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 and cause life-threatening problems for your furry friend. What’s more, whilst just one leftover slice of turkey may not seem excessive to us humans, for a cat this could be a significant number of extra calories and affect the balance of the rest of their nutrition plan.

To treat or not to treat?

Your cat may display behaviour that leads you to think they are begging for food, but often all they are looking for is your love and attention, not a portion of your festive dish. They may be just as happy with a groom or some play. Feeding your cat scraps from the table could have an adverse effect on their health, so don't be afraid to also ask well-meaning guests not to feed from the table or to give your cat unhelpful treats.

Some foods can be toxic to cats

One example of a food to avoid feeding your cat is onions, which contain compounds that can cause a potentially life-threatening form of anaemia.  This includes gravy or sauces that may also contain onions. Other foods to watch out for that are potentially harmful to cats include grapes and their dried fruits (raisins, sultanas, currants etc), which your mince pies, christmas puddings, christmas cakes and other festive treats may contain.  Anecdotal reports of poisoning from these fruits exist in cats, which could result in kidney failure.

If you are concerned that your cat has eaten something which may be harmful to them, contacting your vet for advice without delay is recommended.

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 them with unhealthy snacks over Christmas will help them to gain excess weight which may increase their risk of developing serious health conditions such as diabetes.

In addition, with more people than usual around the house, Christmas can actually be quite stressful for cats. To minimise disruption, stick to routines and continue feeding precisely-balanced nutrition like Hill's Science Plan.  Using some of their Hill's Science Plan kibbles from their daily ration is just as much of a treat, and much better for them. You can also combine the wet and dry versions of their Hill’s Science Plan food or even use different flavours if you so wish. However, do consult the feeding guide for guidance on recommended daily feeding amounts and make any changes gradually. The Hill's Science Plan range has delicious tasting varieties that are scientifically-developed for the specific needs of healthy pets. And if your cat doesn't love the taste, we'll give you your money back!

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