Are you wondering about how to cat-proof your Christmas tree this year? Here are tips to help you enjoy Christmas safely with your cat.
I am a freelance writer on all things related to pets and have studied cat and dog behavior to understand their lives better.
Cats have been in my life since I was young, and they have tried to climb the Christmas tree every year.
Christmas is a beautiful time. Lights surround people in this dark time of the year. Presents and meeting loved ones to top the list.
I have collated my best tips on how to cat-proof your Christmas tree in this post.
- Choosing your tree and place
- Decorations and safety
- Why do cats love Christmas trees so much
- Alternatives to cat lovers
- Other Chrismas and Cat related tips
Other cat owners have told me they will skip the tree this year as the cat destroys everything and causes mess at home. My reply always is:
“Having a cat at home does not mean that you can not have a Christmas tree. The trick is how to cat-proof your Christmas tree!”
Choosing your tree
How to cat-proof your Christmas tree by the type of tree you choose.
When considering a real tree, there are a few things to know:
- Pine needles- if eaten, can cause an allergic reaction to your cat. Also, their sharp ends might damage your cat’s digestive system when swallowed.
- Tree sap is highly toxic to cats and might induce vomiting if eaten.
- This type of tree will not drop needles, so fewer safety issues with your cat or any other pet eating them. Also, this might help with cats wanting to scratch the tree’s body.
- Cats love to climb trees in nature, so they might be inclined to do the same with your Christmas tree. Choose a shorter, slimmer tree where the cat would have difficulty going between branches.
- Cats like high places, so a smaller tree might deter them from getting high, and they will choose a higher spot in your home.
Cats are known to like to be in the highest place in the room to observe. Where possible, place a cat tower across the room from the Christmas tree. It might just be the thing for your cat to be high up and content with it.
Where to place Christmas tree
How to cat-proof your Christmas tree by the location you choose.
Whether it is a natural or artificial Christmas tree, your cat will be curious about it.
If you have a room where the cat has no access, place the tree there. Your Christmas tree will not need special attention. And you will not need to cat-proof your Christmas tree.
If, however, this is not possible. Consider the safety features below:
- The base of the tree
Make sure the leg is stable by putting weight on it. This can be anything heavy you have in your home, like a bag of compost, rice, or cement.
If you have your Christmas tree in the water bucket, make sure to cover the water as this can be toxic to cats from tree sap and any chemicals added for the tree to be green longer. A sheet of foil will typically do the trick.
- Top and Sides
Use fishing wire and small hock to secure the treetop to the ceiling or wall. This will help the tree not fall if the cat gets on it.
- No squeezing
Some cats will give up if it is difficult to access the tree. You can put baskets of fake presents surrounding the tree, deterring your cat from squeezing in between the branches to access the middle of the tree.
Cats might lunge into Christmas trees from shelves or cat towers, so place your tree away from high places your cat can access.
How to cat-proof your Christmas tree decorations.
Choose your decorations made from plastic, wood, polystyrene, wicker, or fabric. Simply that glass or ceramic is easily broken and might injure your cat or you when walking barefoot.
- Choke hazard
If your cat decides to play with your decorations, make sure that small parts can not be swallowed. Wool is one of the things, which can present danger. It catches your cat’s tongue quickly and can be eaten and cause digestive system problems.
- Avoid tinsel
Cats love shiny things as the light reflects. Some cats are also known to eat these, significantly harming their digestive system.
- Avoid low-hanging decorations
Our cat will take it as an invitation to play. Instead, try to hang cinnamon sticks, bags of ground pepper, orange, or lemon peels, as some cats dislike the smell of these.
- Avoid fluffy or toylike ornaments, as cats will take a liking to these.
- Add cat bells to your tree.
This will notify you if your cat has decided to play with the tree. Works with children as well.
It would be best if you never left a candle unattended. Cats do not like the heat, but the fire will spread if the tree has fallen.
- Christmas lights
Cats are attracted to shining, flashing lights and chew on the wires. Where possible, hand your lights where the cat can not reach them.
- Fake snow
This might be very toxic for your cat when eaten. If sprayed, make sure your cat has no access to it.
Some owners have had success with Bitter Lemon. Spray this on the tree before going to bed and once more in the morning. Our cat might think twice before playing in the tree.
In my experience, older cats do not care about destroying your Christmas tree. Tiny kittens and active cats are more prone to be curious and explorative.
Now give your best shot on cat-proof your Christmas tree this year.
Alternative solutions for cat lovers
Use these, and you might not need to cat-proof your Christmas tree at all.
- Why not plant a Christmas tree and decorate it outside? Your indoor cat will be able to admire it from a window—also, no pine needles indoors or taking your time to find a Christmas tree every year.
- Instead of a tree, why not stack up wrapped-up cardboard boxes in a tree form. Cats love boxes, and now they will play in a Box Christmas tree.
- Decorate Cat Tower by placing presents and paper decorations around.
Not that you have cat-proof your Christmas tree. What else should owners know about Cats and Christmas?
Holiday Foods and Drinks
There are certain foods we like to indulge at Christmas time. Some are not suitable for your cat.
Chocolate, sugary foods, and even turkey (if made with garlic) can be toxic to your cat.
See our article What can cats not eat, for more foods bad for your cats, and why.
Alcoholic drinks, including Egg Nog, are bad for your cat as these are dangerous for your cat’s life if consumed.
The safest bet is to keep your cat away from the table at all times and make sure they have plenty of their food available.
When going to bed, store or cover up all foods left on the counter.
There are plants and flowers toxic to cats. A few of our holiday favorites make a list, too, like Holy, Misletoy, Poinsettiato, to name a few.
See ASPSA.org article of plants poisonous for cats.
We all have seen cute outfits on cats on the web. However, this can be very stressful to a cat, which is not used to this. By forcing reindeer antlers or Christmas hats on them can get upset and scratch and bite.
Cats have excellent hearing, and loud noises like music and fireworks might stress them out. Your cat must have a safe, quiet place to hideaway. If you are having a party in your house, make sure that the cat does not get startled and run out on the street.
Whether your cat is shy or friendly, they all love their routine.
If you are hosting a party, some ground rules need to be set:
- Have a safe place for your cat. Preferably a room where they are undisturbed.
They might like to mingle for a bit, but it’s good to have a place to rest when they have had enough. Provide white noise and maybe a Calming supplement to make them feel at home. Close the door if necessary.
- Santa is at the door– If you like, you can train your cat to love your guests. Provide cat treats upon arrival, so your cats see that humans are good.
- Do not touch– some guests will want to pet your cat, but all cats love attention on their terms. Speak to your gest only to touch your cats if they approach first and give them treats.
It is up to you how to cat-proof your Christmas tree this year. Be aware that cats are curious and want to explore the new shiny, sparkly Christmas tree in their home. Luckily these tips will help you to design your perfect cat-proof Christmas tree you both can enjoy.
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