Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Trees Can Be Deadly

It was my last pet sitting visit of the year. Saturday night, December 31, 2011. This client of almost four years has a dog and three cats. I went in, turned off the alarm, let the dog out and started to prepare the cats dinner when I noticed the oldest cat, Allie, age 19, did not appear in the kitchen with the others like usual. I went looking for her and was horrified to find her hanging upside down by her waist in the Christmas tree. She first appeared lifeless. She was so entangled in the lights that I frantically untangled them from around her back legs and waist and discovered one around her waist was so tight I couldn't get it off so I ran and got the scissors and cut it off and lowered her gently down to the floor. She meowed a pitiful weak meow. She was still alive. I don't know how long she had been like that. My previous visit was early that morning and now it was twelve hours later. She had probably been like that for hours. She got up after a just a minute or so and tried to walk but had no use of her back end. She drug herself to the litter box and laid in it. Of course I called my client who was due to return the following afternoon. After being treated at the emergency clinic, she ended up passing away peacefully at home the following evening, New Year's Day. 

The sad thing is that my client told me she had intended to take down the Christmas tree before going out of town. But she had lots of errands to do before leaving and didn't get around to it. Of course now she feels horrible for not doing so. So remember: If you are going out of town for the holidays and you have pets, take down the tree! The risk of leaving it up is not worth it. When an animal gets caught in something and can't get loose, they panic and make it worse. Even a nineteen-year-old cat finds a Christmas tree irresistible to climb. Christmas trees can be deadly for pets!

Rest in peace sweet Miss Allie. You will be greatly missed.