Christmas is for the cats!

We already looked at how Christmas and dogs go together–or how they shouldn’t, in some cases. Now it’s time to turn our attention to festive felines! If you have a cat and are getting into the holiday spirit, there are some definite need-t0-knows you should keep in mind in order to keep both your cat and your home safe. And for many cats, the big focus needs to be on the Christmas tree.

Many folks enjoy the cute sight of a cat peeking out from the branches of a Christmas tree. It’s a playful peekaboo made all the merrier with the lights and ornaments around them. However, Christmas trees can pose a particular hazard to cats. First off, real Christmas trees can actually be a bigger threat to cats than fake ones. This is because the pine needles can be mildly toxic to cats if they’re chewed on, and the water used to keep the tree vibrant can also be poisonous if the cat drinks from it. If you do choose a real tree, make sure a tree skirt is firmly in place to stop any drinking.

Consider the tree size, as well as the ornaments you hang. No matter how hard you try, if your cat wants to get up in the tree, it likely will when you aren’t looking. So try to minimize the chance of any damage should that occur. A shorter tree, for instance, will be less of a hazard if it’s knocked over than a tree that’s nearly touching the ceiling (you should also ensure that your tree is as stable as possible, with a sturdy stand, and maybe even some wall tethers). You may also want to avoid hanging any particularly fragile, glass ornaments to avoid the chance of them breaking, or cutting your cat’s paws. For those ornaments or light strings that you do hang, consider small clamps or twist ties to secure them to the branches, lessening the chance of them being knocked loose.

Look into cat deterrents. A bright and shiny Christmas tree can be quite tempting to any kitty, but there are ways to try and keep them from approaching in the first place. You might put up some baby fencing around the tree base, or use presents and other safe decorations to make a barrier that keeps the cat away. There is a product called Bitter Apple that you can spray on the tree, which has a scent cats don’t like, but that humans can’t smell. Orange peels around the tree base are another, cheaper scent-based repellent. You could even litter the floor around the tree with pine cones, which cats certainly don’t enjoy walking on.

So, how are you going to keep your cat and Christmas tree from causing trouble during the holidays? Do you have any special tips or tricks?

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