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Cats and Christmas Trees – Ways to Maximize Safety & Minimize Chaos

Kitty and Christmas Tree

Tips on How to Keep Your Christmas Tree Vertical in Spite of your Kitty

Christmas — all the brightly colored packages underneath the Christmas tree.  Right, the tree. If you share your home with a cat you know “the tree” is not just “the tree.” It’s a giant scratching post with branches for climbing, a water bowl and an endless supply of dangling toys.  Some cats see a Christmas tree as the ultimate cat toy. The trouble with Christmas trees is that they present some threats to your feline. Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services would like to offer some suggestions for keeping your Christmas safe and fun for both you and your cat.

1.  Act as if your tree is no big deal.  Cats are naturally curious, so bringing a tree into your home won’t go unnoticed. Before adding all the dangly objects, let it stand for a day or two before adding decorations?  Once the newness wears off, your cat may not be so interested in holiday swatting.

2. Make your Christmas tree unappealing to your kitty.  It’s safe to assume your kitty won’t want to relive an unpleasant experience. If she has a penchant for biting pine needles or chewing branches, you may want to try a bitter spray found at most pet stores as a deterrent. Pine needles, if ingested, can cause dangerous intestinal blockages. Live trees more easily shed their needles, but the ones from artificial trees can prove just as bad.  Another way to keep your cat away from the tree is to place aluminum foil or double-sided tape on top of the tree skirt. Both are textures that many cats avoid, so they could act as effective deterrents.

3. Don’t give your kitty access to Christmas tree water,  Some cats are attracted to the water reservoir of live trees. The water could contain additives and fertilizer which could be toxic to your kitty.  Aluminum foil to the rescue again by wrapping a sheet of foil around open areas of the container. 

4. Stop your cat from knocking the Christmas tree over.  Cats with wild spirits have been known to take down entire Christmas trees. If your cat manages to topple your tree —consider tethering it to the wall, ceiling, or both. It’s a drastic move, but it will keep your tree standing.

5. Avoid mishaps with cats and tree lights.  To prevent electrocution, always unplug your tree lights when you go to bed or while you’re away from home. Sharp teeth and live electrical cords do not mix. If your kitty is known to be a cord-chewer, you may want to forget the lights altogether.

6. Just say no to tinsel.  Some of you grew up hanging tinsel from the branches of your Christmas tree.  Tinsel is a serious hazard when it comes to kitties and Christmas trees since it could cause fatal intestinal obstructions. 

7. Cat proof your ornaments.  Hang your sentimental ornaments at the top of the tree and place the sturdier ones toward the bottom. If your cat manages to knock a breakable bauble onto the floor, she may wind up eating or stepping on the broken pieces.

8. Provide kitty with a distraction from the Christmas tree.  If your cat is truly crazy for the Christmas tree, simple distractions could be an easy solution. Have special toys for the holidays or even introduce a couple of new boxes or paper bags.  Cats love both of these.  The point is surrender to the fact that you have brought in something your cat is excited about, and adjust accordingly. 

9. Make your Christmas tree difficult for your kitty to reach. You may find yourself building a barricade around the tree with baby gates. This may or may not keep your cat away from the tree. If kitty is completely determined to get her paws on the tree, bypassing all foil sheets and barricades, perhaps a door needs to stand between the cat and the tree. 

As a last resort, maybe it’s time to skip a tree and just hang a wreath on the front door instead.  That’s what we at Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services is going to do.  

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