O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, your ornaments are history! LOL, ain’t it the truth! Cats love shiny, dangly things, and the Christmas tree is loaded with them. Not to mention that cats love to climb, and isn’t that tree just perfect for climbing?
You can keep the dogs out of the tree by putting it up on a table or in a baby’s playpen, but how can you keep the cats out of it? It’s always going to be a challenge, but we’ve got a few suggestions that might help, plus a few precautions you should take with your holiday décor. And last, but not least, we have a couple of solutions that will definitely keep the cats out of the Christmas tree.
These tips come from Wikihow.com:
Consider not decorating the tree initially. The rationale behind this is to provide adjustment time to the tree, as well as a possible lesson for your cat in leaving the tree well alone. Fill a spray bottle with water and hang on to it. It is a good idea to set the tree in place, then let her in to investigate but hover in the background with the spray bottle, just in case. If your cat shows any signs of wanting to leap at or on the tree, a light spritz of water on her back and a stern “NO!” will get the point across. This should deter her from trying it again and should be enough to teach her that the Christmas tree is not her playground.
If you’re still concerned prior to decorating the tree, spray it with a product called Bitter Apple. This will deter her 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.)
These are all great tips, but know that if you use the scent repellent methods, the scent will fade over time and will need to be reapplied. Read on for more tips that MIGHT help!
More Tips For Cat-Proofing the Christmas Tree
We talked about using scents that cats don’t like, or spraying them with water to keep them off the Christmas tree, but we all know that it’s a game of chance – those trees and their ornaments are calling out to kitty to be played with and climbed. Again, there’s no guarantee, but here are some more tips that just might do the trick.
If possible, set your tree up where it won’t be near any tables, shelves, or other furniture that can be used as a launch pad to jump into the tree.
If your cat is only interested in what is hanging low on the tree, and is not a climber, you can decorate only the top two-thirds of the tree. Or, you can put your delicate or breakable ornaments closer to the top of the tree. Of course, this won’t help if your cat IS a climber.
On the other hand, you might try adding some interesting and safe ornaments to the very bottom of the tree, so that they hang down below the tree, to keep kitty busy without climbing the tree. For example, securely attached jingle bells are great fun to bat at, make an interesting sound, and are not going to be swallowed (as long as you use ones that are big enough).
If you’re not opposed to having a smaller tree, you can set it up in a bedroom or other room that can be shut off from the cat, and carry it into the front room or family room on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day when the family celebrates.
Secure your tree with guy wires to prevent it from being toppled over, and make sure your ornaments are super-securely attached to the tree to help keep them from getting batted off the tree.
Wrapping aluminum foil around the base may prevent the cats from climbing the tree, as they don’t like the feel of it on their paws.
Like we said, keeping the cats out of the Christmas tree is a challenge. None of these tips are foolproof, but they might help. Maybe you have some ideas you would like to share? But before you leave, read on for some dangers you should know about and precautions you should take when decorating this year.
Christmas Decorating That Keeps Your Kitty Safe
We’ve covered several tips that can help keep the cats out of the Christmas tree, but here are some dangers that we’d like you to be aware of, so your kitties will be safe and well this holiday season.
If your cat chews on the needles of a real pine tree, they can irritate them, but then again, the “needles” of an artificial tree aren’t exactly good for them. Watch them closely and if they start chewing on the branches, shoo them away or spray them with water.
If you are using a real tree, don’t add anything to the water in the stand, as kitty may drink from it. Although you could wrap it with aluminum foil to repel them.
Tinsel and angel hair (anything stringy) can cause all kinds of problems, from choking to fatal intestinal obstructions.
Glass ornaments can be dangerous, too. They can fall and break into small shards and pieces, which can be swallowed or stepped on by tender paws.
In case you decorate your tree with food, know that chocolate is toxic to cats (and dogs), and the smell of just about any food will attract the cat.
Does anyone still put live candles on their tree? If so, one quick swipe of a paw can knock that candle off and catch things on fire. Of course, that applies to candles anywhere in the house, not just on the tree, but they’re usually less stable when sitting on a tree branch.
Electrical cords can be chewed on, too. Electrical shock can occur with frayed or chewed cords, and that will mean a trip to the vet, something you don’t want to add to your holiday season. Help prevent this by taping the cords to the wall from the outlet to the tree, using duct tape. Be sure to unplug them off when you go to bed.
And finally, a treeless way to decorate and an extreme solution that definitely WILL keep the cats out of the tree…
Two Three Sure-Fire Cat-Proofing Solutions
Maybe you’ve tried all of our tips for cat-proofing your Christmas tree, and bless their little hearts, your cats just aren’t cooperating. If that’s what’s happening, we’ve got two solutions for you. The first one means going without a tree at all, but as you can see in the following picture, your décor can be quite festive, even without a tree.
You simply string your lights across the ceiling and hang your ornaments from the lights. The only thing we would suggest is that you would use the tip about taping the electric cords to the wall from the outlet to, in this case, a much higher point on the wall. Otherwise, kitty will be attracted to those low-hanging lights. And to be sure the hanging ornaments can’t be reached from any “launch pads”, like a table or shelf.
And here is what should be a totally cat-proof Christmas tree. Unless kitty figures out how to open the gate!
LOL! That’s pretty extreme, but it would do the job!
And last, but not least, unless your kitty is an extreme jumper, this oughta work, too!
Have you had any challenges with your cats and your tree or ornaments? Do you have a great tip that would help us keep our kitties and our trees safe? We’d love to hear from you!