Tips for Keeping Cats Safe During Easter, Social Distancing, and Beyond

Easter Sunday, as it’s known in Christianity, marks the anniversary of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven and is typically a day steeped deep in traditions to celebrate the miracle – most of them involving social gatherings, whether groups of people at church or family celebrations at home. But today, amid a global pandemic, tradition is replaced with social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting taking precedence, and the holiday will have to be reinvented. We can still celebrate and look for the deeper meanings of love and hope in a very scary and uncertain world, but we must keep safety and smart cleaning in mind, especially in those households with cats who are cooped up in close quarters with us.

If you do decide to celebrate with Easter baskets, be aware the shiny ribbons, cellophane grasses, and chocolate candies can be a tempting magnet to a cat. Ribbons and grasses, if ingested, could quickly become entangled in kitty’s intestine, causing them to twist and close off requiring dangerous surgery. And chocolate is highly toxic to kitty, as well as those beautiful Easter lilies we are all familiar with. Small toys are a hazard, too. If your cat decides to eat the toy, he could possibly choke on it. If you can’t be around to supervise your cat when the basket is out, it’s best to put it away safely somewhere he can’t get it to resist temptation.

As far as keeping our homes disinfected, Dr. Barbara Hodges, director of advocacy and outreach for the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association says we need to be “extra vigilant,” with the cleaning products we use to kill the virus that causes COVID-19 because they can just as easily sicken or even kill our pets, especially cats who are particularly vulnerable due to their small size. Cleaners with powerful odors that promise results and make disinfectants effective are a red flag to danger: alcohol, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and chemical compounds that contain the word “phenol.”

We can easily get distracted during these stressful times and when we’re cleaning, that’s all we should be doing. Don’t get up to pick up the phone or something else – if you’re washing the floor, your cat could play with the water, knock it over, walk on it – all quickly amounting to toxic chemicals touching your cat’s paw and licking it. If you can, shut your cat out of the room while you are cleaning, that would be ideal.

And it’s not just Easter baskets or cleaning products to be mindful of. Many of the over the counter medications such as acetaminophen—one of the pain and fever reducers people take for COVID-19 symptoms can endanger kitty. The Humane Society of the United States reported in March, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the U.S., accidental ingestions by pets of drugs like Tylenol were driving a rise in calls to the APSCA national pet poison hotline.

Familiarize yourself with your cat’s veterinary hours and COVID plan. While veterinary offices have been determined essential businesses, each specific office may have different rules and guidelines and if you have an emergency, you’ll want to know what to do. Keep the vet’s phone number locked in your phone and posted on your refrigerator to quickly access.

When using cleaning products, read the labels carefully to check the ingredients and follow use instructions precisely. Be mindful of the strength of the product, and by how much you should dilute it. Using more than recommended is not better. The higher the accidental dose a pet gets, the more toxic.

When you are done with liquid cleaners, rinse out buckets and mops. When you are done with disinfecting wipes, throw them out right away. Make sure your household garbage bags and cans always have lids secured. Shut and secure the doors of cabinets or closets or rooms where you store cleaning products, equipment, and medications.

Keep pets out of the room when you are cleaning. Do not leave disinfectants or cold and flu medications unattended. After you have used them, store them in a place that pets cannot reach. If you wet floors or counters with disinfectants and cleaners, keep pets away until they dry. Ideally, rinse floors with water.

If you suspect your pet has been poisoned (symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and seizures), seek veterinary medical help right away, as the prognosis is always better when a toxicity is reported immediately. If they are not immediately available for advice, call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661. To aid in identifying potentially dangerous items, the Pet Poison Helpline website also has an A to Z list of what items are poisonous, the level of toxicity if ingested, and what the common signs to watch for are.

Do NOT give your cat any milk, food, salt, oil, hydrogen peroxide or any other home remedies! Also, never induce vomiting without talking to your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline – it may be detrimental or contraindicated to induce vomiting.

As with any day of the week, holiday or not, COVID or not, be mindful of your pet and that what we do can affect them. Wishes to everyone for a safe and blessed day.

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  1. Ingrid King says:

    We hope you have a safe and Happy Easter in the middle of these strange times we live in.

  2. Jo Singer says:

    Wishing you and yours a very happy Easter!

    Thanks for this very informative post this morning.

    Sending tons of well wishes to everyone. Stay safe, Stay home, be well. Much love to you from me, Marty and Edgar Allen Poe and Aki.

  3. Brian Frum says:

    You just can’t be too safe these days. Happy Easter from all of us!

  4. Happy Easter! Thanks for the reminders on safety, no Easter goo-gaws here, just happy kitties – the best décor anywhere!

  5. Great information ! Stay home, stay safe, and wash your paws. Happy Easter ! Purrs

  6. meowmeowmans says:

    Happy Easter, sweet friends! Thanks for the reminder about how to keep our babies safe this Easter and always.

  7. jmuhj says:

    We don’t have holy days now, but thank you for all of the very good information about safety issues. It’s always amazing to me that anyone doesn’t practice all of these common-sense measures, but then, “common” sense isn’t very common in this society. Enjoy the day with your beloved ones — being with them is always the best part of any day, isn’t it?

  8. Great tips! Have a safe and happy Easter!

  9. Ellen Pilch says:

    Great post. Happy Easter! XO

  10. Valentine says:

    Thanks, Miss Deborah for reminding humans of those important points. Mom makes sure to turn on the fan and open the windows to air out the house when she disinfects the bathrooms or countertops. She also moves me to another room away from the smells of the disinfectants until they go away.

  11. We don’t decorate, so all of our kitties are safe.
    Except for The PO’M, living outside while we are having a very windy day, and all kinds of stuff is being blown out of the trees onto his porch. He needs a cat-sized safety helmet!