- Keep Your Cat off the Christmas Tree with These Tips
Keep Your Cat off the Christmas Tree with These Tips
Cats and Christmas trees. They go together like…Well, they often don't really go together. Many cats like to bat at ornaments, pull things off, claw at presents underneath, and try to climb the tree. There have been many trees that came crashing down well before Christmas morning.
Luckily, there are some tips and tricks you can employ to help keep your tree standing and shining throughout the holiday season. And they keep your kitty happy too.
Dangers of Christmas for Cats
There are good reasons to keep your cat off the Christmas tree and out of the presents besides any inconvenience or ruined ornaments that might occur.
- Broken ornaments can cause cuts on cats' mouths or paws.
- Ribbon, tinsel, yarn, and string, either on the tree or as part of a present's wrappings, are all incredibly dangerous for cats. They can cause intestinal obstructions that require surgery to resolve.
- Cats can be injured if they climb a Christmas tree and it falls on them.
- Chewing on tree needles isn't healthy. They can poke your cat's mouth and may cause GI upset or toxicity if swallowed.
Tips for Keeping Your Cat off the Christmas Tree
- Spray the needles with deterrent spray.
- Shake a can of coins or clap your hands loudly when your cat attempts to chew on the tree.
- Provide an alternative, cat safe catnip or cat grass plant nearby for your cat to chew instead, and praise her when she does.
- Water the tree well while you have it, so it drops fewer needles, and get it out of the house soon after the holiday before it starts dropping tons of them.
- Remove chairs or other platforms from near the tree. These can serve as launching pads for your cat to use to jump into the tree, so get rid of as much of that temptation as you can.
- Secure the tree to the wall if possible, to make it steadier and decrease the chance of it falling if your cat does scale it.
- Place a strong, sturdy, sisal fabric-covered scratching post in the same room as the tree. This gives your cat a positive alternative to climbing or scratching at the tree. Be sure to praise your kitty for using the post, and don't put it close enough for her to use it to launch into the tree.
- If your cat is still insistent about messing with the tree, consider using one of the following deterrents:
- SSSCat System: This deterrent includes a motion detector and a spray can. When a kitty sets off the motion detector, the system sprays a burst of liquid. Most cats dislike that, and it's often enough to keep them from revisiting that spot.
- ScatMat: When a kitty steps on a ScatMat, she receives a tiny static spark, and most cats take that as a sign they shouldn't go near the mat again. You can use these for counters and other areas that are off-limits too.
- Don't keep presents under the tree. Store them in a closet or somewhere else that's unreachable by your cat. That will keep her safe from ribbons and protect your gifts until the big day.
- Don't use tinsel on the tree. Even if your cat seems to leave the tree alone, if she suddenly decides to grab some, the barbs on her tongue will pull it right down her throat, and then she'll be in danger of life-threatening intestinal obstruction.
- Take care with the cords leading from the tree's lights to the electrical outlet. Cats might be drawn to the new wire, and biting it can cause death or severe burns. Block off access to the cord if possible.
- Block off the tree's water, too, which might contain fertilizer, needles, and other dangerous chemicals or debris.
- An artificial tree might help—it could be less enticing than a real tree for your cat. However, chewing the fake needles can be dangerous, and the ornaments and tree instability can still pose dangers.
- Be sure to give your kitty enough attention and interactive play sessions during the Christmas season. A bored cat is much more likely to get into trouble, including bothering the tree, than a tired one.