Saint Patrick’s Day Safety Tips For You & Your Cat

cat with green bow tie for saint patrick's day
Have a safe Saint Patrick’s Day! (Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Shamrocks, parades, pots o’ gold, green beer — Saint Patrick’s Day is a great way to welcome spring and celebrate one of Ireland’s most revered saints.

But there are a few hazards all cat parents should keep in mind before heading out to their Saint Paddy’s Day festivities — and we aren’t just talking about leprechauns.

Make sure you keep your cat safe on Saint Patrick’s Day with these tips!

Keep The Corned Beef & Salty, Fatty Food Out Of Reach

Sure, you and the rest of the fam might be saying, “Erin go Bragh!” over a heaping plate of corned beef and cabbage this Saint Patrick’s Day, but your cat probably shouldn’t indulge in that same tasty meal.

Corned beef is essentially beef brisket that’s soaked in a special salt and vinegar pickling brine before it’s cooked in a seasoned broth. Because of that special curing process, corned beef is extremely high in sodium.

While a little bit of salt likely won’t harm your kitty — depending on your cat’s size and health history — eating too much salty food in one sitting can cause sodium ion poisoning.

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, salt toxicity can be life threatening to cats, dogs, horses, cows, and birds. Eating too much salt may result in vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, excessive thirst or urination, increased fluid retention, kidney damage, seizures, coma, or even death.

Avoid The Garlic & Onions

The broth used to cook corned beef also contains quite a bit of garlic, and many people cook the beef and cabbage with boiled onions. While those ingredients might infuse the meat with a lot of flavor, garlic and onions can be poisonous to both cats and dogs.

Garlic, onions, chives, and leeks are members of the Allium plant family, which, if ingested by a cat or dog in a high enough amount, can cause nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and an elevated heart rate and respiratory rate.

Cats and Japanese breeds of dogs, such as the Shiba Inu and Akita, are especially sensitive to garlic and onion toxicity.

Too Much Fat

Finally, corned beef is quite high in fat compared to what your pet is likely used to eating, so sharing your Saint Paddy’s Day dinner with your four-legged friend could give them some serious stomach issues.

Foods high in fat can cause bacterial overgrowth in your pet’s digestive system, which often results in diarrhea and vomiting.

But frequent feeding of fatty foods like corned beef can also cause a more serious condition called pancreatitis, a mild to severe swelling of the pancreas. Pets suffering from pancreatitis often require hospitalization, long-term medication, and diet restrictions.

Avoid Letting Your Cat Eat Soda Bread Or Uncooked Dough

Woman preparing delicious pizza with her sweet cat. Home made concept.
(Picture Credit: santypan/Getty Images)

Soda bread is a common Saint Patrick’s Day treat for humans, but keep that mouthwatering loaf away from your kitty.

If you’ve decided to spend your Saint Paddy’s Day baking your own tasty soda bread in the kitchen instead of hunting for four-leaf clovers in your backyard, make sure you keep that uncooked bread dough out of your cat’s reach.

When a pet eats bread dough, the dough doesn’t just sit there in the animal’s stomach — it expands.

As the ball of eaten dough gets bigger and bigger, it can result in a bloated stomach or even a life-threatening condition called gastric-dilatation volvulus (GDV), where the pet’s stomach twists and cuts off blood supply to vital organs.

A loaf of soda bread also contains raisins or dried currants, which are poisonous to dogs and, in some reports, cats and even ferrets. Eating even a few of these varieties of dried grapes has the potential to cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, dehydration, and, in the worst cases of toxicity, acute renal failure.

Do NOT Let Kitty Sip Guinness Or Any Alcohol

Saint Patrick’s Day revelers are often in high-spirits thanks, at least in part, to spirits of another kind. Alcohol consumption and Saint Paddy’s Day go hand-in-hand for many people, but pets and booze do not mix.

Pets who swill the same whiskey, beer, and other alcoholic beverages as their humans this Saint Paddy’s Day are at risk of some serious health issues, and may even die as a result of consuming alcohol.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in pets include excessive drooling, vomiting, gagging, signs of depression, lack of coordination or stumbling, distended stomach, seizures, sudden dips in blood glucose levels, and slowed reflexes.

Hops, one of the main ingredients in beer, can prove toxic to dogs and cats alike. Ingesting enough hops can cause elevated body temperature, a racing heartbeat, vomiting, increased respiratory rate, abnormal blood clotting, and in the most severe cases, even death. Small animals like cats are extremely susceptible to this.

If there will be open alcohol at your celebration, put your cat away in a safe, quiet room until the partying is over and you’ve had a chance to clean up.

Keep Your Cat Away From The Humans Who Drink, Too

St. Patrick's day cat with beer
(Picture Credit: Viatcheslav/Getty Images)

Let’s face it. People are not well-coordinated after a few drinks, and some of them feel a little more affectionate with some liquid courage in their bellies. That can be a recipe for disaster when pets are involved.

Parties may not be as large as some years with the pandemic still ongoing. But some may choose to gather with the people who live in their home or with friends who’ve received the vaccine already. Remember to keep wearing your mask, and social distance, just to be safe!

Your guests and friends might want to give your kitty all the pets in their inebriated state. But again, it’s probably best to let your cat stay in a safe room away from the action.

You never know if a well-meaning, clumsy celebrator will accidentally cause harm. Someone might trip over your furry family member and injure them. No one wants that.

Put kitty away with some water and nice music playing, and let them relax. This is a holiday mostly for humans anyway. Your cat won’t be missing out on anything.

Now that you know the facts, have a happy and safe Saint Patrick’s Day! Luck o’ the Irish to you!

Do you have any tips for keeping cats safe on Saint Patrick’s Day? Are you celebrating with a feline you love? Let us know in the comments below!


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