They say curiosity killed the cat — and it could also ruin your Christmas tree. After the hard work of perfecting a pine with sparkling lights and beautiful ornaments, imagine the horror of seeing your pet destroy it in a few seconds.
Cats are naturally curious creatures that can’t help being drawn to shiny objects. They also struggle to resist the challenge of climbing a tree. Still, you can take a few simple steps to prevent a Christmas cat-astrophe. Join Canidae® this holiday season, as we show you how to set up your cat-proof Christmas tree.
How to Keep Cats Out of a Christmas Tree
The first step to keeping your furry friend out of the tree? Picking the right one.
While real trees might give you that magical Christmas feeling, pine needles can be dangerous for your cat if she chews them. If you choose an artificial tree, you also need to be wary of your cat ingesting material that contains harmful chemicals.
While you may be concerned about the environmental impact, it is possible to find eco-friendly artificial Christmas trees. Look out for any made from recycled PVC, and also bear in mind that locally-made trees have a smaller carbon footprint.
If you do opt for a real tree, get one that doesn’t drop needles so quickly. Fraser fir, Noble fir and Nordmann fir are three varieties to look out for.
When choosing a tree, size really does matter. Smaller trees are less likely to cause damage and hurt your cat if they fall.
Slow and Steady
A tree covered in glistening ornaments and lights suddenly appears in your home: it’s only natural to investigate, right? Make the transition easier for your feline friend by leaving the tree for a few days before adding any exciting accessories.
Use a solid base or tree stand to make sure the tree doesn’t fall over easily. You could even tether it to the wall or ceiling with some wire for added security.
Pet parents know they’re far more likely to see a cat in a Christmas tree than a partridge in a pear tree this year. Don’t get mad at your feline friend, instead, try to make the tree less appealing for her.
- Keep the tree away from any furniture your cat tends to use so she isn’t tempted to pounce.
- The water bowl you use to keep your tree fresh could cause problems. Avoid using potentially harmful fertilizers and cover the bowl with a tree skirt or blanket. Sitting water often contains bacteria that could make your pet very sick.
- Prevent distractions by keeping presents away until nearer the day. If you’re looking for some inspiration, take a look at our blog on fun and festive DIY pet holiday gifts.
- Close the door or find another way to restrict access to the tree when you’re out — or you might come home to your very own nightmare before Christmas.
How to Keep Cats Away From Christmas Tree
Harness the power of hate and keep your cat away from the tree with scents, smells and objects she can’t stand.
Just like dogs, cats detest all things citrus. Leave lemon and orange peels around the base of the tree, or make some dried orange decorations. Certain herbs are known to keep cats away, so another option is simply adding some (wonderful Christmas) thyme. Rosemary will also do the trick.
Have you ever noticed how aluminum foil gives your cat the heebie-jeebies? This is thanks to the texture and high-pitched crinkling sound it makes when stepped on. Leverage this fear to your advantage by placing foil around the base of your tree.
One of the best ways to keep your cat away from the Christmas tree is to distract her with a new cat tree, cat grass, new toys with catnip, or anything else that may prove more fun than a Christmas tree.
Are Christmas Trees Toxic to Cats?
Needles from fir and pine trees are mildly poisonous to cats, but your feline friend would have to eat a lot of them to provoke a severe reaction. Still, be wary of upset stomachs caused by these needles.
Be careful with holiday plants — mistletoe, poinsettias, amaryllis and cyclamen are all toxic to pets. As we mentioned in our Thanksgiving foods that are safe for your pet article, eating chocolate can also cause serious damage, so keep any festive snacks away from your feline.
Decorating Your Christmas Tree
Keep your cat’s safety in mind and stay away from tinsel this Christmas. The shiny strips are a massive choking hazard and can cause significant problems in your cat's intestines if swallowed.
Likewise, avoid fake snow (which can contain harmful chemicals), bitesize ornaments your cat may choke on, and anything made out of glass.
Look for alternative decorations made from paper, wood and felt as these might be less tempting to your cat.
Lights, Cat and Err… Inaction!
The right lighting can take a Christmas tree from simple to sublime, but making the wrong decision here could spell disaster for your cat.
Place the Christmas lights in the center of the tree so they’re harder to reach and use a cord protector to cover the wire that plugs into the wall. Unplug the lights when you can’t keep an eye on your furry friend.
If you see your cat trying to chew the wires, take the lights down. Your tree might not look so pretty, but neither would a burnt or electrocuted cat.
One safer alternative is battery-powered lights. These function at an extremely low voltage, meaning an electric shock is extremely unlikely regardless of your cat’s hijinks. Remember to hide the battery pack deep in the tree.
The Right Placement
Put ornaments where your cat will struggle to reach. The top and center of the tree make better locations than the ends of the branches.
When decorating the tree you could even place a few bells on the lower branches as a warning system. If your cat gets too close for comfort the jingling bells will give you enough time to react!
Some ornaments have metal hooks for attaching them to the tree, but these can be a hazard for your cat. Instead, fasten decorations using twine or wire — and make sure they’re tight enough so your cat can’t swat them off!
Enjoy Christmas With Your Cat
Don’t drive yourself crazy — whatever precautions you take, your cat will probably attempt to climb the tree at some point. Still, with our preventative tips, you’re giving yourself a better chance of a happy Christmas with your cherished cat.
If you want to treat your feline to something special this festive season, Canidae is the gift that keeps on giving. Try our PURE Dry Cat Food: Grain-Free Chicken for the perfect balance of taste and nutrition. Or if she prefers wet food, why not go for Balanced Bowl Wet Cat Food: Salmon & Sweet Potato? This vet-formulated recipe packs high-quality proteins and vegetables in a tantalizing gravy.
And if your cat is on Santa’s nice list this year? Make her feel special with PURE 3-in-1 Goodness Freeze Dried Raw Beef Liver. With just one key ingredient, these nutritious cubes can be used as a topper, mixed in with dry food or given as a high-value treat.
Discuss transitioning your cat to Canidae with your vet today!