Well, Thanksgiving is over. For most of us, Christmas is full steam ahead. That means busting out those ugly sweaters, putting up the lights, and baking some cinnamon ornaments for, you got it, your Christmas tree. Do you know who loves Christmas trees? Cats do. The problem is Christmas trees and cats don’t mix. At Catonsville Cat Clinic, this is not our first cat Christmas. We’ve got some tips and tricks so that you can have a holly jolly cat-proof Christmas.
Keep Out of Reach of Cats
We’re all used to Christmas a certain way and decorating our tree a certain way. But, when we throw a cat into the mix, we’re going to have to adjust. Here are some item to avoid this cat-proof Christmas.
Things like tinsel, ribbons, fake snow, and strung popcorn can be extremely dangerous for your cat. These decorations closely resemble some toys that your cats may or may not play with. It will be confusing for them to know the difference between their toys and the decorations on the tree.
If swallowed, any one of these can cause intestinal blockage, leading to some very serious issues for your cat.
You might be wanting to give your cat its own Christmas gifts this year. Avoid wrapping anything edible or with catnip in it. Cats have a very keen sense of smell and they will be attracted to it even through the packaging and the wrapping.
Christmas Tree Water
Some chemicals used in the preservation of the Christmas trees can be harmful to animals. When the cut end of the tree is placed in the water, those chemicals seep out. Drinking that water could make your cat sick.
Luckily, there are a few easy ways to keep your cat from lapping up that tree water. The easiest way is to cover the bowl with tin foil. It is flimsy, but most cats and detest the sound and feel of tin foil. One tap of their paw will likely spook them enough to keep them away for good.
If this doesn’t work, you can purchase some cat repellent and spray it around the base of the tree. These are used to keep cats away from potentially harmful substances, so this fits the bill.
The Tree Itself
Whether artificial or natural, your cat really may get a kick out of chewing on those pine needles. But either way, if it goes from chewing to swallowing, it can be a real issue for your cat. Not only can it cause nausea and vomiting, but it can also cause intestinal blockage.
A cat’s stomach cannot digest hard organic material like wood or pine needles, nor can it digest plastic or cloth.
For Our Safety and There’s
Most of these cat-proof Christmas precautions we’re talking about are to make Christmas safer for your cat. But we need to protect ourselves also. A cats’ curiosity can get it into all kinds of trouble, and sometimes it can get us into trouble too.
Strap Down Your Tree
Cats are climbers. And a Christmas tree is like a proverbial jungle gym for them. Beneath the needles, it’s a concealed maze of branches, lights, and ornaments. A precariously standing Christmas tree with the cat on top will find itself with a very high center of gravity.
Make sure your tree stand is heavy and sturdy. Position your tree away from any areas where your cat already likes to climb. Also, the tree can be directly secured to the wall if its placement allows for that. Some sturdy fishing line attached to the ceiling can also do the trick. It’s hardly visible and relatively strong.
Trade the Glass for Plastic or Paper Mâché
You might want to cover your tree with those antique hand-blown glass ornaments your grandmother gave you. But don’t. Your cat will be all over them. Before too long you’ll just have a pile of shattered glass that used to be those antique hand-blown ornaments your grandmother gave you.
Not only that, but the broken glass can cut the pads of your cat’s paws. Other sharp objects like books can cause puncture wounds. Instead, tie your ornaments on. It will take more time, but it will be much safer for your fur ball and it will add a certain quaintness to your tree this year.
Hide Electrical Cords
Your kitty probably loves chewing, and the plastic sheathing that covers electrical cords has a nice chewable texture to it. If the cord is plugged in at the time of said chewing, it could cause electrical shock to your cat. It might just frighten them, or it could cause serious damage like shocks or burns. If the cord is not plugged in, then you’ll probably be out of an extension cord. Good luck finding one around the holidays. So, cover them up.
Gotta Keep ‘em Separated
The most surefire way to keep your cat and your Christmas tree safe and sound is to keep them both in their designated areas. If you can, have your cat stay in one part of your house, far away from where the Christmas tree lives.
If you’re in a pinch and don’t have the room to keep them separated in different areas of the house, put up a physical barrier. Something like a child gate can deter a cat from approaching your tree, but it’s not foolproof. If they jump the barrier, it may actually be harder for you to get in there quick enough to save your tree from tipping or ornaments from falling.
Consider opting for an artificial tree this year. Cats are less attracted to the smell of plastic than they are to pine. Also, go small. It will be sturdier and less likely to hurt your cat in the event it does topple over.
Not only the tree, but some other traditional holiday accessories may be an issue if your cat gets into them. Things like, chocolate, poinsettias, lilies, mistletoe, and amaryllises may cause your cat to have a physical reaction to the potentially poisonous compounds they carry.
The bottom line is, you know your cat – anything new, anything dangly, anything smelly, they’ll be all over it. Give them time to acclimate and take it slow. Par back where necessary and keep an eye out for their safety.
Get in touch with Catonsville Cat Clinic if you have any concerns about having a cat-proof Christmas this year. We’ll get you squared away.