A Cat-Proof Christmas
It’s almost Christmas, and everyone's feeling festive. You get into the spirit, put up your Christmas tree, and spend the afternoon decorating it to near perfection. Then, just as you sit down with a glass of mulled wine to admire your beautiful work, your cat enters the room. Any experienced pet owner can tell you that the odds of that tree meeting the floor within minutes are quite high. Cat's are notoriously mischievous when it comes to Christmas trees.
Kitties have an intense curiosity towards anything new in their home. A big tree with flashing lights and shiny objects is guaranteed to spark their interest. Your feline is likely to see the Christmas tree as what can only be likened to one big cat toy.
However, this doesn’t mean that your days of decor are behind you. There are ways you can ensure your kitty and the tree coexist in peace for the entirety of the festive season.
Which is best - Real or Artificial?
We recommend choosing a faux tree over a real one, especially if your fur baby likes to chew things. The sharp pine needles on a real Christmas tree pose a real danger to cats if chewed or ingested. If your cat swallows them, they could pierce or puncture their throat or internal organs. Cat's are still capable of gnawing at an artificial tree but the likelihood of anything detaching or getting ingested is much lower.
9 ways to cat-proof your Christmas tree this year
Here are our tried and true ways to deter a cat from a Christmas tree. Depending on your cat, some methods may or may not work, so try them all until you find the most successful combo for your household.
1.Opt for a smaller tree
If your cat knocks a small tree down, it will cause less havoc and mess than a larger one. Moreover, it’s a safer option as a small tree won’t hurt your kitty if it falls on them. Something larger or even as heavy as a real tree if you decide to get one can potentially injure or trap your kitty if it tips over.
2.Place the tree away from furniture
You want to make it difficult for your cat to climb the tree. Therefore, place it as far away from furniture as possible so your cat cannot jump onto the tree from something like a sofa, table, or a bookshelf.
Also, consider placing your tree on a higher surface, such as a table. This may help if you have a very young kitten or even a senior with limited mobility, they won't be able to jump high enough to access the tree.
3.Anchor down the base
Ensure your tree has a sturdy and stable base. If not, you can add weighted objects to anchor it down. This will prevent the tree from toppling over if your cat climbs it and give more stability. You can also wire it to the wall to help keep it upright (This is an excellent option for cats who are especially aggressive towards the tree).
4.Avoid decorating the bottom of the tree
Hanging shiny ornaments on the bottom of the tree increases temptation and the likelihood of your cat engaging in destructive behaviors. As your cat is less likely to reach the higher parts of the tree, it’s best to place most, if not all decorations on the top two thirds.
You can also choose to hang matt objects from the tree rather than shiny, sparkly decorations that will glisten and catch your kitty’s eye. Ornaments made from felt or paper may be less appealing, though that’s not the case with all felines.
5.Wire the ornaments to the tree
As well as wiring the tree to the wall, you can tie the decorations to the branches using hanging wire. This technique will keep them in place, reducing the number of shattered ornaments if they take the whole thing down. Use metal wire instead of string or rubber bands as your kitty can easily chew these off and potentially eat them. Be sure to cut or tuck any sharp ends of the metal to avoid injury.
6.Find an alternative to tinsel
Along with rubber bands, ribbons, and string, tinsel can be hazardous to cats. Eating it could cause your kitty to choke or block their intestines and, therefore, can be life-threatening. Paper garland makes for a safer alternative. Additionally, you can add light wood or felt decorations.
It’s important to note that fake snow can contain dangerous ingredients too. Moreover, remember chocolate and many houseplants, including mistletoe and poinsettias, are also toxic and can result in poisoning. For this reason, it's best to avoid these items when decorating a tree for a cat household.
7.Cover all wires
Be mindful if you set up lights on your tree. Place them towards the center, so they are more difficult for your kitty to reach. Then use a cord protector to cover the visible wire from the tree to the wall socket. You can also use tape to hide and cover the cables.
Furthermore, do not leave the lights plugged in when your cat is alone in the room. Some felines will continue to try to chew the wires despite these precautions. If your kitty won’t leave them alone, it’s best to remove them than risk any chance of a shock.
8.Spray the tree with a scent your cat dislikes
There are certain smells that cats hate, such as orange or bitter apple. You can spray the tree with apple cider vinegar or place orange rinds beneath the tree to keep your kitty away. A mixture of citronella and water will also do the job, or you can even buy a cat deterrent from a pet store.
9.Use a spray bottle to deter your kitty
Suppose these preventative measures prove unsuccessful, and your fur baby is determined to be destructive. In that case, you can always use the classic spray bottle method.
Whenever your kitty goes towards the tree, spritz them with water. Keep this up, and fingers crossed, your feline will get the message to stay clear.
Keep calm, it’s Christmas!Cat-proofing your Christmas tree is not the most straightforward task. But, if it means you can enjoy the festive season without the tree pulled down, chewed, and destroyed, making an effort is totally worth it!
However, if your cat does climb the tree, try not to fret. Remember, our feline friends are just following their curiosity and not intending to cause harm. It’s all part of the crazy experience of living with cats!