How to cat proof your Christmas Tree from wikiHow
Is your cat smitten by your Christmas tree, so intrigued thatÂ they clamber onto it, knocking needles, decorations and tinsel everywhere? Or perhapsÂ they have even come close to knocking over the entire tree? Keeping your curious cat out of the Christmas tree is a wise idea for everyone involved, to help avoid injury to your cat and the potential for further damage to the items near the tree and people in the vicinity of it.
- Start off smart by considering the type of tree you’ll use. Real Christmas treesÂ are potentially more dangerous to your cat than artifical ones. This is because the needles on a real tree are sharp and can pierce or puncture the the skin of an overly curious cat, while the pine needles themselves are irritating to mildly toxic if chewed (depending on the species of tree used). However, a chewed artificial tree isn’t going to be that healthy either, so balance the choice of tree type with how you intend to keep the tree safe from your cat using the remaining steps.
- Consider the size of the tree. A small tree will be safer than a larger tree because there is less of it to crash down if things go horribly wrong. For a kitten, a tabletop tree might be a suitable choice until she grows up and stops being so playful.
- If you do choose a real tree, also choose a water container for the tree that is completely inaccessible to the cat. IfÂ they try to drink from it,Â they risks poisoning.
- For small kittens, wrap tinfoil around the trunk. They don’t like putting their nails into it and it will keep them from climbing the tree.
- Even an artificial tree should have a firm and solid base.
- Use a tree skirt to hide all ugly but practical safety fixes at the base of the tree (including electrical items, see below).
- As well as a solid base, anchor the tree to the wall or ceiling to help prevent it from toppling over should your cat land in the tree or pull on it.
- If possible, select a placement for the tree that allows you to shut the door at night or when nobody is about, in order to keep the cats away from the tree. Obviously this isn’t always possible, but if it is an option, make use of it.
- If the tree is shorter than 6 feet (180cm), you might find it handy to use duct tape to tape the legs of the holder to a piece of wide plywood and put the whole tree on a short but very sturdy table. This keeps the tree above the level of the cat and the cat won’t be as interested. Of course, you still need to ensure that the tree is nowhere near any launching points for an opportunistic jump.
- If you’re still concerned prior to decorating the tree, spray it with a product calledÂ Bitter Apple. This will deterÂ the catÂ without leaving a noticeable odor to human noses. Or, you might try a citrus spray, as cats are repelled by citrus odor too.
- If it’s a plastic tree, a small amount of Citronella oil shaken into a bottle of water and misted on to the tree makes it smell unpleasant to the cat but fresh and citrus-like to you.
- You could also place orange peels under the tree to make your cat less likely to go near it. (Cats also dislike the smell of rotten apples but then you probably won’t like that smell much either!)
- Spray some pine cones with Citronella and pile them around the base of the tree. Cats do not walk on pine cones! (Pine cones also have the same effect in the base of your houseplants.)
- Spray the bottom limbs with Tabasco sauce to keep them from chewing the bottom branches. Cats wince and run away!
- While decorating, if your cat is about, resist the urge to teaseÂ them with decorations as you’re adding them. Doing so will only encourageÂ them to see the glittery items as toys and things to swat at anytimeÂ they pleases.
- Never put catnip stuffed items on the tree. That’s just asking for it.
- Consider not having certain decorations at all. Tinsel is potentially hazardous for cats who chew it and swallow it and it is really not recommended for households with cats; it can cause choking or other internal problems if swallowed. So can ribbons and other items with length that dangle from the tree. Artificial snow is toxic and should not be used when you have pets and small children.
- It is recommended that you don’t use real candles on a tree when you have pets. Things can all too easily go wrong with a quick swipe of the paw and flames upon flammable items as a result.
- If you like decorating the tree with food, be careful what you add. Chocolate of any kind is toxic for cats and the odor may be tempting to them if hung from the tree. Lots of sweets aren’t healthy either.
- Some cats cannot help themselves and will climb up high whatever you do. If your cat is like this, then avoid having any delicate or potentially dangerous items on the tree at all.
- Hang ornaments by using quality wire ornament hangers. Use a pair of pliers to clamp the hook part around the branch so that it doesn’t dangle and cannot be simply pulled off.
- Cords can also be coated in “Bitter Apple”.
- Plug the tree lights into a short indoor extension cord and tape the plug into the socket with electrical tape. Simply unplug the lights from the extension cord to turn off.
- Consider using cords that shut off if damaged.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights when there is no responsible adult in the room to keep an eye on them.
- Consider getting the baby fences. This way, your cats can’t go near the tree, but they can still explore the house. The baby fence could even be painted holiday colors to make it less ugly. Decorate it too!
- Make sure that your kittens(or cats!) are way from the presents so that they don’t rip off the gift wrap.
- Consider getting Scotch Pines. They have sharp needles to repel cats. However, this very sharpness can be a potential hazard, so weigh this up before deciding.
- Distract your cat. Place toysÂ they like in the same room as the tree and placeÂ thier scratching post reasonably near to the tree. These areÂ thier things and encourageÂ them to use them rather than hang around the tree.
- Apple cider vinegar can be sprayed in place of “Bitter Apple
- You can place clear contact paper, sticky side up, under the tree. Cats won’t walk on sticky surfaces.
- Never use tinsel around cats. They may pull it down and spread it over the house and possibly chew on it and choke. Tinsel will cause the cat serious injury if ingested – contact your vet right away if you think your cat has chewed, eaten or swallowed any tinsel.
- Aspirin is often added to tree water. This is toxic to your cat. Add sugar instead but still ensure that your cat cannot reach the water because it is likely to have pine sap, preservatives, pesticides and other toxic elements in it.
- If you have a live Christmas tree with needles, always sweep up dead needles daily to remove temptation from pets and little people.
- When you lock the cats up for the night, try to shut the door to the room with the tree. You’ll sleep better knowing they’re not swaying from it during the night.
- Be extra vigilant with kittens. Keep them from chewing on the extension cord and shocking themselves. Anything that wiggles and jiggles will attract their attention.
- Do not put any harmful things on the tree, like human food. If your cat decides to be curious and lick or eat it, then it could make your kitty very sick.
- Do not leave hooks laying around, your cat can eat them, and this will probably hurt your kitty’s insides.
- Don’t spray a tree that has electrical items on it. Water and electricity have a habit of short-circuiting into a house fire.
- Don’t decorate your cat. AllowÂ them the dignity of not being your plaything.
- Never leave a kitten in a gift box or carrier under the Christmas tree as a gift; this is dangerous and cruel. If giving a wanted and agreed upon kitten for Christmas, keep the kitten in another room well cared for and bring them out as a gift when it’s time, in your hands. Be sure that someone responsible is available all day to care for them, as the noise and excitement is likely to be overwhelming and they should be allowed to retreat as needed. Most importantly, a cat should only be given as a Christmas gift if a family decision has been reached that this is a life-long commitment that particular family members willingly take on.