Common health issues for cats over the festive period

Christmas may be an exciting time for all the family, but it can also be a time of year when cats are prone to suffering from particular health issues. Here’s what to look out for this festive period.

Tummy upsets

Tummy upsets are one of the biggest concerns for cats over Christmas, with them being exposed to a wide range of things that could end up in their mouth.

Christmas plants such as poinsettia, holly and mistletoe berries, and Christmas tree pine needles can all cause tummy problems for cats if ingested. In severe cases, they could suffer poisoning or perforation of the intestines, so it’s a good idea to make sure any festive foliage is well out of reach of your feline friend.

With an abundance of food at Christmas, there’s also the chance that a cat could eat something that might make them sick or give them diarrhoea. Keep the Christmas cake and mince pies out of reach, as raisins and sultanas are bad news for cats. Chocolates should also be kept hidden away, as even a small amount is poisonous for a cat.


While Christmas is an exciting time for most people, it can be stressful for cats, especially those that are nervous or shy. With lots of visitors coming and going, noise and flashing lights, and different smells than they’re used to, cats can quickly feel stressed by the abrupt change in their environment. If you intend to go away over Christmas, cats may also suffer from anxiety if they have to be taken to a cattery or left with a cat sitter.


Cats are curious creatures, so they are likely to want to explore anything they’ve not come across before. With more people lighting candles during the festive period, there’s an increased risk that a cat might be tempted to paw the flickering flame, ending up with burnt paw pads. Always keeps candles well out of reach of cats and never leave them unattended – as well as being a risk to a cat’s health, if a candle gets knocked over by a cat, it could be a fire hazard.

Hypothermia and frostbite

While most of us pray for a white Christmas, cats may not be so keen. Freezing temperatures and ice can be bad news for a cat, especially if it spends a lot of time outdoors. Frostbite, in particular, can affect a cat’s paw pads, tail and ears, so try to limit the amount of time your feline friend spends outside if the weather is especially cold during the festive season. Signs to look out for if frostbite and hypothermia are an issue include:

  • Pale skin
    • Cold or brittle skin
    • Skin blistering
    • In severe cases, the skin may darken.

Because of the health risks that can affect cats during the festive period, it’s a good idea to make sure that you have pet insurance policy on your feline friend. Try a company like Petsure for example. And lastly, make sure you contact a vet immediately if you are concerned about your cat’s health.