens. It didn’t matter what kind — garland, faux trees, wreathes, etc. And the obsession didn’t stop with Christmas but continued throughout the year, encompassing dried plants, grasses and broom bristles. For the most part I couldn’t keep dried arrangements in the house, and constantly had to make sure my brooms were stored upside down with the bristles pointed skyward.

About five years ago my husband and I began using an artificial tree for Christmas and that presented a momentous temptation for Onyx – a feast of dried bristles. The odd thing was he didn’t look twice at real plants. I even bought him several varieties of cat grasses from a pet store and he wouldn’t touch them.

Wrapping paper was another favorite for all of my cats, good for attacking, rolling in, and using to slide across the carpet. Cats and wrapping paper go together like cats and writers. I always had a cat in my office, on the desk, my lap, or curled up on the floor beside me when I was writing. Onyx was there for the creation of WEATHERING ROCK my paranormal / time travel romance about a Civil War colonel who is transported to the present where he falls for a woman who teaches American history.

For my part in the Purrrfectly Giftastic Christmas blog hop I’m awarding a $10 gift card to Amazon. If you’re interested in winning, I invite you to hop over and “Like” my Amazon page for WEATHERING ROCK. Then leave a comment below letting me know you have.

I’d also love to hear any holiday memory you might have related to cats or pets in general. Don’t forget to include your email address if you’d like to be entered in my random.org drawing. I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday December 18, so be sure to check back to see if you’ve won. Comment moderation is on so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t appear immediately. I promise it won’t get lost. 😀

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

WR Cover for webWEATHERING ROCK BLURB
Drawn together across centuries, will their love be strong enough to defeat an ancient curse?

Colonel Caleb DeCardian was fighting America’s Civil War on the side of the Union when a freak shower of ball lightning transported him to the present, along with rival and former friend, Seth Reilly. Adapting to the 21st century is hard enough for the colonel, but he also has to find Seth, who cursed him to life as a werewolf. The last thing on Caleb’s mind is romance. Then fetching Arianna Hart nearly runs him down with her car. He can’t deny his attraction to the outspoken schoolteacher, but knows he should forget her.

Arianna finds Caleb bewildering, yet intriguing: courtly manners, smoldering sensuality and eyes that glow silver at night? When she sees Civil War photographs featuring a Union officer who looks exactly like Caleb, she begins to understand the man she is falling in love with harbors multiple secrets–some of which threaten the possibility of their happiness.

Finding a decent guy who’ll commit is hard enough. How can she expect Caleb to forsake his own century to be with her?

Available for Purchase at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
Lyrical Press
iBooks

View Book Trailer for WEATHERING ROCK

Holiday Pet Safety

cat-christmasIf you’re like me, you adore furry friends. Amid the hustle-bustle of the holidays it’s easy to overlook or forget precautions related to their safety. As a cat owner for years, I know my felines loved glittery Christmas balls, bows, ribbons and wrapping paper. It’s one matter for frisky felines to ‘sled’ across the carpet on a piece of wrapping paper, another to bat a glass ornament until it falls and shatters, creating a safety hazard for soft paws. That’s why I’m pleased to have guest blogger, Cadence Blue, here today with a post about keeping your pets safe through the holiday season. I hope you’ll read through her tips and suggestions!

~ooOOoo~

Holiday Pet Safety
by Cadence Blue

GREAT BIG thanks to Mae for letting me share a non-writing related topic this week 🙂

With the holidays approaching I thought it was time for us to start thinking about pet safety.

Christmas time with its sparkly, shiny, glittery decorations and Christmas plants and trees present a wonderland for kitties and doggies. It is up to us as responsible pet parents to make sure that this wonderland doesn’t end up endangering our pets and causing enormous vet bills. No one wants a costly emergency during the most wonderful time of the year.

So let’s go over some things we need to pay attention to:

Christmas foliage:
Lilies are beautiful but can cause kidney failure in cats if they eat them. They are not toxic in dogs. Poinsettias are not poisonous and deadly to pets as urban legends claim, but they, along with holly and mistletoe will all cause stomach upset in pets. Silk plants are a good alternative if you want to avoid this problem or, keeping real plants out of reach of curious furries.

The Christmas tree is the main foliage most everyone will have in their house. All real trees will cause stomach upset and can be toxic if enough is ingested. Trees with long, thick needles can cause injury to the digestive tract of a pet that eats them and doesn’t chew them well. The needles aren’t digestible and can puncture the stomach as well as nearby organs. I have no personal experience with this issue but it has happened (according to my vet as well as my online research), so it’s important to be watchful of pets when they are around the tree. If your pet appears to be in distress with vomiting, drooling and/or pain, seek medical attention right away.

Where real trees are concerned the absolute most dangerous thing is the water they sit in. Many tree lots spray the trees with insecticides and fire retardants, which, along with the natural sap of the tree, get into the water—all of which are poisonous to pets. Also, it may have been recommended to add aspirin to the water. There is debate over whether this helps or hurts the tree. The National Christmas Tree Association (yes, there really is one!) says plain tap water is best and for cat owners it is the best option because aspirin is DEADLY to cats. (Aspirin is safe for dogs in small quantities. Ask your vet).

It is very important to cover the water your real tree is sitting in.

Cat owners may want to consider anchoring their tree so it doesn’t fall over if kitty goes on a climbing expedition.

Artificial trees can cause stomach upset and blockages because the fibers they are made with are not digestible.

XmasCat_3Keep pets away from the tree if possible. I realize it isn’t always possible. We live in a small apartment. In cases like that you can buy pet repellents and spray the area around the tree. I don’t have a lot of faith in those but if they’ve worked for you then it is a good option. Another option is Bitter Apple spray. It’s non-toxic to cats and dogs, non-sticky and extremely bitter. Spray it on the tree where your pets can reach, especially the very bottom branches. Dogs and cats despise bitter flavors. We had mixed results with our cats and had to re-apply it a couple times when we noticed them munching on the tree. I still feel it is a good option as a deterrent.

Christmas decorations pose another health hazard to pets who like to bat at them and eat them. Most experienced cat owners know that THE TOP NO-NO DECORATION is tinsel. Those shiny, dangling strings hanging from the tree branches are just too irresistible to kitties. They pull them off and eat them and it ends up tangling in the digestive tract, knotting up the intestines. Your cat (or dog) will die without veterinary intervention. That intervention involves stomach surgery to remove the tinsel. Some owners, unable to afford the cost, have to euthanize their pet—not a very merry Christmas for anyone.

Any stringy decorations, or even cat toys like fishing rods, pose the same hazard. My cats much prefer the cord on their fishing rods to the actual toy at the end. It is for that reason I never leave my cats unsupervised with those kinds of toys. Garland is another one you need to watch out for, though it can be sprayed down with Bitter Apple along with other tree ornaments to keep pets away. It is important to supervise pets around the tree at all times and place plain decorations at the bottom, like ornaments with no thing-a-mabobbers hanging off them. Plain plastic balls are best for those pet-reachable low branches. If you use glass ornaments watch out for any that fall and break so there aren’t any cut paws or mouths. Glass in the digestive tract is also a hazard.

We plan to buy some thick cardboard to block off the living room for times when we are away or when we are sleeping. More expensive room dividers can be found on Ebay if you want something decorative like an Oriental screen.

Wrapping supplies:
Here you mainly need to watch out for the ribbons because they’ll tangle in the pet’s stomach like the things I mentioned earlier. Even my older cats like to gnaw on ribbons when the gifts are out under the tree. For this reason I put the presents out last minute and keep a big bag on hand to immediately discard wrappings when a gift has been opened.

If you see your pet eating wrapping paper you should discourage it, especially if the paper is thick or if it is foil. Dogs sometimes eat paper and it can block their intestinal tract. Tissue paper on the other hand makes a marvelous toy that they can shred and jump about in safely. My cats will eat little bits of it and I haven’t had any problems, but do watch out for puppies and dogs having a feast of it. I sometimes offer a few sheets of tissue to divert my pets’ attention from items I don’t want them to play with.  

My cats also enjoy those bows you stick on the top of presents. They bat them around and carry them in their mouths. I will replace them with new bows if the old ones come unraveled. Remember: those bows are just long pieces of ribbon so stay alert if you let your cats play with them. In twenty years I’ve had no problems with my cats playing with bows but every cat and dog is different in their habits. Always keep an eye on them.

Christmas treats:
My cats like table scraps and they’ll get some. They like rich holiday food the same as we do, but if you share, do so sparingly to avoid upset tummies.

Cookies and candy:
This is more for dogs, but there are cats out there who like sweets too: chocolate is toxic to both cats and dogs unless it is white chocolate. I’ve seen dog treats that are dipped in white chocolate. Don’t freak out if your cat or dog wants to lick a little chocolate from your fingertips or a bowl but don’t feed it in large quantities or habitually. (We used to have a cat that enjoyed milk chocolate – just use common sense when sharing).

Last, keep the telephone numbers of local vets in a place where you can find them, ESPECIALLY an emergency clinic that is open during off-hours. If you’re having an emergency you don’t want to have to search for important telephone numbers. Better yet, program them into your cell phone. If you think your pet has swallowed something don’t wait! Seek help.

I am definitely not trying to scare people off decorating their homes. Just be aware, know your pet and his/her habits and what dangerous things he is attracted to and take precautions accordingly. A little common sense and a watchful eye go a long way!

For even more tips please visit the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and their article on holiday safety, good no matter what country you live in 🙂

Direct link:
http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/holiday-safety-tips.aspx

I hope you found this information helpful!

Now that you are armed with information, go forth and decorate, and have a safe and happy holiday with your pets!

If you have some safety tips to share, please feel free! There is no such thing as too much information on this topic.

Cee_2 crop8Blogger Bio
Cadence Blue has been entertaining family and friends with her writing for many years. Circumstances beyond her control caused her to step back from the art form for a time and she is just now making a tentative comeback as an aspiring indie author. When not writing she enjoys doing graphic design and video editing.

Cadence is married and is both mother and play companion to her four black cats, who demand much of her time and energy.

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