For many of us, a Christmas tree is an essential element of our holiday celebrations.
A tree adorned with beautiful ornaments, lights and tinsel brings a Christmas feeling and simply put, a joy to our home.
Unfortunately, for cat owners, a Christmas tree could also bring trouble and mess to their homes.
A cat treats a Christmas tree as an ultimate cat toy. It’s all so new, colorful, and flickering that it is too much of a temptation for a cat not to ignore it.
Your cat will do everything in her power to climb on it, swat at hanging ornaments and chew on the lights and tinsel.
There are many dangers associated with a cat and a Christmas tree and many cat owners look for ways to cat-proof their Christmas tree so that it’s safe for both the cat and the house.
Below is a list of tips on how to cat-proof your Christmas tree during the upcoming holiday season.
1. Consider an artificial Christmas tree
The first tip on our list is to consider buying an artificial tree. Artificial trees are not without the cons, but at least you can eliminate two crucial problems at the start: pine needles and tree water.
Pine needles are sharp and toxic to a cat. If your cat digests pine needles they can obstruct and puncture your cat’s intestines as well your cat could get an allergic reaction to them.
If you decide to go with a live tree, vacuum the floor frequently so that you minimize the number of pine needles lying around.
Water at the base of the tree is full of chemicals, fertilizer, bacteria and mold. It will make your cat sick immediately after she drinks it.
If you decide to go with a live tree, you must cover and block off the access to tree water so that your cat cannot drink it.
2. Anchor the tree
Either live or artificial, any tree can collapse and hurt your cat, a child and simply cause a mess in your house.
A tree is prone to collapsing when your cat jumps or climbs on it.
There are two things you can do to minimize the risk of a tree tipping over.
Firstly, place your Christmas tree away from any furniture that could act as a springboard for your cat to jump on the tree.
Secondly, anchor the tree to the walls and ceiling. You can do that with a clear fishing line and small hooks.
The clear fishing line will be invisible to the eye. The small hooks will also be a little noticeable and they can stay in your walls all year round.
3. Familiarize your cat with a tree before dressing it up
Cats are fond and curious about any new item in the house.
You can try minimizing your cat’s fondness for the tree by familiarizing her with a tree a few days before you dress it up.
Just bring the tree to the house and let your cat see and be around it. After a couple of days, your cat will get accustomed to the new object and when the tree is decorated it may already lose some of its appeal.
4. Distract your cat with new toys
As was already mentioned, cats love new items.
At the same time when you set up a new Christmas tree, give your cat a new interactive cat toy.
The new toy will work as a distractor. Your cat will switch her attention from the tree to the toy and hopefully leave the tree alone.
Check our list of Christmas gifts for cats for more ideas of the items that could draw your cat’s attention away from the Christmas tree.
5. Spray the tree with a bitter deterrent
Even if you decide to go with an artificial Christmas tree, your cat could still attempt to chew on its branches.
The plastic needles when ingested, can lodge in your cat’s intestines and cause a blockage.
To deter your cat from chewing on the branches, try spraying the tree with a bitter spray as a deterrent.
6. Use a cat deterrent mat
A very effective way of keeping your cat away from the Christmas tree is by laying a special cat deterrent mat around the tree.
The mat has spikes that won’t hurt your cat, but your cat won’t be able to walk over the area covered by the mat and reach the tree.
7. Use an aluminum foil
Cats hate the feel and a crinkle sound of the aluminum foil.
This makes the tin foil an effective deterrent for keeping your cat off the places you don’t want her to access.
Make a ring from the aluminum foil around the Christmas tree to keep her away from coming close to the tree.
8. Isolate your cat
If your cat is very unruly and nothing can keep her away from the Christmas tree you could consider isolating her in another room.
To keep your cat sectioned off from other places in your house, you can use a cat enclosure or a cat cage.
9. Use a cat calming spray
You can try curbing your cat’s excitement with a Christmas tree by using a cat calming spray.
Cat calming sprays contain pheromones, soothing herbal oils or catnip that make a cat relaxed and calm.
Plug in a diffuser with a cat calming spray in a room where you keep your Christmas tree.
10. Don’t use glass ornaments
Glass ornaments are easily breakable. If your tree collapses or a cat swat at the bauble and breaks it then the sharp edges can cut and hurt your cat.
When choosing the ornaments, instead of buying easily breakable ones, choose decorations made of plastic, wood or fabric.
11. Hang ornaments high on the tree
Try hanging ornaments high on the tree, so that your cat cannot reach them.
That especially applies to breakable or very appealing ornaments that would be tempting for your cat to swat at or to chew on.
12. Don’t use tinsel
Tinsel is a shiny, flimsy string that is super appealing to cats.
Unfortunately, if your cat chews and swallows bits of it, they could lodge in your cat intestines and cause blocked and obstruction.
Best to avoid tinsel or put it high up the tree so your cat cannot reach it.
13. Hide the wires and switch off the lights when you go out
If your cat chews on the wires she could get electrocuted, not to mention it could pose a fire risk to your house.
Try to barrier off the wires from your cat. For example, you can hide them under the carpet.
Also, always switch off the Christmas lights when you go to sleep or you leave the house.
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