Cat vs. Christmas Tree

If you have a curious cat and you’ve tried to set up a Christmas tree, you’ve likely realized that those two don’t mix. Whether you’ve had trees crash down, broken ornaments or sick cats, we know that holiday decorating can wreak havoc on your cat’s home life – and yours. This can lead to some creative (or crazy) solutions to try to keep the tree up and the cat away (check out some funny photos of this over at Bored Panda).

So in an attempt to help make your holidays a little brighter, and your cats a little calmer, we present:

Animal Clinic of Woodruff’s Tips for a Cat-Friendly Christmas Tree:

  1. Secure the tree. If there’s any chance your cat will climb up or jump onto the tree, you’ll want to ensure it won’t fall over. Attach the tree to the wall (use wire to secure to a hook) and make sure the base is sturdy. It’s also a good idea to set the tree up away from couches, chairs or other launching pads for jumping cats.
  2. Cover the water. If you have a live tree, you’ll need to cover up the water in the base so that your cat doesn’t drink it. This water can make cats sick. Cover it with a secured tree skirt, or stack gifts or decorations against it to ensure your cat won’t be tempted to drink (dog owners should do this as well).
  3. Don’t decorate with harmful materials or plants. Cats are often attracted to shiny decorations and colorful new plants, but some of these can be harmful or fatal if swallowed. Avoid decorating with tinsel and fake snow, and do not put out real mistletoe, holly or poinsettias.
  4. Hang lights inside the tree and supervise when lights are on. Wrap light cords around the trunk, if possible, and not loose near the edges of the tree. Do not loosely string lights over mantels or doorways. Cats often try to chew on light cords, which can cause shock or other injuries. Supervise your cat when Christmas lights are on, and turn the lights off when you can’t be there to watch.
  5. Consider repellants. If your cat insists on getting into the tree, make it less attractive by wrapping the bottom of the trunk in aluminum foil (a texture most cats hate), or by giving it a strong smell (citrus works well). If that doesn’t work, use child gates or closed doors to prevent cats from getting into the tree’s room at all during the season.
  6. Put valuables up high. Hang your most fragile or valuable ornaments near the top of the tree, where your cat is less likely to be able to reach them. This advice goes for all décor, including candles – only put them out of reach of cats.

If you prefer to be more proactive, you can also work on disciplining your cats. If they get near the tree, spray them with a water bottle as a deterrent. For positive reinforcement, get a fun new toy or set up the scratching post near the tree, so cats have something more fun to play with than the new tree.

In general, taking a few precautions can help prevent major disasters this Christmas. After all, holidays are for the whole family, so take the steps to ensure even your furry family members can enjoy the season.

And if your pet does eat something strange, call and make an appointment with the friendly and understanding vets at Animal Clinic of Woodruff.

Posted in Pet Behavior

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