Keeping Your Cat Off of the Christmas Tree

Nobody wants a Christmas tree like that!
Christmas time is rolling around again. That means it's time to decorate the house. Lights and tinsel and wreaths; it's all part of the festivities. The most important part of a festive house, however, is the Christmas tree! We all love the piney smell of the tree and the look of it all lit up, especially the family cat.

For some reason, cats can't seem to stay out of the Christmas tree. Unfortunately, their obsession with climbing and ripping down branches only ruins the tree, and pretty soon, cat owners are left with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

What Kind of Tree Should Cat Owners Buy?
There are two major kinds of trees out there: real and fake. For cat owners, the safer option is a fake tree for a couple of reasons:

That's right. Cats love to hang out IN the tree!

  1. Real trees have sharper needles, which can potentially harm a feline.
  2. Depending on the species, a real tree can be mildly toxic for a cat that loves to chew on the branches. According to veterinarian Janet Tobiassen, "Christmas trees are considered to be mildly toxic. The fir tree oils can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, causing excessive drooling or vomiting."
  3. The water used for the Christmas tree can be dangerous for cats, ESPECIALLY if chemicals are being used to preserve the tree.
  4. For any tree, cat owners must make sure that the tree is stable. The best way to do this is by making sure the base of the tree is wide and sturdy, so it can't be tipped over. Also, cat owners may want to consider anchoring the tree to the ceiling and/or the wall for further security. All of these precautions will help keep you, your house, and your cat safe and sound.

If everything is perfect, you'll end up with a beautiful Christmas tree.
How Do I Keep My Cat from Jumping Into the Tree?
No matter what tree you choose, cats will try their best to jump up into it. Luckily, there are a few things that cat owners can do to prevent this from happening. Some of these strategies include:
  1. Place tin foil around the base of the tree. Cats hate digging their nails into it, and this will help to keep them away from the tree.
  2. Keep the tree isolated from other furniture. By giving a few feet of space, you are eliminating "launching pads" for your cat to jump into the tree.
  3. Spray citronella spray over the pine needles of the tree. Cats HATE the smell and taste of citrus.
  4. Consider using Scatmat to scare your cat away from the tree. Scatmats are battery operated and give a harmless, static pulse to a preying cat.
  5. Avoid placing enticing tree ornaments in the bottom half of the tree. This will keep your cat from jumping up to attack the toys. Instead, place them higher up where the cat won't be looking.
By keeping all of these things in mind, you will be ensuring that you and your family will have a happy and festive holiday season.

By: Tim Snyder
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