Another wonderful and cheer-filled holiday season is approaching yet again for my human, Jeff, and me! This means new additions to the home and more things to explore. At the same time, it means groups of strange people and loud singing, which is enough to make any cat a little uneasy.
You see, while we cats love to explore new things (as you’ll read below), we aren’t always happy about loud noises or other changes to our happy, peaceful environment. Please keep our feelings in mind this year, while you are celebrating this joyous season. Ask visiting family members or friends to keep the noise level reasonable (again, if you can)
Why Do Cats Like Christmas Trees
We cats love to investigate! If we feel comfortable in familiar surroundings, and suddenly notice something new or unusual, like a Christmas tree, we want to check it out. What is this, how did it get here, why is it here, and what can I do with it? This sure would give me a wonderful new hiding spot, and I can easily burrow deep within these branches. They are even fantastically easy for me to climb! I even have a perfect vantage point to observe sneaky little prey scurry across the ground.
Exploring, familiarizing themselves with living environment and possible hunting territory, as well as any potential escape routes, are all deeply imbedded instincts in cats. These instincts stem from a time long ago, when this knowledge could mean life or death for us. If something new suddenly appears in the house, something your cat doesn’t see 350 or so days out of the rest of the year, it will be almost too much to resist.
Christmas trees offer great perches, as well as hiding spots. On top of this, there are several fun ornaments to play with! Unfortunately, those ornaments happen to come with small, dangerous metal hooks.
The simple truth is, cats love to climb, and actually have an instinctual affinity for climbing to areas that offer good vantage points on possible prey below, or easily accessible hiding positions. The dreaded ‘cat vs. Christmas tree’ situation can easily become a problem.
Cat-friendly Christmas Tree
The traditional Christmas tree can present several dangers to a cat, not simply stopping at those sharp hooks or glass ornaments. Both the oils from trees, as well as the needles, can cause stomach issues. The needles themselves can be sharp and become a medical concern if swallowed. Even without these problems, your kitty could break ornaments or simply cause the entire tree to come tumbling down.
The best course of action, and clear choice, is to prevent kitty from accessing the room with your tree. If you have a door closing this area off, it’s a good idea to use this. Sadly, many homes don’t have a closed-off room large enough to house a full-sized tree along with several decorations, presents, and people.
Cats vs. Christmas Tree
Please make sure all my feline friends are safe for the holidays! By taking a few small steps, you can ensure your little furry pets avoid trouble.
It may not be the most visually appealing, but you can always wrap your tree. Simply blocking access to ‘the Christmas Tree Room’ is a possible solution. You might consider a man-made tree this year, decorated with safe ornaments.
If you do face a cat vs. Christmas tree confrontation, ensure the base of the tree is solid and immobile. Securing your tree to the wall behind it is a good idea. If you must choose a real Christmas tree, cover the water bowl with a tree skirt and place presents around it, ensuring your kitty doesn’t drink the water.
Christmas Tree Cat Deterrent
Many Cats don’t like to be around foil or citrus scents. The basic combination listed below will help deter your little one from any cat vs. Christmas tree dangers.
DIY Cat Deterrent Spray
1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
½ Cup White Vinegar
Add to spray bottle
Add 5-10 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
Directions: Focusing on lower branches and trunk, spray tree
Wrap your tree trunk in foil.
Purchase a fake/plastic tree.
Cat-friendly Christmas Decorations
Like I pointed out earlier, Christmas decorations can carry their fair share of dangers. Between fragile glass, sharp metal hooks, or small choking hazards, my little feline curiosity can get me into trouble. By taking steps to prevent access to these things, or steps to make me to want to avoid them, you will be making sure this Christmas is a safe one!
By placing more of your ornaments closer to the top of your Christmas tree, where (hopefully) your cat has a harder time reaching them, you may take a step toward preventing accidents.
Place lights toward the center of your tree, so your cat isn’t tempted to dig toward and chew on them (or wires). In fact, it would be an even better idea to avoid small electric Christmas tree lights (if you can).
Avoid tinsel. It may be a cheap attraction, but tinsel is often irresistible to cats. This can present both a choking and/or gastrointestinal problem, by clogging your cat’s intestines.
Fake snow often contains harmful chemicals.
Real candles present a fire hazard.
Certain plants can present a level of toxicity to cats and dogs.
Chocolate and Cats
Chocolate contains toxins, the amount depending on the type of chocolate. If you’re going to bake chocolate cookies this year, try to use white or milk chocolate.
So, What Should You Buy?
An artificial tree is much safer than a real one for your cat
Fake plants and greenery, such as mistletoe and holly, made from plastic or felt
Less flashy, more muted ornaments
Plastic ornaments over glass or anything breakable
Felt ornaments are also a great option
String or soft hooks, rather than metal