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

Cover Reveal: Food for Poe by Mae Clair #Paranormal #Christmas #Romance

It’s October and I should be thinking about pumpkins, restless spirits, and things-that-go-bump in the night. I’ve got a Halloween mystery out right now with MYTH AND MAGIC, so that counts, right?

But as much as I enjoy Halloween, I adore Christmas far more. Without question, it’s my favorite holiday. That’s why I’m excited to be releasing a holiday novella in November. If you’ve visited my blog before, you’ve heard me talk about FOOD FOR POE, a Christmas romance with a paranormal twist and smidgen of horror.

And a cat. Did I mention it has a black cat? 🙂

Because this is an indie release, and because I’m quasi-versed in graphic design, I put the cover together. After scouring stock photography sites, I found models who were a good match for my characters, Breck Lansing and Quinn Easterly–and, of course, I had to find a charming black cat for Poe.

What do you think?

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~

Poe’s release should fall somewhere in mid November. DH and I are taking a vacation to the tropics the beginning of the month (you’ll notice me missing) and I plan to publish the story when we return. After a week of tropical waters, sandy beaches, sun, and fun, I’ll be ready to focus on writing and publishing.

Now I just have to start planning promo. 🙂

In the meantime, I’m happy to say you can add FOOD FOR POE to your Goodreads list by clicking here.

I am such a sap when it comes to animals, especially cats. If there was any doubt, take a look at the closet door and entrance door to my office/den. There’s another/different guy outside, too 🙂

IMG_0671

Mae Clair’s Mythical Monday: Christmas Eve Legends

The celebration of Christmas touches us each in different ways. For me, as for many, it is a religious holiday, but it’s also a time for merriment, family, celebration and joy. There is a special magic that occurs at Christmas which transcends description, an enchantment of being that is spiritual, mythical and mystical. The power of believe!

The Eve of Christmas is noted for many old world superstitions and beliefs, among them the idea that the veil between worlds grows thin, allowing the departed to return to the homes of their loved ones.

bigstock-Medieval-Tavern-3878785 lightenedIn Scandinavia, people prepared feasts for the spirits, setting a table laden with holiday fare. They had their own festive celebration first, then before retiring for the night, made certain all the bowls and platters were refilled and heaping with food, jugs were brimming with Yule ale, and a fire burned brightly in the hearth. Many times chairs were wiped clean with a white cloth. The following morning the cleaning process was repeated and, if a bit of earth was discovered, it was proof-positive a visitor from the grave had been there.

Another myth related to Christmas Eve involved animals. At the stroke of midnight many believed animals could speak in human voices.  The downside? Anyone who overheard an animal talk usually met with an untimely end or some other dreadful circumstance. Probably why no one has ever reported hearing Fluffy and Fido shoot the breeze. How I would love to have a one-on-one with a cat!

In Europe it is said cattle kneeled to worship the new-born King, and that bees came together in great numbers to hum a Christmas hymn. Wouldn’t that be something to hear?

The creepiest legend I found involved a blacksmith. One Christmas Eve when a bell tolled, beckoning all the people of his village to midnight mass, he ignored the summons and continued to work. Not long after, a stranger arrived. Tall, but stooped over, he asked the blacksmith to add a nail to his scythe. When the blacksmith finished the task, the stranger told him to summon a priest for the work would surely be his last. The next morning the smitty perished, never realizing he had repaired the scythe of the Grim Reaper.

Surprisingly, there are many legends and superstitions related to this holiday, those above only a sampling of what I found. Given I’m a Myth-monger, I found all of them riveting. One item, however, that is certainly not a myth is the pleasure I receive from sharing these. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Whether you discover talking animals tonight, friendly phantoms come to call, or just the good cheer of family and friends, may your Christmas Eve be blessed and merry!

#ChristmasRomance Spotlight: A PROMISE FOR HER LOVE by Elaina Lee

imagesA Promise for her Love
by Elaina Lee

BLURB
Christmas is supposed to be the most joyful time of year. Instead,  Caylie Abrahams finds herself consumed by doubts and misgivings as her wedding date to Rick Marshall approaches. From two different walks of life, Caylie fears Rick’s family, and his money, will be too much to handle. Matters don’t improve much when Rick is forced to give her a prenuptial agreement.

Knowing the marriage contract may be the last straw for Caylie, Rick has to find a way to show his bride-to-be the agreement doesn’t mean their marriage is doomed. Not only does he need to make sure her worries are addressed, but the pressure of keeping his hands to himself until their wedding night is proving more difficult than he anticipated.

EXCERPT
Caylie Abrahams checked her suitcase one more time, pointing to the neatly packed compartments and mentally checking off things she’d already put inside. Butterflies danced in her stomach. She tried not to think too hard on the evening to come.

For the first time since they’d become a couple six months ago, she and Rick Marshall were going to spend the night together. Alone.

Taking a deep breath she raced to the bathroom and then quickly filled a cup with water. Hands shaking, she gulped down the cool fluid. Deep, loud laughter drew her attention away from what felt like prom night.

She set the cup on the counter, debating whether to keep packing or to make sure her brother would be fine for the weekend without her. Eighteen now, Kyle didn’t need to be watched over. However, he still lived under her roof, and she expected him to follow the rules.

A little reminder here and there about what she expected never hurt, so she headed down the hall to his room. At his door, she lifted her hand to knock. His muffled voice sounded through the slivered opening, and she paused. Pressing a hand to the frame to steady herself, she leaned closer, wondering if she’d heard correctly.

“Look, it’s not that I don’t want to do it, I just…No, hey, come on Gloria, that’s not fair.” He laughed again.

Caylie considered rushing down the stairs and snatching up the other phone. What little vixen was trying to demoralize her brother? She’d been down that path before with Kyle; she didn’t want to deal with bad influences again.

“See, here’s the deal,” he said, his voice turning somber. “My sis and her fiancé are waiting until after they’re married to do it, and I was thinking about it and, I think that’s right.”

Blinking, Caylie backed away from the door, heart pounding. The diamond on her ring finger glittered in the dying light of day. She had to call Rick. Before she could make it to her room—and her phone—a heavy pounding sounded on the door downstairs. On the way down she shouted to Kyle that she had the door.

The thick shadow on the other side of the front door glass made her heart skip. Nervousness and excitement collided, causing her hand to pause over the doorknob. Inhaling deeply, she yanked the door open and couldn’t stop the smile, her eyes settling on the face she never grew tired of seeing.

“Hey, gorgeous,” Rick said, his voice low and silky, causing a wonderful shiver to race up her spine.

He wrapped his arms around her waist, and she let loose a squeal as he scooped her against his firm body. The door banged closed. In a split second, he pinned her to the wall. Breath rushed from her lungs. Feverish and demanding, his lips sought hers and Caylie didn’t deny him.

For over a week they’d sufficed with phone conversations, texts and emails—all difficulties of a semi-long distance relationship. On the weekends, they stayed at each other’s house, in separate rooms out of respect for Kyle. Their weekdays were spent dealing with their individual lives; they were only able to support each other over a phone line. Caylie couldn’t wait for the day when they would be together for good.

The thought made her remember Kyle’s words, and with frustration, she pulled away. Pushing her hands on his chest to keep him from advancing again, she shook her head. Breathless, she said, “We can’t go alone to the lake this weekend.”

Confusion etched his handsome face, and he pulled back slightly. “What are you talking about? Why?”

Dryness suddenly coated her throat, and she swallowed. Unable to look at him, she focused on his shirt buttons. “I overheard Kyle talking to his girlfriend. He thinks we’ve made the choice not to sleep together until we’re married.”

“So?”

She met his stare. “So, he’s decided to make the same choice, because of us.”

“But we didn’t make that choice…did we?” The desperation straining his voice almost made her laugh. However, the same pent-up desire guided her body too, and it was screaming for her to forget what she’d heard.

Ignoring the heat coursing through her veins, she patted his chest and whispered, “I have.”

ONLY 99 cents! Find it @ Amazon Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Mae Clair’s Winter Celebration

We all know the world is ending today according to the Mayan Calendar . . . well, actually they ran out of room and neglected to chisel a new set of hieroglyphics for the next century.  That aside, (yeah, I know it’s hard to be blasé about  an apocalyptic event, but Y2K had it wrong first), today is also the first day of winter and the Winter Solstice. It’s the longest day of the year which means dark falls early.

Seems like an odd day for celebration.

Usually, my husband and I will fill  mugs with coffee or hot chocolate and drive around looking at displays of Christmas lights (not sure that’s going to happen this year as he’s fighting a bad cold). Occasionally, I’ve even packed cookies in the car to make the event more festive. By this time, we pretty much have a handle on the holidays. Decorations are up, cards are mailed, shopping is done, and it’s a time to kick-back and enjoy a bit of seasonal fun. I still have gifts to wrap, but I always reserve that for Christmas Eve during the day.

I can’t say I’m all that thrilled to officially usher in a season of cold, snow and ice, but there’s a spark of magic to be found in the mix. A stillness that settles on the land, especially at night, when the surroundings are wrapped in a hush. It’s an ageless music, underscored by a whisper of earth and sky, something the Vikings surely heard as they trekked across plateaus of snow ribboned with skeins of ice. As much as I could embrace a sun-kissed lifestyle in a tropical setting, I’d have to visit northern climates for the occasional dose of snow and cold. Sporadically, you understand, because winter isn’t without perks.

Happy couple near fireplaceCold weather is great for snuggling with your guy or curling up in front of a warm fire. If you’re the outdoorsy type there’s sledding, tobogganing and ice-skating. For astronomers or amateur stargazers, winter is the best time for viewing the heavens. The stars are like cut crystal on a bed of black licorice. They never seem closer.

You might say the romantic in me prefers to overlook the less savory unappealing okay, downright nasty features that go hand-in-hand with winter in the northern hemisphere.Things like snow shoveling, falling on the ice (been there, done that), scraping the windshield because-the-weather-guys-had-the-forecast-wrong-again-and-your-car-got-iced-while-you-were-at-work. There’s also the ever popular getting stuck on the drive home because you didn’t bring the SUV (see reference to highly inaccurate weather guys). And then there’s my favorite – – hives.

Yes, folks, I suffer from something called cold urticaria, a lovely little perk I developed during the Blizzard of ‘93.  If I’m exposed to the cold for an extended period of time, I break out in hives, yet another argument for living in a warm climate. My husband tells me I’m like a tropical fish who needs a minimal temperature of 76 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit to exist.

So assuming we’re all still around tomorrow and the world doesn’t implode, what do you like most about winter? What do you like least? I’d love to hear your opinions as the solstice and the purported end of the world draw nigh. After all, this might be your last chance to share. 😉

bigstock-Christmas-lantern-with-snowfal-38966599

Mae Clair’s Mythical Monday: The Christmas Lads (plus G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y)

Purrfectly GiftasticToday is the last day of the Purrrfectly Giftastic Christmas blog hop. Many thanks to Drea Beacraft for organizing such a great hop. You can find a list of all participating authors here.

Because today is also a Monday, it’s my chosen day of the week to share a bit of myth, superstition or folklore. In keeping with the Christmas theme, I found an interesting tale from Iceland about the “Christmas Lads.”

These were no ordinary boys but thirteen sons of an ancient she-troll named Gryla. Their job was to creep into unsuspecting households one at a time, beginning thirteen days before Christmas. A raucous bunch, they helped themselves to food, candles, grains, and anything they could get their destructive little hands on (these boys clearly had mommy issues!).

Each Christmas Lad had a special name and an assigned day to fulfill his personal brand of terror mischief  given task. How would you like to have this lot for houseguests?

December 12: Sheephold Stick
December 13: Gully Oaf
December 14: Shorty
December 15: Spoon-licker
December 16: Pot-licker
December 17: Bowl-licker
December 18: Door-slammer
December 19: Curd Glutton
December 20: Sausage Pilferer
December 21: Peeper
December 22: Sniffer
December 23: Meat Hook
December 24: Candle Grabber

The two that made an impression on me were Curd Glutton (he laps up all the milk curd he can find) and Meat Hook. This ingenious fellow hangs from the rafters and uses a hook which he lowers to snare lamb and other meats from cooking pots and platters. And let’s not forget Door-slammer. His special talent would get old really fast.

When Christmas Day arrived, the Lads left one by one, but not alone. Naughty children were stuffed into sacks and hauled back to their mother who served them up as a feast. Clearly, many parents used this tale to coerce their children into behaving through the holidays much in the same way parents today remind their kids of Santa Claus’ Naughty or Nice list.

bigstock-Santa-s-Elf-196461As time progressed the Christmas Lads underwent a metamorphosis, changing from wretched destructive visitors into friendly imps who left a gift for children who put a shoe on their windowsill. Beginning December 12th, the Lads made their nightly visits, eventually becoming our modern day version of the Christmas elves.

If you’re looking for a stocking stuffer this Christmas, I invite you to consider 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, hop over and “Like” my Amazon page for WEATHERING ROCK. Then leave a comment below letting me know you have.

I’d also be curious which Christmas Lad’s name from the list above you find the strangest. 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 tomorrow, so be sure to check back to see if you’ve won. Comment moderation is on. 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

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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