Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Threat of a Shopping Bag

Decorating for Christmas and gift wrapping is fun for people and pets too! Adults, children and especially pets love it when you bring out boxes of decorations and pull out rolling Christmas bulbs, shiny tinsel and ribbon, and glowing strings of lights. Especially for new pet owners and those adopting puppies and kittens, there are a number of precautions to remember during the season. 1. Switch out glass bulbs for plastic bulbs. The cats, and some dogs, will knock them off the tree and shattered glass is not a shiny decoration but lethal. 2. Never leave your cat or dog unattended and alone with a Christmas tree because they can knock it down and cause a fire if lights are lit or they get mangled with all the strings of tinsel and lights...3. Ribbons, tinsel and mistletoe are capable of causing blockage in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines, so keep pets well away.

While fostering kittens, I was reminded of another danger--shopping bags.  While Figaro and Luciano, two active (gangster) kittens,  have proven their abilities as expert paper shredders,  they also enjoy playing hide-and-go-seek (more like bad cop chasing bad guy) inside paper shopping bags. What cat doesn't like cardboard boxes? Well the cousin, the paper bag, is just as appealing to a curious kitten. But beware...

One evening while diligently working at my desk, Figaro (aka Gambino) and Luciano were playing as usual in the same room I settled into for the evening.  As I focused on the computer work before me, I tuned out the tornado of fur buzzing by, above and around me, knowing they are nearby.   But then at the corner of my eye, I noticed a stop-and-go motion. Luciano attempted to dart but couldn't move. He was stuck.  It turns out Luciano looped through the handle but did not completely exit, and continued turning in circles to play, that the handle of a shopping bag was tightly twisted around his midsection.  He feverishly wiggled  like a demonized cat and complicated matters that the cord-like handle was hurting him. Luciano mewed distress. Not able to visually assess how badly he was tangled, in seconds I had to decide do I use scissors but then risk stabbing him if I can't  hold him with both hands and he jerks around, or can I calm him down and untangle his body? Fortunately he remained still as I grabbed him with both hands and untwisted his four pound lithe body from the death grip of the Macy's shopping bag handle. The entire episode lasted less than 20 seconds but to a mother it's an eternity. Thankfully my experience in solving problems under pressure from the corporate world to animal rescue helped me resolve this potential catastrophe with a clear head, calm and ease. Now all I needed was an eggnog with plenty of rum and brandy!

So this year no large Christmas tree. I'm postponing setting up the table top one until the kittens are adopted.  Or maybe I put it away in the closet every time I step out.

So have you encountered a potential holiday threat or disaster from other pretty things?


  1. I am really glad that you posted about the handles on shopping bags. I have heard the same thing. Whenever I give one to Cody I cut the handles off!

  2. Waffles Too may mean the Christmas tree takes a hiatus this season.

    Another bag related reminder is ribbon. Fun to play with, but potentially deadly. Katie knows first hand. A few years ago she had emergency surgery to remove 3 FEET of pink (yes, pink) ribbon from her intestine. It was touch and go...very scary.

    xo, GG

  3. @Katie and Glogirly. OMC--surgery? I had no idea. Poor Katie. Those pretty things can be deadly. So glad she made it through to make us laugh and smile!

  4. We never, ever both the tree, seriously. We do get the handles cut off bags and no bows or ribbon on packages. Great info!

  5. Never had a problem with a tree and at one time I had 2 cats a dog and a bunny,now I only have Speedy and for the 1st time I have decorated the den as Speedy doesn't chew stuff like that and he hasn't touched the decorations or his stock,good boy that he is

  6. The humans prefer not to have a tree (especially this year, with my little kitten sister).
    Wow, it must have scared you lots!

  7. Great reminders. Zoey got caught in a handle too - she zoomed around the house in terror and hid under the TV armoire. I was petrified something terrible was going to happen, but thank goodness I was able to get her - I had to cut the handles too...