The festive season brings joy, but for cat owners, it also brings the challenge of keeping their feline friends away from the Christmas tree. Cats might be tempted by shiny ornaments, which can be harmful if swallowed. So, how can one ensure a cat-friendly holiday setup?
In this article, we'll guide you on how to catproof a Christmas tree. From picking the right tree to safe decoration methods, we've got you covered. Plus, we'll share extra tips and answer common questions about making your tree cat-proof.
Let's make this holiday safe and merry for our whiskered companions!
How to Catproof Your Christmas Tree
Discover simple ways to keep your Christmas tree safe from your curious cat. Use easy tips to have a calm holiday and stop any cat-related tree accidents from happening.
Choose Christmas tree
To choose a suitable Christmas tree, keep in mind the suggestions below.
- Look for a tree like a Douglas fir or white pine: These trees have soft, flexible needles that won't get stuck in your cat's paws. Some cats might try to eat loose needles, which can make them choke or feel sick. Keep your vacuum ready while the tree is up to keep the floor clean from fallen stuff.
- Think about an artificial tree instead: Fake trees are good because they won't dry out and drop as many needles (though they might still drop a few). Plus, their branches are usually not as interesting for your cat to chew on. Avoid an aluminum tree though, because its shiny appearance would be too tempting for your cat. Remember, even with a fake tree, you'll need to make it safe for your cat, as they love climbing up high places just as much.
- Choosing a smaller tree might be better: Just imagine if your cat's playfulness causes a big, heavy tree with all the decorations to fall over. A shorter and lighter tree is less likely to hurt your cat or damage things when it falls down. And if it does fall, you'll have less to clean up afterward.
You should choose fake pine trees or pine trees with soft pine needles
Set Up the Tree
- Hold on for a moment: You might be used to putting decorations on the tree as soon as you bring it home, but it's a good idea to let your cat lose interest in the tree first. Set up the tree a few days before you start decorating it. This way, your cat can check it out and might not be as curious about it later.
- Check that the tree stands steady: Remember, cats enjoy jumping on trees, so make sure the tree is not easy to tip over. You can make the tree more stable by attaching it to a wall using some wire near the top. This will help keep the tree standing upright.
- Create a boundary around your tree: Make sure your curious cat stays on the floor by putting up something like lattice fencing, a gate made for Christmas trees, or even furniture around the bottom part of the tree. And if your cat likes to jump, put delicate old or glass ornaments and tree toppers up high where he can't reach them. You could also show them off in safe places like the fireplace mantel, shelves on a bookcase, or in a cabinet with glass doors that can be closed. Keep the tree away from tables or chairs that your cat could use to jump onto the tree.
Set up Christmas ornaments out of your cat's reach
Decorate the Tree
Focus on the upper part of the tree. Put decorations where it's harder for your cat to get them - near the top and toward the middle of the tree, not at the ends of the branches.
- Be careful with lights: Place lights closer to the middle of the tree so your cat is less likely to chew on the wires. Cover the end of the wire that goes into the wall with something to protect it. Always unplug the lights when you can't watch your cat. If your cat tries to bite the wires, it's safer to remove the lights from the tree to avoid them getting hurt.
- Attach ornaments securely: The small metal hooks usually used to hang ornaments can hurt your cat: Instead, try tying the ornaments to the tree. Make sure they're tied well so your cat can't just take them.
- Don't use tinsel: Tinsel might look nice, but it's dangerous for cats. Cats often eat tinsel, and it can make them choke or cause problems in their stomach if they swallow it. Choose other decorations like paper, wood, or vegan felt ones. These are less tempting for cats than super shiny tinsel.
- Watch out for other holiday dangers: Don't use things like real candles, small ornaments that your cat could swallow, or artificial snow (which might have harmful chemicals). Also, keep foods and plants that could be poisonous out of reach - or even better, keep them out of your home. These dangerous things include chocolate, mistletoe, lilies, cyclamen, poinsettias, and amaryllises, among others.
Watch more: How to Decorate a Christmas Tree: Tips and Ideas for Festive Home Decor.
Other Tips to Keep Cat Out of the Christmas Tree
Keeping cats away from Christmas trees can be quite a challenge, as they are naturally curious and often attracted to shiny ornaments and dangling decorations. Here are some additional tips to help you keep your kitty out of the Christmas tree:
- Use Double-Sided Tape: Cats generally dislike the sticky feeling of double-sided tape on their paws. Place the tape around the base of the tree or on low-hanging branches to deter your cat from climbing.
- Provide Distractions: Set up alternative play areas with toys, scratching posts, and cozy spots for your cat to lounge in. If they have engaging alternatives, they might be less inclined to explore the tree.
- Use Cat-Friendly Ornaments: Opt for cat-friendly ornaments that are less likely to break if knocked off the tree. Soft fabric Christmas ornaments or even ones made of cat-safe materials can be a safer option.
- Scent Deterrents: Cats have a strong sense of smell. You can use scents that cats dislike, such as citrus or certain essential oils (consult your vet first), near the tree to discourage them from approaching.
- Supervise and Train: Whenever you're around, actively discourage your cat from approaching the tree. Use firm but gentle verbal commands, and reward them when they listen.
You can use these small tips to catproof your Christmas tree
What are some other FAQs about Catproofing your Christmas tree?
Why do cats like Christmas trees?
Cats like Christmas trees because they have things that make them curious. The tree looks interesting with its hanging decorations, shiny strings, and lights that sparkle. This can remind cats of animals they would hunt, so they want to play with the tree. The hanging decorations and shiny things also make them want to play.
The tree's branches are like a fun jungle gym for cats. They can climb up and down, and this is something their wild relatives used to do. The tree's needles feel different, and cats like to touch and explore new textures.
Real Christmas trees have a smell that cats find interesting because they have a strong sense of smell. This smell makes cats even more curious about the tree and they want to check it out.
What are potential Christmas Tree Hazards for Cats?
Christmas trees can be risky for cats. The hanging decorations and shiny strings might look like toys, but if cats eat them, they could get choked or have problems in their belly. Cats might also chew on the tree's cords, which can give them shocks or hurt their mouths. Climbing the tree is fun, but it might make the tree fall and hurt the cat or things around it. The water at the bottom of the tree could be harmful if it has chemicals in it.
Potential Christmas Tree Hazards for Cats
What smells keep cats away from Christmas trees?
Smells like oranges, lemons, and things that smell like citrus can stop cats from going near the tree. Cats usually don't like these strong smells. Spices like cinnamon and pepper can also make cats stay away from the tree. Even though pine smells like Christmas trees, it can be too strong for cats and make them not want to be close. But every cat is different, so it's a good plan to try a little bit of these smells first before using them around the tree.
What if cats drink Christmas tree water?
If cats drink water from the Christmas tree stand, it can be bad for them. The water might have chemicals from the tree or stuff to keep the tree from drying out. These chemicals can hurt cats if they drink them. Also, germs can grow in the water, and if cats drink it, they might get sick. If you think your cat drank tree water and might be in trouble, it's smart to ask a vet for help.
In short, learning how to keep your Xmas tree safe for your cat is crucial. Use secure decorations, avoid hanging cords, and use scents like oranges to keep cats away. Make sure the tree won't tip over and cover the water stand. With these steps, you can enjoy the holidays worry-free with your cat and tree both in good shape.