Does your cat love to swing around the Christmas tree no matter how many times you say no?
Do they destroy the halls as soon as you decorate them with festive branches?
And do you often find your silent night destroyed when ornaments hit the floor?
Protecting kittens and trees from each other can be a little trick, as cats love Christmas trees. You can’t help but think that this majesty of branches, lights and twinkling balls is meant just for you. After all, cats in the wild climb trees and scratch their trunks to keep their claws in shape. They also love to hunt the animals that call trees home. So when you come into the house, natural instincts take hold. Much to human chagrin.
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From tree water to ornaments, Christmas trees can be dangerous for cats. Only the tree itself can prove dangerous. Pine, fir and spruce trees are often the preferred choices for vacation enjoyment, but the sap from these Christmas trees can be toxic to cats and cause stomach problems such as “vomiting, cramps, drooling and diarrhea” according to Falls Village Veterinary Hospital.
Eating sharp needles can also be painful and even pierce delicate tissues. An artificial tree can help avoid the sap toxicity problem, but keep in mind that artificial trees also pose a risk. Eating fake needles made from chemicals can also lead to an upset stomach. The best thing you can do when it comes to curious cats and Christmas trees is to keep an eye on things and take steps to keep this holiday tradition safe for your kitten!
From base to star, hidden dangers
Keep the base of your Christmas tree locked away from your cats. The water in the base can make cats sick if tree sap seeps into the water. And since it’s not a bowl that is cleaned on a daily basis, the water can create other contaminants that can potentially be harmful to cats. To keep cats away from Christmas tree water, cover the base with metal mesh, tape, or try an artificial tree.
Dr. Jamie Richardson, Chief Medical Officer at Small Door Veterinary, also warns, “Do not use chemical Christmas tree extenders in the water as they can also be toxic to cats.”
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Twinkling lights attract everyone to tree viewing, including the cat! But the lights are an electric shock hazard to cats. Biting or scratching the light cables or lightbulbs can result in bumps or burns. When decorating, fairy lights pull tightly into the tree so that a tempting sheet of light doesn’t attract your cat’s attention. Keep the cords away from the tree that are out of Kitty’s reach. Another option is to cover them with cable covers.
Shiny ornaments could just as easily be cat toys if you ask the cats. Regardless of whether you scrape them off the tree or fall over, broken ornaments will find blowpaws. If swallowed, these broken parts can cause internal injury. Stick to shatterproof and non-breakable ornaments for your tree. Also, avoid hanging ornaments on the lower branches.
Dr. Richardson suggests skipping tinsel altogether, as these wire-attached fragments of foil can cause internal blockages if swallowed. These blockages are painful and can lead to infections. Try a ribbon instead of tempting tinsel garlands.
@ miluna.thebirmancat / Instagram
Some cats ignore a Christmas tree altogether, but there are many cats who feel that the tree is the perfect opportunity to practice climbing skills. However, this often leads to catastrophic falls that can injure your cat.
“Cats are often tempted to climb Christmas trees because they love high perches. However, a tree that is not tied could easily fall over and injure them, ”explains Dr. Richardson. “The same applies if the cat is tempted to use the tree as a scratching post.”
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How can you stop a cat from climbing a Christmas tree? Or just play around with it?
Patience and trickery!
Tips to keep cats away from the Christmas tree
Secure the tree
Pam Johnson-Bennett, an expert on cat behavior, suggests placing your tree in a room where your cat cannot access it. However, if that is not possible, then place the tree near something to anchor it to. For example, if there is a large picture on the wall, remove it and place the tree in that place. Secure the tree to the wall with a fishing line and an eye bolt. “
If the tree still feels wobbly, secure it low down as well. Johnson-Bennett also recommends: “Invest in a heavy-duty tree stand. Pick one that can easily handle the weight and height of the tree, even if a determined cat tries to scale it. “
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Create a perimeter
Setting up a barrier to keep cats out of the Christmas tree can help in this holiday battle of wills. Baby gates and pet barriers offer great solutions. Or you can find cute holiday-themed fences to keep your tree safe from the cat. For a double layer, lay out a booby trap made of double-sided tape. Make sure it’s not sticky enough to harm delicate cat paws but has enough glue to offend their sensitivity.
Or try a barrier made of oranges or orange peel while cats are repelled by citrus smells. A tangerine barrier thwarted Lord Victor Fluffypaw.
@ Spooksieboo / Instagram
Put your tree on a platform or table so that kittens cannot reach it. If you want to mix up the tradition, head over to the craft and decoration websites for inspiration from unique Christmas tree displays that can be cat friendly too. Bored Panda also has a gallery of fun solutions for manipulating Christmas trees.
Distract cats’ attention
Distraction always works well for cats because they do better with positive reinforcement. Try fun toys, catnip, and treats to draw the naughty cats’ attention away from the Christmas tree. Hugs and kisses might work too!
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We wish you and the cats a safe and happy Christmas season!
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H / T: www.catster.com
Feature Image: @ withallofherheart / Instagram & @ spooksieboo / Instagram