Cats are curious animals. They want to investigate anything novel that enters their territory, so you can imagine how exciting a Christmas tree must be to them. It’s tall, and cats love that vertical space. It smells unique, and a cat’s sense of smell is fourteen times that of a human. And it has prickly leaves, which can be appealing to cats since they are quite tactile.
When setting up the tree this holiday season, we want to make sure we are setting our cats up for success, too. Instilling fear of the tree in your cat or using punishment to keep your cat off of the Christmas tree is not safe or effective. Instead, think prevention.
Here are 5 tips to keep your cat (and your tree) safe this holiday season:
- Ensure your tree has a sturdy base so it can’t fall over and hurt them or break something in your home if your cat decides to climb it.
- Prevent your cat from drinking the tree water by opting for a covered base or cover the base with a tree skirt or tin foil to block off access to the tree water. Consider an artificial tree for a water-free option if your cat is known to eat or drink things they aren’t supposed to.
- Place the tree in a location that your cat rarely spends time or consider a small, tabletop version.
- After you’ve set up the tree, place lots of beautifully wrapped, empty boxes underneath, blocking the openings between branches to prevent your cat from climbing up the tree or drinking the tree water. As a bonus, this also gives your tree a festive appearance. Consider using a dog exercise pen to encircle your Christmas tree to reduce access.
- What about decorations? Skip the lights or wrap the cords with a cord protector to prevent chewing. When decorating your tree, put breakable ornaments at the bottom, just in case your cat knocks one off, or place them at the very top where they are less tempting and out of reach. Tinsel can pose a health hazard to your cat, skip the tinsel and opt for other types of garland.
A little bit of prevention can ensure that you and your cat have a safe and happy holiday season.