Our CEO's cat Waffle, on how to keep your favourite feline safe and happy this Christmas
Waffle has a lot of thoughts and opinions he likes to share, in particular when it comes to Christmas and how to keep him and his sister Crumpet safe.
This year he wrote a letter to Liz, and asked that she share it with all our other cat parents.
As Waffle's devoted servant, she obviously obeyed and here it is.
From Waffle to you with love this Christmas.
Well done. You’ve exceeded my expectations.
You’ve turned my kingdom into a magical playground. Filled with curiosities I must explore and make my own.
I’m particularly happy with the return of the sparkly green climbing frame.
I forgot how prickly it is on the paws, but I’m getting used to it.
It really is a rather splendid way to provide me with a hundred new toys. And so artfully arranged. I am proud of you. It is truly splendid.
However, much as I appreciate all this effort, I feel it my duty to point out that not all my feline friends are as responsible as I am at this time of year.
Which is why I am taking a quick break from napping in front of the fire, to share some things you might want to pass on to other feline-loving humans.
Sparkly Green Climbing Frame aka The Christmas Tree
Many of my feline friends adore this climbing frame as much as I do. Particularly having a good old chew on the branches.
They’re just asking to be gnawed.
But did you know that if the tree is real, the natural oils can irritate our tummies.
Its sharp little needles can be toxic to us if we swallow them.
Not to mention VERY sore on the way out!
As for artificial trees, (and I speak from experience), they tend to be lighter and can fall over very easily with only a little bit of pressure from our paws.
This can be scary if you’re halfway up, or underneath.
Trust me. I know.
Artificial trees also have wire and plastic in their branches and can be coated in all sorts of toxic materials.
SO. If you see your festive feline heading for a little afternoon tree munch, steer them away.
A few tips:
- Avoid wrapping your presents with string and ribbon - I love playing with these. I once played so vigorously the entire tree landed on my head
- Put presents for your puss under the tree at the last minute - especially any containing my all-time favourite, CATNIP
- Try not to leave your tree unattended - some of us simply cannot be trusted
- TOP TIP: Bake slices of orange and attach them to low branches - we are not big fans of citrus and it works as a natural deterrent.
Festive Cat Toys aka Christmas Decorations
Our hunter instincts are out in force at this time of year with so many new things to see, touch, smell and eat. It's fabulous.
But with this wonderful enrichment come a few dangers that can cause a visit to the V.E.T. And nobody wants a V.E.T. visit when they should be curled up by the fire, eating treats and demanding tummy rubs.
Decorations can be one such danger. They look innocent enough in all their shining beauty, with their tantalising dangling and spinning.
But if you’re not careful, they can fight back.
Last year I learned to my peril that pretty glass baubles shatter too easily.
I pounced a bit too hard, several fell and broke, and I ended up at the V.E.T. with a very sore paw and a Santa bandage.
NOTE: It's not a look that suits a distinguished fellow such as myself.
Twinkling lights are so pretty but have demon intent.
Some of us have been known to end up at the V.E.T. with hot lights burning our paws, eyes and mouths.
And after the first V.E.T. visit, fear of being electrocuted was enough to stop me chewing through the wires.
See. I told you. Lights. Demon intent.
And as if that's not enough - whilst it’s a ‘never to be mentioned again’ subject in our house, my misadventure with Tinselitis in 2021 means I must raise it.
Tinsel, angel hair and other stringy decorations are very real hazards for us from injuries to the mouth and throat, choking, blockages in the gut and even perforated intestines.
A few tips:
- Give glass a miss and go shatterproof. Your pet and vet will thank you
- Avoid tinsel, angel hair and other string-based decorations - they go in far easier than they come out - trust me
- Arrange spinning / flickering toys further up the tree - you’re less likely to experience the sound of a tree crashing to the ground
- TOP TIP: When we’re getting enthusiastic around the tree, distract us with some high quality engaged play - I’m very partial to the swish of a feather wand or chasing a spring down a hallway
Feline Festive Feast aka Christmas Food + Drinks
Now, I'm known for my rather splendid seasonal appetite, and whilst you restrict me (far more than is fair or decent) from putting my nose into all these festive delights.
I still can’t help but feel a thrill when I swipe a bacon wrapped sausage.
NOTE: I know you don’t feel the same way when you have to deal with the consequences of me eating said sausages.
With my superior intellect (and 2 years of misadventure) I have discovered there are some things that need a no-swipe-rule.
Any form of chocolate. You humans seemingly eat your body weight in chocolate at this time of year, but to us it is dangerous, and can even be lethal.
Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine - they’re not just on the naughty list, but the nasty list. Please don’t let us get our paws on it.
Stuffing is also hazardous to our health. It smells a-ma-zing BUT it contains onions and garlic which are highly toxic to us (just like leeks, shallots and chives).
Also on the nasty list are grapes and most forms of dried fruit.
Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and even mince pies are toxic to us if we lick, chew or eat them.
Oh, and if you are going to give us a bit of turkey or chicken (and human, I firmly expect to get some) please remove all the bones.
Even the little ones can hurt our mouths and damage our digestive tracts.
And on behalf of my sister Crumpet PLEASE remove all trussing strings around meat and turkey. All we can smell is the meat and we don't see the string.
One minute it’s holding the meat together, the next it’s disappearing into the "pit of despair" before another trip to the V.E.T.
And finally, please keep alcohol far away from us. If we see a bowl of brandy butter, or a glass of whisky cream liqueur, we may not be able to help ourselves.
Alcohol is not a friend of felines.
A few tips:
- Cover all food-stuffs with cat impenetrable shields (aka netting tents or other suitable coverings)
- Ensure meat treats from leftovers do not contain any seasoning or have been in contact with other foods e.g. gravy / stuffing / onions etc.
- Avoid over-feeding and over-treating - we need to stay lithe and athletic
- TOP TIP: When you’re eating, distract us with puzzle games / food mazes / activity boards - all with cat-formulated food and treats
Santa’s Salad aka Christmas Plants
Christmas wouldn't be complete without the appearance of a multitude of new salads (plants) in the house. I personally enjoy checking each one out with a good sniff, paw scratch to the soil and a bit of a chew to test the texture.
But some of these Christmas salads should be kept far out of our reach.
Lilies, mistletoe, ivy and holly are not just toxic, they are deadly. Ditto poinsettia and amaryllis plants.
They draw us in with their beauty but they are highly poisonous.
Please keep us safe. You can find a helpful list of what to avoid here.
Fancy Dress aka Christmas Clothing
Whilst I personally don’t mind a new bow tie collar for this time of year, I really don’t like being dressed up in any form of clothing (this picture says it all).
I think the same can be said for most of my fellow felines.
I know it can be fun - I chortled when you put Crumpet in a pink pullover. BUT I was also delighted that she bit you, and made you take it off after less than 60 seconds.
You see we have glorious coats of our own.
We don’t need anything to enhance our beauty and splendour.
Or to keep us warm.
We were born Instagram-ready.
When you force us to wear clothes, outfits, hats and other things that we really don’t want to, it's not just physical discomfort you're causing but mental stress and anxiety.
And although we look adorable, putting clothes on us can be dangerous. It can impede and restrict our natural movement putting us in real peril.
We love running, leaping, pivoting in mid air and if we can’t move the way we are supposed to, we can hurt ourselves.
There are only a few items of clothing we should wear, and they come with direction from a V.E.T. (e.g. to help protect a wound) so please choose wisely if you are thinking of putting us in a Christmas outfit.
I know I sound grumpy, but whether we are snoozing or sprinting, we really are magnificent just as we are.
I’m starting to get sleepy, and I have my eye on the heated cat bed which I must possess before Crumpet steals it, so I will leave you with this final note.
I know you’re going to be busier, more distracted than usual.
I know the house is going to be filled with new people.
But please don’t forget that this is our home too.
We still need our own quiet little spaces.
Somewhere safe to escape all the noise.
And no matter how busy you get.
We still need your attention and love.
Head strokes. Tummy tickles. Chin rubs.
Now that I've gone to all this effort, please share my wise words far and wide - we need all humans to keep their felines safe.
Yours with magnificence,