Holiday decorating pet safety tips

Even pets are excited by Christmas decorations

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“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is one of the most beloved holiday comedies. But if you love cats, there’s one scene that’s something of a nightmare.

In the iconic scene, Aunt Bethany’s visiting cat drags a loose string of Christmas tree lights under an armchair. This pulls the plug from the outlet. Chevy Chase, as Clark Griswold, sees the lights on his tree are out and plugs the strand back in. A loud electrical buzz, flames, smoke and a brief cat screech come from beneath the chair.

“Please spend a little time ‘pet-proofing’ your home this holiday season,” said Jon Elkins, vice president of safety, training and compliance at Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “It can avoid a real-life pet-related accident that can also endanger your whole family.”

Wires and Cords
Christmas trees and sparkling lights are festive additions to our homes during the holidays. And your pets may want to check them all out, too.

  • Make sure the electric wires for the tree lights are secured to the branches and not loosely looped. If your kitty is a curious climber, it could become entangled in the loose cords that could burn or strangle the cat.
  • Protect the cord running from the tree to the outlet if your pet likes to chew or could become entangled in it. Most hardware stores sell flexible electrical safety cables, covers and PVC conduit. Run the cord through or under one of these items to keep it safe. Purchase a pet deterrent spray from a pet shop to coat electric cords to discourage chewing or play.
  • For tabletop displays, consider battery-powered LED lights. No power cord to an outlet is needed, and the lights stay much cooler in case there’s just no stopping your curious pet.

Electric Shock
If you suspect your pet has chewed on a power cord and been shocked, visit your veterinarian immediately. Electric shocks are life threatening and are emergencies. A pet that has chewed on an electrical cord may have a white or seared area on its tongue or lips.

As “Christmas Vacation” revealed, electrical accidents in even comedic movies don’t give our beloved felines nine chances.