Having a new kitten in the home is a magical time.
I adore their early innocence, and watching them explore every new environment and toy. You can end up wasting hours just watching them having fun with a feather or a toy on a string.
I feel so privileged that I am one of the first people who gets to meet every new pet in a household. There is so much that my team and I can contribute, from how often to give food, to how to train a kitten to allow its teeth to be brushed. We communicate extensively with all our new pet owners about why we vaccinate and when, how to plan a good parasite programme for their lifestyle, whether and when to neuter, getting them insured and so on.
But at this time of year I add an extra thought: a Christmas risk assessment!
I saw several gorgeous new kittens last month, and for each one, I reminded their owners that a Christmas tree looks like a climbing frame to a kitten! They adore the opportunity to test out their balancing skills by inching up from branch to branch. So I always suggest, either no tree at all, or a very secure one, or perhaps a tiny one well out of their reach. And definitely no precious breakable decorations!
And for our doggy friends, you know you cannot put a gift of chocolate under or on the tree, as chocolate can be fatally poisonous to dogs. But do your visitors and friends understand this too? Even after a glass of welcome or two, please keep an eye out for edible treats, as your pet has tremendous sniffer-dog capabilites, and can find and steal chocolate, even if it is wrapped up! We Vets do not mind a quiet Christmas when on duty, honest!
All the staff at The Mewes Vets and I would like to wish you a very Happy Christmas. We hope it is a magical and safe one for you and your pets.