Are you getting ready for the hectic holiday season? We are, and if you’re like us, getting a Christmas tree is a top priority and has been a holiday tradition for ages. And if you have a cat, well, keep in mind that the tree makes a tempting target for many mischievous cats out there. Here are some tips on how to pet-proof your Christmas tree.
To buy a real tree or not to buy a real tree
When it comes to Christmas trees, isn't it better to have a real tree over a fake one? After all, they fill your house with the holiday smells of, well, holidays. However, keep in mind that if you have cats, real trees are much more tempting. Not only are real trees fragrant and the pine needles more fun to chew on (thankfully, rarely poisonous) but the tree trunk is perfect for scratching and climbing. Consider an artificial tree. If you do get a real tree, avoid one that is very tall, as a tall tree would be more likely to topple over when kitty takes a courageous hike to the top.
Placement of the Christmas tree
There big question. Where do you put your Christmas tree? Make sure you have plenty of space on each side of the tree so your cat doesn’t have a launching point to attack the tree! Ideally, place it in an area with an equal amount of free space as the height of the tree (i.e., if the tree is 8 feet tall, consider leaving an 8 foot berth around it).
Securing the Christmas tree
The base you use should be extremely sturdy. Dill into the base stump as that has proven to provide enough stability and if kitty DOES run up the tree, it decreases the chance of it toppling over. While these bases are ugly, it beats having your tree topple. You can also wrap a dressing over the metal rods of the base so it’s not so ugly. You can also take an extra measure and drill a hook (use an anchor!) in the ceiling and attach a wire to the tree for an extra precautionary measure.
5 Ways to Pet-Proof Your Christmas Tree
Here are a few ways to pet-proof your Christmas tree:
- When watering your real tree, consider wrapping the base with plastic wrap so your cat doesn’t drink the fertilizer or chemicals. (Don’t worry, these are hardly ever poisonous, however they can cause gastrointestinal upset.)
- If you have a real Christmas tree, wrap the base of the trunk with aluminum foil. Cats can’t stand the sound and texture of foil! If you wrap the base with foil, the less likely they will claw up the tree trunk. Also, by wrapping the tree trunk with foil hopefully you will prevent the initial climb.
- Do not hang dangling ornaments on the bottom of the tree. Rather place ornaments up high on the tree and as an extra precautionary measure, make sure they are well secured (try twisty ties or zip ties to secure ornaments).
- Never use tinsel in a household with cats. While tinsel isn’t poisonous, when accidentally swallowed by cats, it can get stuck around the base of the tongue or in the stomach, and the result can be life-threatening.
- Make sure you hide all electric chords for the Christmas lights as best you can. When accidentally bitten, they can result in severe burns in the mouth and even rare fluid accumulation within the lungs (e.g., noncardiogenic pulmonary edema). Hide cords, and consider spraying them with Bitter Apple to prevent chewing. Also, make sure to turn off the Christmas lights and unplug the cords when cats are unsupervised. This is especially true for kittens.
Let’s keep our pets safe this holiday season! Know all the precautions and keep your house safe while saving an emergency trip to your veterinarian!