Treat your cat for life – not just for Christmas

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Everyone likes a little treat every now and then - and especially now that Christmas is coming. Although it's tempting to give your cat scraps from the table, many popular yuletide treats can actually be dangerous. Whilst just one leftover slice of turkey may not seem excessive, for a cat this could actually be equivalent to a human eating seven slices!

Treat or not to treat?

Some cats are very good at begging for food and acting like they've not been fed for days! But all they often want is just your attention, not a portion of your festive dish. So try to groom and play with your cat instead of sharing your meal. Feeding table scraps not only encourages bad habits - and having your cat on the table, especially when you've got visitors can be very off-putting, but feeding human foods in general can have an adverse effect on your cat's health. So don't be afraid to ask well-meaning guests not to feed from the table or to give your cat the wrong kind of treats.

Some table scraps are even toxic to cats

Allowing your cat eat too much rich food or some human treats can upset their digestive system. For example, onions, garlic and certain root vegetables contain substances that can be toxic for cats and may cause a form of anaemia. Remember, it's not just the raw form of these vegetables you should avoid feeding your cat, because the gravy or sauces that cover a meal may also contain these ingredients.

Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine that is poisonous to cats. It is in the same class of drugs as caffeine and can have an effect on the nervous system, blood pressure and digestion. In addition, grapes and raisins have been found to be toxic to pets, so again should be avoided.

Although milk is not toxic to cats in general, many cats are lactose-intolerant so can suffer from vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach upsets as a result of drinking it.

The right nutrition in the right amount

We are often guilty of over-indulging on rich foods throughout the festive period, but our pets should not follow. Overfeeding your cat or treating with unhealthy snacks over Christmas will help them pile on extra pounds which can result in developing an increased risk of a serious health condition like diabetes, arthritis or heart problems.

In addition, with so many people around the house, Christmas can actually be quite stressful for cats. To minimise disruption, stick to routines as well a precisely balanced nutrition like Hill's Science Plan . A Hill's Science Plan kibble is just as much of a treat, and much better for them. You can also reward your cat by varying the food you feed, combining wet and dry food and changing the flavour from time to time. However, do keep to the recommended daily amounts. The Hill's Science Plan range has delicious tasting varieties that are specifically tailored to the individual needs of your cat. If your cat doesn't love it, we'll give you your money back - guaranteed!

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