Saturday, December 17, 2011

Do You Need to Pet-Proof Chanukah?

There are a lot of articles and blog posts circulating right now about pet-proofing your home for Christmas. It got me to wondering: for those of us who observe a different holiday, is there any need for concern?

Turns out there are a few things folks can consider when preparing for the Festival of Lights.

1.  Trade in your Hanukkiah for an electric model

photo courtesy CarbonNYC on flickr
I love the warm glow of real candles and have a nice collection of hanukkiahs (the 9-branch Chanukah menorah). So for me, swapping out for the electric version is difficult. It feels somehow...tacky.

But I now have three very active cats (two of them barely out of kittenhood). One of them in particular (that would be you, Faraday) does a passing impression of Tarzan, and the fire hazard is just too great.

So I'll be screwing in a new electric bulb each of the eight nights instead of lighting up all over the house.

When Ryker was alive, it wasn't such a big deal; he was a laid-back kind of a guy and just so long as I blew out the hanukkiahs before leaving the family room each evening, all was well.

But for those of you who know my herd on twitter....nah. Not a chance I'm willing to take!

2.  What is it with cats and cords?

This goes for both the Christmas tree and the Chanukah menorah: some kitties just can't resist gnawing on those cords. If your fur-kids indulge, you might want to invest in a bottle of bitter apple. Cats find its taste to be unpalatable so it works nicely as a deterrent. Though the best solution might be to consider purchasing cords that shut off if damaged.

3.  Tinsel: it's not just for Christmas any more.

Chanukah is considered to be pretty kid-centric and as such, there are many sites that sell - yes - Chanukah garland.

Those metallic little dreidels and magen davids are just cat-nomming (and choking) size.

If you plan to decorate with tinselly garland, make sure it's out of reach of your four-legged tree-swingers, too.

4.  All that glitters is not gold...but it is nommy!

One of the most iconic traditions of Chanukah is the game Spin the Dreidel. The game, which dates back to the 17th century, was used as both tradition and teaching tool for children - especially if there was money involved!

In 1920's America, the tradition of giving gelt (Yiddish for "money") took a delicious turn. Now, kids everywhere vie for shiny, foil-wrapped pieces of chocolatey goodness in the shape of coins. 

Unforunately, chocolate is not good for kitties. And of course, shiny as they are, they can become kitty magnets. The gelt strewn about my home in various candy dishes will probably get a boost - up out of the way of enterprising paws - this year.

5.  Kittens do not make good Chanukah gifts either.

photo courtesy exfordy on flickr
A fellow blogger recently posted about the sad trend that occurs at this time of year: giving kittens and puppies as Christmas gifts. I would imagine that trend pops up at Chanukah time, too.

Pets should never, ever EVER be an impulse purchase, and the person on the receiving end of such a gift really needs to be involved, as this involves not only the personality of the person receiving the pet but the personality of the animal itself. 

This is so important that the ASPCA recently instituted a program called Meet Your Match, which assesses the personalities of both person and cat and attempts to guide adopters into finding the perfect match for them.

That's it for my Top 5 for Chanukah-proofing your home. No matter what holiday you celebrate, may it be merry...and safe...this year.


  1. This is a GREAT post with lots of good tips. Yes, I can see that those chocolate coins would be a HUGE kitty draw! We have had some unfortunate tinsel incidents over the years.

    Your pal, Pip

    P.S.: Allie is featured in my Occupy Couch post today.

  2. Great tips! Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is an awesome post - I shared it with my Facebook fans!

  4. Thanks for reminding us to be safe this holiday!!

  5. We can't decorate at all. There's no place out of reach from the meezer boy's trouble-making. EK spoils everything!

  6. Yay for addressing & Pets & Chanukah. That's Rad! Will be sharing this thru Triberr. Just wanted to tell you here, cuz ChazztheDog & I are both Jewish. BOL

  7. Some great tips, thanks! Happy Chanukah to you all and remember kitties, if it dangles, it's not always safe to dingle ;)

  8. fanks you all for the kind words! Sometimes Mommy writes stuff that's not too bad (though if she'd just switch over to tuna-flavored gelt there would be one less thing for her to worry about, that's what WE think!!)

  9. Mama thinks this is a great post! Kitties should be kept safe no matter what holiday is being celebrated.

  10. Decorating for any holidays can be tricky with pets or kids!

  11. Good tips. Happy Hanukkah! We'll be posting our Hanukkah Hazards post with a funny pic of our menorah tomorrow.

  12. Layla, we cantz wait to read it!!! Happy Hanukkah to you too!


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