6 Easy Ways to Cat-proof a Christmas Tree
Christmas is quickly approaching, and minds have begun to turn to decorating the Christmas tree. If you have a feline friend, you know that cats can be extremely curious about the brightly colored ornaments as well as the tree itself. Here are some tips for how to cat-proof a Christmas tree to keep both your cat and your tree safe this holiday season.
1. Choose an Artificial Tree
The first choice you must make regarding your Christmas tree is what kind of tree you will have. A live tree is beautiful, but when you have furry friends an artificial tree is often a better choice.
An artificial tree is typically smaller, doesn’t require tempting water or have bark that can double as a scratching post. There can be drawbacks to using an artificial tree. The tree itself can be lighter than its live counterparts which can be a toppling hazard, and the artificial branches have the potential to be toxic if your pet chews on them.
2. Choose Non-Breakable Ornaments
Most people have ornaments that have sentimental value to them. Often, those are decorations that have been passed through generations of family and are priceless. If you have a curious cat, those ornaments could be knocked from your tree and broken.
An alternative to using your irreplaceable decorations is to choose non-breakable ornaments. Heavy-duty plastic, metal or wooden ornaments might be a good alternative. Be careful to choose non-toxic materials whenever possible, so your kitty doesn’t become sick if she chooses to chew on the decorations.
3. Use a Cat-Repelling Odor
Cats, like humans, find certain scents to be repulsive. One way to keep your cat away from your tree is to spray the area, and even the tree itself, with one of the scents that cats avoid.
You can choose to purchase a commercially prepared repellant, or you can choose to create your own. Scents that cats typically detest include citronella, apple cider vinegar, and oranges. The drawback to repellants is the potential need to respray the area periodically. If your cat’s sense of smell is not keen, an odor may not be an appropriate deterrent.
4. Place Balloons or Bubble Wrap Beneath the Tree
Sometimes the simplest methods are the best ones. Placing bubble wrap beneath your tree skirt can deter your cat from entering the area. Every time she steps she will hear a pop, and typically the sound alone will motivate her to stay away.
Balloons placed beneath the tree have the same effect with the added bonus of filling the area so that the cat avoids the crowded space. Choosing balloons that match the colors you are using in your holiday decor will make them seem less out of place beneath your tree. If your cat is typically anxious, this method might worsen her anxiety.
5. Place the Tree Away from Furniture
Cats have a tendency to use furnishings as a launchpad. If you pay attention to your cat’s habits, you can use them to help you place your tree away from favorite resting places. While you probably don’t want your tree in the middle of your room, you could choose an empty corner that isn’t surrounded by furniture.
Keeping the tree away from furnishings and window sills will help to keep the cat from climbing onto those items and jumping into the tree. It will not, however, keep him from simply attempting to climb the tree from the base.
6. Tie the Ornaments on the Tree
One of the things cats enjoy most about Christmas trees is the colorful ornaments. Curious cats will bat at the ornaments until they knock them to the floor. They can be fascinated by the shiny metal hooks that are traditionally used to hang the decorations.
Tying ornaments onto the tree with twine or wire can keep them securely in place if your cat starts batting at them with his paws. Tying ornaments can be a tedious task depending on the kind and number you have. It also doesn’t guarantee that your cat won’t manage to knock some to the floor in spite of your best efforts.
Broken ornaments can lead to injuries to you and to your pet. Trying simple solutions can help eliminate the risk of a trip to the veterinarian this holiday season. Solutions need not be expensive to be effective. Knowing how to cat-proof a Christmas tree can help you to have a safer holiday with your furry feline friend.
DENISE FLECK is an award-winning author, animal care instructor and radio show host. She was named one of Pet Age Magazine’s “Women of Influence” for 2018, a “Most Inspiring Story” in 2017 by Voyage Atlanta Magazine and has been nominated for 6 Dog Writers Awards to be announced in early 2019.Read more »