Thursday, December 20, 2012

Oh, Christmas Tree

Cats love Christmas trees--there's no doubt about that, and Finnegan and Samwise are no exception. Ever since we put up our tree, it has been a daily battle to keep the cats from climbing into it, chewing on the branches, playing with the presents, and knocking off ornaments. provides cat owners with some helpful tips to cat-proof their Christmas trees during this holiday season.

1. Pick the right sort of tree. Artificial trees are safer around pets than real ones--especially if your cat is prone to chewing on the branches. Living pine trees' needles can make pets sick if they chew on them or actually puncture their stomachs if they ingest them. Also, smaller is better--for Christmas trees anyway. If your cat climbs into the tree, it's safer for them if they fall from the lower height and shorter trees are less likely to tip over and harm pets.

2. Choose the right tree base and location. Use a heavy, sturdy stand for your Christmas tree so it won't fall over. Place the tree away from locations cats like to climb up to. This will discourage them from climbing into the tree. If possible, keep the tree in a room with a door you can close at nights to keep cats away.

3. Don't decorate the tree immediately. Allow the cats to get used to the tree being put up before you decorate. This will give them time to explore it and time for you to teach them not to mess with it before the decorations go up. Keeping a spray bottle of water handy will help encourage cats not to mess with the tree (unless your cat likes water, that is). When you finally do decorate the tree, do it when the cats are not around, or put them in a separate room.

4. Cat repellant. Putting certain objects (like orange peel, citrus spray, Citronella spray, or Citronella-covered pine cones) around, or under, the base of the Christmas tree will discourage cats from going near it.

5. Chose and place decorations carefully. Don't choose to use ornaments that are exceptionally shiny, have ribbons or catnip on them, are edible, or are harmful (like candles). When decorating the tree, place the majority of ornaments higher up on the tree, out of the cats' reach. Having fewer decorations on the bottom third of the tree will keep cats from playing with them. Even so, come cats are determined to play with ornaments (like Finnegan). If you have a cat like this, do not put breakable ornaments on the tree. Also, attach all ornaments securely with wires or clamps.

6. Keep wires secured. Tape down wires or tuck up hanging wires so cats will not play with them. Make sure to always turn off Christmas lights when there is not an adult to watch over them. Wikihow also suggests using cords that have a built-in safety to turn off when they are damaged.

Keep all of your family, especially the little four-legged furry ones, safe this holiday season, and have a Merry Christmas!



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